The flooring got done! You’ll see a bit here, but I think I’ll save the actual pictures for its own post.
Breakfast of champions: Chiko roll (like a giant Australian spring roll) that Scott chucked in his parents air fryer for me before I got up, tropical juice with creatine, magensium and Telfast. Lol.
This is just like the cottage photo album… mom often took pictures while Rosemarie or I were actually doing work so it looks like we did everything.
We managed to get the baseboards painted in one weekend and then we were finally able to put our furniture and stuff back to normal. Felt great.
Snooping on the auction next door. It ended up getting passed in but it’s sold now and we have neighbours again.
We hosted Mothers Day brunch at our house. Terrible picture but it was a feast. Especially because we incorrectly thought Brett’s family was coming, so we had tons of extra food. We made cinnamon buns, bacon, a hashbrown egg casserole thing, and fruit.
Then MEP and Paul arrived! They stayed with us off and on in between various side trips to Sydney, Great Ocean Road, and the Rotary conference.
I took a day off work and we went to the new spa on the Mornington Peninsula, and then had Red Gum BBQ for lunch. A pretty good way to spend a wintery Melbourne day.
We went to Philip Island one weekend, which I will make into its own post as well.
Met up with some more distant family for a meal at China Red. I think everyone enjoyed the Melbourne dumpling experience. We got to order on a touch screen!
Of course we played games. We taught them Wingspan, Azul, and Agricola. I had been weary to teach people Agricola for a while but actually it was totally fine and they picked it up quickly.
Post-pickleball tourist stop at the Brighton Beach Boxes. We were not dressed properly. I think a group photo exists, but I do not have it.
I think they had a nice time however I don’t think they liked the temperature of our house, haha.
Finished a pair of Halfsies socks. They work up pretty quickly! However they’re not super comfortable tbh. Inside socks, I guess.
I poisoned myself with a soy milk bubble tea. I think I can add soy milk to the list of things that give me hayfever mouth and face symptoms (along with raw apples, carrots, stone fruits.)
And it’s almost March… oops… life has been hectic lately.
As is now becoming tradition, we went to Walkerville for a night to hang out with the Marcus families. It was really lovely this year, the weather was amazing and the beach was in much nicer condition than last year. We always like spending some time with Bird Boy.
Happy New Year! There were some fireworks at the beach. I was hoping to try photographing the Aurora Australis, since we were pointing South and it had been going bonkers the couple nights before that, but unfortunately not that night. Aurora hunting is super tricky… it’s pretty random when it can happen and you don’t get any notice. Plus you need no clouds, darkness, be awake, and in the right spot with a Southern view.
Possibly our most pleasant “Polar Bear” Dip ever. The old limestone kiln at Walkerville South Beach makes it feel like you’re in Tulum or something! It was lovely.
Our Christmas presents to most of the nieces and nephews was a Splatball outing this year. I think everyone had a good time except April.. she found in a bit scary. We all got very sweaty and messy.
Our January #SMAJ activity was going to the Rone exhibit at Flinders Street Station. So apparently all the rooms above the train station had been sitting empty for ages. Rone decided to fix them up into a big immersive art exhibit. It was interesting.. lots of little bits of old things to look at. I think it would be a fun place to bring your grandma or something.
I went to Phillip Island for a weekend with a big group of friends. One of their families has an Airbnb that we got to use, for free! It was a really fun weekend, we played games, went to farmers market, went to the beach, cooked and ate all sorts of fun food, knitted, hung out. I had a really nice time.
Again I was keeping an eye on the aurora forecast, as we were pointing South, but it wasn’t active. Also the milky way is not as good in Australia in the summer so that was about the best picture that I got, just off the deck. I’ll try to be more organised this winter with the moon cycle.
The big thing that’s happening at the moment, and a big part of the reason why this blog post is so late, is that our renovations have started! There are some Before shots which we’ll use for comparison later. We’re getting the whole bathroom, toilet, and laundry room done, and a minor adjustment in the kitchen. Very exciting!
My delivery man, Pat. (Scott’s dad.) He helped me pick up a big load of stuff from the bathroom supply store to save us some money on delivery fees. Thanks Pat!!
We stored all the stuff in the corners of our living room. Box life.
