Everyone loves those emails, right? :P

Well things are pretty crazy aren’t they.

I thought I’d just write a little update about how we’re doing at the moment, in case any one was wondering (probably not)/is really bored (probably yes).

We’re semi-locked down here in Melbourne. They’ve closed schools and non-essential businesses, and are encouraging everyone to just stay home if they can.

Scott’s work is suffering because restaurants can only do takeaway. He still has a job but after the next payday all their salaries are getting cut 50%. Theoretically he should only have to work 50% but I doubt that will happen as he is pretty much always on call.

My work is quiet, but we’ve had to divide into two separate teams to try and avoid having to shut down if one of us gets infected. So some days I will have to work very hard, and some days I won’t do very much at all.

Obviously this could all change any minute.

I’m glad we were conservative with our mortgage.

Not being allowed to go to the gym was a huge change. I got bored of home workouts after the first day (6kg laundry detergent is not enough weight!!) and decided to ask my weightlifting club if they were willing to lend out equipment. At first they said no, but then they came around. I did well in the equipment lottery and ended up with squat racks and all the weight plates I need, plus a bar borrowed from a friend.

Last weekend Scott and I built a mini weightlifting platform in the garage and now I’m pretty much set. The platform is big enough to do all the things I need to do, but because it’s against the wall (so we can still park the car in there) I will have to be quite conservative with anything I might miss behind (ie. snatches). I should be able to do about 90% normal training though, which is great for my body and my sanity.

Other than setting up the garage gym we’ve been entertaining ourselves by cooking elaborate foods (cinnamon buns, homemade bread, perogies etc.) and playing A LOT of board games. We’ve even been playing games with Rose and Lauren over the internet.

The house is already pretty clean and organized but Scott’s been working on pulling down the ivy on the back fences and yesterday I cleaned the gutters. I’m trying to be semi productive and not watch too much mindless TV but we’ll see how it goes. Scott got the entire ER series for me which I’m saving for if I have to do full quarantine. Oh yeah we also did pub trivia on FB live the other night with my friend, and this morning I watched Ben Folds do a live show from his hotel room in Sydney, which both may end up being weekly activities. Kinda neat.

Anyway hope y’all are doing OK. I’d love to know how you are keeping busy too.

We had quite a busy start to the year! A lot of our spare time was taken up by preparing to move and moving but we still squeezed in plenty of fun stuff as well.

As is becoming tradition, we started 2020 by going to the beach on January 1 for a swim in the ocean. It wasn’t as hot as last year but plenty warm enough to jump off the pier and paddle around for a bit. It was nice to lie under our sunshade and read too.

We went to the local T20 derby. It was freezing. And kind of boring. I do not want to see good bowlers! I want to see bad bowling!!

I can’t walk to work any more so I bought an electric bike from Aldi. :D It is so fun, I really love it. It takes away all the parts I hated about biking and leaves all the fun parts. I can get to work in 20 minutes without getting sweaty! It can go 50km on one charge, and helps me go 25 km/hr (after that you’re on your own).

Noah’s parents went on holiday for their anniversary so he stayed with us for a night. Him and Scott played a lot of Fortnight, and I took him to my gym. One of the coaches showed him how to squat and deadlift and stuff. Jono was in town as well so we met up with him and some friends in the city for more T20 cricket. Which was also quite boring. That’s three times I’ve been recently and none of them have been particularly interesting. I’m really starting to think even big bash is not really that exciting.

We had the craziest hail storm I’ve ever seen. The pictures don’t do it justice because those chunks on the pavement are ones that have already smashed/melted. The hail was the size of pool balls!! I was so worried that the windows of the car would break since it was just parked on the street. Scott ran out to throw some blankets/towels over the car which helped a lot but we still ended up with three monster dents on the hood and one above the door. UGH. There was SO much damage to all the cars in our suburb.

Plus I think it cracked some of the roof tiles (we told the landlords/have moved out now so… not my problem..). We found out about that because Melbourne had BROWN RAIN for a couple days after for some reason (YAY CLIMATE CHANGE). This brown rain really highlighted the leak by staining the walls and carpet as it flowed into the house.

The hail was super localised so our new house appears to be completely fine btw.

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I started to feel very sick that weekend but still went to work on Monday because Scott’s January #SMAJ activity was corporate tickets to the Australian Open on Monday night and I felt like I couldn’t call in sick and then go to the tennis. So I suffered through a day of work, then went to the tennis, which was probably a terrible idea. To make it worse it was POURING RAIN and I got 100% soaked from waist down (I did have my good coat on) on the way there.

The tennis was very cool though. Thanks Telstra! We got to have a great meal and then watched Ash Barty’s match and Novak Djokovic’s match. We had to leave before Novak was finished winning though because I was a disgusting snotty mess and I was running out of tissues and felt terrible for everyone around me. I ended up staying home from work and sleeping for two days straight after that.