Carpooling to Florim and Lora’s wedding. It was a very unique wedding experience for us. There were over 500 people there, the majority being Albanian. There was a live band of electric clarinet and singing that was VERY VERY VERY loud. There was A LOT of slow snail line dancing in the middle of the room. Very fancy and tight dresses. Lots of great food. Lots of money being given to the couple. Twas a bit intense. Eventually we just had to leave and the whole way back we just sat in the car in silence, with ringing ears. Fun but I wish I had earplugs and I wish I had worn something FANCY.
I found pickled turnip at Coles in Dandenong and we’ve been eating a ton of shawarma this summer. Another thing I miss from home that I can now recreate here. :)
Lactose-free rugelach using plant butter and lactose-free cream cheese. Turned out nice!
Many extremely sweaty training sessions. It’s been hot, and I’ve been doing a higher volume strength training block that has been making me sweat buckets. I hope it pays off.
I hurt my back at one point doing a very routine exercise and got horrible sciatica pain for a couple weeks. That was awful, I’ve never had nerve pain before. But I recovered from it more quickly than expected thankfully. I’m completely back to normal now. I hope it doesn’t happen again.
My committee member obligations have really ramped up this year. We’re trying to get more members to save the club from impending financial disaster We’ve got actual meetings and I’m in charge of fixing up the website at the moment.
Still knitting as much as possible. I love knitting. Somewhat unusual for me.. I am working on two projects at the same time. I’m still working on my second sweater, and now a pair of socks too. I’ve finished one sock and now past the heel on the second. Unfortunately they are too small for me! I have learned a lot.
As usual Scott is very busy with all of his sports. He’s been playing a lot of lawn bowls, hockey, running, garage gymming, and pickleball.
I asked Sophie to come out for dinner with me because Scott was being too healthy. We had laksa and a nice catch up.
PBs: Snatch 47kg –> 48kg in comp, and 49kg in training. CJ 58kg –> 58kg, but I did 60kg one time in training. Back squat 73×1, Front squat 58×2, Deadlift 80×1, OHP (in Sotts position lol) 34×1.
I didn’t improve much on paper in weightlifting this year. But I think I still did improve. I think I’m due for some bigger PBs in 2023.
Also I didn’t have any major problems with injuries so that is something to be very grateful for.
New board games: Viticulture, Concordia, Wingspan Asia, Mahjong, Kingdomino, Azul Summer Pavilion. We played 31 different board games with 29 different people!! We played A LOT of games in 2022 compared to other years due to spending so much time with Rosemarie.
Books (in rough order of favourite to worst):
Pachkino by Min Jin Lee – A book about multiple generations of a Korean family living in Japan. Enjoyed.
The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah – A kind of sad good book about a family going through a terrible life in USA in the 1930s. Why are people so awful.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – A somewhat depressing book about the oppression of women in Afghanistan.
Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – Kind of cute. Some clever funny writing.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner – Made me sad and hungry.
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue – A clever nurse working during a pandemic. Emma’s books are always very readable.
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes – Who wouldn’t like a book about fierce lady librarians.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – Good, about two sisters who go totally different ways.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell – This is written by someone I used to be in an Livejournal community with! Reminded me a lot of what happened with the music teacher at my high school.
The Push by Ashley Audrain – Didn’t really like that the book was written in 2nd person, but overall a very thrilling story about a psychopath child.
Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid – A bit lighter, made me want to go surfing in California
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel – Weird to read a book that has covid in it. Some nice Canadian descriptions.
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker – Very pro-sleep, even naps. I skimmed through a bunch of chapters because I already knew the stuff from my BSc Neuroscience days.
In My Dreams I Hold a Knife by Ashley Winstead – I thought it was a pretty stupid book. Kind of immature. Written in annoying alternating chapters.
Serious Eats Kimbap – So fun! You’ll have to go to an Asian shop to get some of the ingredients though.
Favourite bird pics:
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.
Nothing got cancelled!
Last years goals: I dunno. Not get covid? (Nope, Scott and I got covid separately, in May and August. Thankfully very mild, and we didn’t have to miss anything important.)
2023 goals: Use my good camera more. Become more athletic. Eat more protein. More knitting. Start volunteering in migrant services.
2022 Final Thoughts: We are so lucky to be able to do all the things we got to do in 2022. I am very grateful for my friends and family, they really enrich our lives. I will be very happy if the next year continues on like last year.
Another busy month. Scott and I had to work a bit in between Christmas and New Years but still managed to get a good break. The Lonard’s came for Christmas this year so we got extra family time with them. Winter finally ended and we’ve had warmer weather.