Settlement day was uneventful. Almost too uneventful. We really had no idea if anything was happening. But eventually in the afternoon we got an email that said everything had gone through and I could go to the real estate office to pick up the keys to the new house. Hooray! Our mortgage showed up in our online banking as well which is very confronting every time I open the app.

We didn’t move in straight away though because we were going camping that weekend with some friends. I really don’t recommend doing that unless you love checklists a lot. It all turned out pretty well though with minimal mistakes. I’ll leave our camping trip to another post.

When we got back from camping I did a quick pop-in at my weightlifting club’s annual bbq while Scott unpacked the car at the new house. Then we packed all the last minute stuff at the old house and disassembled the beds and moved everything to the garage.

Moving day went well! My obsessive preparations were worth it. I used the same el cheapo Gumtree movers we used the last couple times and they managed to fit in 98% of our stuff in one truck load while Scott and I chilled in the garage. It only took 2.5 hours and came out way cheaper than I budgeted. Unpacking took much much much longer.

THREE OTHER RANDO JANUARY THINGS:

1. They renovated the gym a bit and now the ladies have a much bigger change room with a sweet giant mirror!

2. We played a few more games of Castles of Burgundy. It’s pretty fun although we still don’t really know what we’re doing. I would like to try playing with 3 or 4 players. *COUGH ROSEMARIE GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE COUGH*

3. These bean and cheese enchiladas were quite tasty.

Rosemarie requested that I write about PBs, books I read, new board game reviews, and favourite recipes of 2019, so here I go…

PBs: snatch 41 kg -> 46 kg (in training), clean & jerk 49 kg -> 54 kg. The bigger accomplishment has been fixing my back enough that I can do all movements again! I think my PB potential is very good for 2020.

Books (TBH I’m not sure if I read these in 2019 or earlier but here are the last few books I read):

  • How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie – some of the chapters at the beginning were useful but then it got a bit too religious to me
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt – a long one!! About the lives of a few students. I love really long detailed books if the story/characters/world is interesting
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – again, a pretty long one about a boy who loses his mom and ends up with a priceless painting. They made a movie of it but the book is better
  • This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – about a boy who wants to be a girl, and a family that loves her. A nice book
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – pretty much the male version of Don Tillman from the Rosie Project, entertaining
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – in my opinion it’s a corny book about racism written by a white lady for white ladies. :/ I guess that’s better than no book about racism?

New Board Games:

  • Drop It – a very simple but fun game where you try to drop pieces into the right spots to score lots of points
  • Azul – very easy game to teach people, can get brutal when you get stuck with tons of extra pieces
  • 7 Wonders Expansions – fun on the ipad but a bit too much to keep track of irl
  • 7 Wonders Duel – my very favourite two player game, I’m still not tired of it 10/10
  • Agricola All Creatures Big and Small – ok two player Agricola spin-off
  • Camel Up – fun light game, everyone loves the gimicky dice rolling pyramid and the KRAZY KAMELS
  • Jaipur – two player camel betting card game that we got for Christmas… first impressions are good, Scott likes it a lot
  • Puerto Rico – not as hard as Agricola, kinda fun that you get to do stuff even when it’s not your turn
  • Sagrada – quite simple game with NINETY dice, tricky fun
  • Terraforming Mars – very complicated game with lots of pieces, a bit hard to play well but still fun to play even when you don’t really know what’s going on

Great recipes of 2019:

Praline Almonds – I used the recipe in my ice cream book but it’s basically the same as this (except I used almonds). This was one of the craziest things I’ve ever cooked! It magically goes from a pot of watery almonds to a pot of sandy almonds to a pot of candy almonds. Sprinkled with a bit of salt… so delicious.

No Knead Bread in the cast iron pot – so easy!!! I use this recipe. I did try whole wheat once but it didn’t turn out as delicious as pure white.

Dutch Baby! – so visually spectacular, so easy! I’ve made sweet ones with fruit and ice cream toppings, and also savoury ones with smoked salmon, rocket and parmesan. This is my go-to sweet recipe.

Fish Tacos – Coles just started selling corn tortillas so we can make delicious tacos at home, like this easy Pinch of Yum recipe. I’ve made it with basa or shrimp. I love the garlicky sauce.

Adventures:

We didn’t leave the country in 2019. Actually we barely took any days off at all. The good news is we have enough holiday to go to North America in May 2020 AND possibly Fiji for our 10 (!!) year anniversary later in the year too! 2020 is gonna be gooooooood.

We did check out some new places in Victoria/Australia, here are a few highlights:

A very windy 90 Mile Beach in Gippsland.

A relaxing and fun few days of camping/day hiking at Wilson’s Prom.

On platypus watch in the Otways.

Day off at the Peninsula Hot Springs.

Whale watching on North Stradbroke Island.

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. 

MORE: art, friends, gains, nice food, pictures

LESS: worrying, Picross

We bought a house!

We went to SO MANY inspections and SO MANY auctions together over the last six months, and then it turned out that Scott would have to go to this one on his own, while I was doing a weightlifting competition. He did great! It was one of our very favourite places out of the dozens and dozens that we looked at, and we stayed in budget. Yay!