Cousin Shaun (unpictured) had his 40th birthday party at a lawn bowls club. Scott was so excited he even brought his own bowls. It was a big party… around 70 children!!! It was so hot that day though we couldn’t actually bowl that much.
I made the biggest pan of Nanaimo bars I’ve ever made. They freeze so nicely I knew that future Katrina would be very happy with past Katrina if I made a double batch. It was so convenient to be able to just pull out what I needed for multiple different social events.
Scott turned 44. Originally he was going to go to a fancy vendor dinner that night, so I didn’t plan anything at all at home. And then at the last minute he told me he wasn’t going. So we just went out for dinner at S.owl in Carnegie. It was fine. We had the chefs selection which came with lamb and potatoes, and a bunch of sides, and the dinner was an espresso tiramisu type thing which was meant for sharing, but I don’t like coffee or dairy, so he got to have the whole thing.
I competed in the Christmas Hit Out. I did better than my last comp, but still no PBs. If I had just gotten one more snatch, it would have been quite a good result, but alas… no. I snatched 45kg, then missed 48 by a hair. Harvey asked if I wanted to go up to 49 (which would be a PB, and a compromise from the 50 that Nic had planned for my 3rd attempt), which I said YEAH! But then I lifted with too much gusto and missed it behind me. Then I clean and jerked 55 and 58 (equal PB), but then couldn’t stand up 60 despite quadruple bouncing.
I have found my last two competitions very frustrating!! I wish we got unlimited attempts.. but that is not how it works.
After I was done competing I photographed the boys session. I was bored of boring weightlifting photos so I decided to crank up the speed and catch everyone with their funniest faces. I’m not sure the athletes liked the pictures I got of them, but I did!!!
We went out for lunch with some Discord friends and the bar was suuuuper air conditioned. Scott, the gentleman, let me borrow his hoodie. We had a cheesesteak that had kimchi on it, and swiss cheese (nearly lactose free!). Sounds weird but I liked it.
We got our pottery back from our pottery day! This was one of the lil’ pinch pots I made. I still need to take pictures of the rest of the stuff. Also that’s homemade strawberry and mango sorbet. I’ve been on a sorbet kick lately.
Christmas was nice. It was very hot and sunny! There was tons of children, presents, meats, salads. A fun day. The waterslide was a huge hit. And I didn’t get called in to work so that’s a plus.
We’ve played three games of Concordia this week. I beat Scott every time. ?
We went to Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test for our December #SMAJ. It was VERY hot. I lasted about 90 seconds in our actual seats before I said WE HAVE TO MOVE INTO THE SHADE. Luckily we were able to stay in the shade the rest of the time. Scott brought me lots of snacks to keep me entertained, like a toddler. It was an ok session, we saw a 6, several 4s, a run out, a century. We left a little bit early and missed seeing someone get hit by the spider-cam!!! Australia ended up winning on Day 4.
We’re heading to Walkerville tomorrow to crash on Donna’s campsite for a night. Should be nice weather for an ocean Polar Bear Swim on Sunday morning.
After more meetings with the designer and the builder, and many trips to random bathroom stores, we’ve finalised our design for the bathroom and laundry room renovations. Now we’re waiting for the builder to quote, and to start ordering stuff, and then hopefully construction starts in February!
We had our annual EH Survivors Group Christmas lunch. No one even works there any more but we still like to get together.
We went to trivia with my trivia friends AND Scott’s sisters. Despite having a big team, we did not even come close to winning. It was all Christmas themed… bah humbug.
I organised after work drinks on Christmas Eve Eve. Our boss let us leave a little bit early too. That was nice of him. We went to Otter’s Promise and I had a very sour blackberry beer.
Ava came to our house for a sleepover. She is 7. Scott actually ended up doing a lot of ‘solo parenting’ while I was out for drinks and gym, lol. They made cookies and watched movies, then I came home and we had dinner and played a slightly simplified Ticket To Ride. She caught a spider under a glass. She went to bed easily and the next morning we played Blokus and they iced the cookies. She is a good kid. Hyper, but well behaved! It took us the rest of the day to recover. How do people have children all the time??!
Christmas Eve dumplings with Sophie and Joel. We played Azul. I was a sore loser.
We tried a Christmas/Boxing Day video chat with the Perkin’s. Everyone was separate because the weather was so terrible in Ontario no one could travel. The connection was not the best but it was nice to have a brief chat with everyone.
I went to Aquafit with Ash. It was entertaining. Why is everything I do lately for old people??
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.