The details: it’s a 2 bedroom villa about 3 km from where we are now. The living room/dining room/kitchen area is nice and big and open, and it’s got a 1.5x size garage. Scott can walk to work in 15 minutes, and I can go by bike or a short drive. I can’t wait to see it again irl because all we have at the moment is the real estate listing photos. We move in about a month!

I did not have a very good competition. I was very distracted. I snatched 40x/40/43, and clean and jerked 50/53x/54x. I missed my opening snatch for dumb reasons, which meant I didn’t get to try for any comp PBs even though I’ve done several more kilos in training. And then I got red lights on my last two clean and jerks due to pressouts on the jerks. :(

Besides my mediocre performance it was still a fun day, as the Ian Laurie Cup usually is. My weightlifting club organises it so almost everyone from the club competes, plus some surprise special guests. This year one of the guest lifters was Eileen Cikamatana, a phenom from Fiji who has now switched countries to Australia and is breaking world records left and right. She’s loud and powerful and really nice! It was really cool to see how easily she throws around big weights.

My coach forced me to take a rest week after the comp. I tried to sneak in and train and he told me to go for a walk!! Rude! :P

A friend from weightlifting invited me over to do lino printing. It was fun and he gave me a bunch of tools to do it on my own. Great, another hobby. :D

Us at Kathrine’s wedding in Emerald. It was a lovely day and check out that dessert plate!!

Other unpictured things:

  • Scott’s work put on a screening of Frozen 2 so we took April and Rory (and Jemma and Donna). I thought it was funny how much the kids in the theatre were laughing at the Olaf bits, like literally ROFLing hahahahaaaa.
  • I got to have a fancy spa massage where the lady exfoliated my back and stuff. It was nice and relaxing although maybe not as useful as the grit-my-teeth type remedial massages I usually get haha.
  • Scott got very sick again kinda like in France. He was given antibiotics and ate nothing but boiled vegetable soup for quite a while and eventually got better. We still don’t really know what it was though. :(
  • We had my work Christmas lunch at a restaurant in Kew. I got to have calamari, steak, both the brownie and the pavlova desserts, and a bit too much wine.
  • We went to the Malvern wine festival and saw lots of dronk Malvern ladies.

The last couple months have really revolved around trying to get a stupid house. We’ve upped our pre-approval amount, expanded our search radius, re-evaluated our criteria, checked out about 9000 apartments/villas/townhouses, but no luck so far. Some auctions go 200k over the listed price and we don’t even get a bid in, and a few times we’ve come second, which is even more heartbreaking. This weekend we inspected eight places! A few of them are good. Please cross your fingers for us.

I decided we should take a day off work to do something fun. We drove out the Peninsula Hot Springs and had a lovely time floating around in various hot tubs. I really love the cold plunge pools! It was excellent going on a weekday because it wasn’t very crowded. If anyone wants to go there please let me know because I’m down.

We went out for dinner at the Red Hill Epicurean. There are not that many places open for dinner on weeknights near the hot springs but this was still a good option. They had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace and our food was nice. We got the brisket special and a fancy margherita pizza. The crust was nice and thin and the brisket was nice and tender.

Red Hill Epicurean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I competed in a VWA Open comp. It went pretty well, I got 4 out of 6 lifts. I snatched 40/43/46x. The 43 was a 1 kg PB and the 46 was very nearly a huge PB but I stupidly let the bar drop behind me which is automatic red lights. I was very very annoyed with myself about that. I (power) cleaned and (power) jerked 50/54x/54 (1 kg PB).

Training has been pretty good lately. We’ve been re-introducing a lot of things that I stopped doing because of back pain and they’re not causing any problems this time! My main problem these days is that I’m weak AF and can’t stand things up. For example I can power clean much more than I can full clean. I have another comp in 3 weeks and then I think the plan is to not compete for a couple months and just work on all my weaknesses for a bit.

I got my hairs cut. Should have done it a long time ago tbh. Short hair is much better than a ratty ponytail.

We went to Scott’s friends house to watch the Grand Final. The game was a blow out but half time kick to kick was fun.

We made shortbread cookies dipped in white chocolate with pistachio to bring to the party. YUM. They were a hit.

I crocheted this bag. What do you think of Scott’s modelling?

Canadian election ballots are hilariously simple compared to Aussie ballots. I’m not sure our votes made it back in time. Next time I’ll get organised a lot earlier… if I’m still eligible to vote?

I decided to start practising drawing. I actually find it really hard because my hands are so shaky it’s hard to draw straight lines. I’m very curious to see if this project will make my hands get better or if it’ll just stay the same. Perhaps that will be my drawing style… wobbly.

October #SMAJ was a visit to the Cheese Festival with some of Scott’s work friends. Similarly to last year there weren’t a lot of actual cheese vendors there, but there were lots of food trucks serving cheese-centric meals. We had perogies (that weren’t really perogies imo, since instead of having potato in them they had halloumi + cranberry, vegetables, and chorizo fillings), and that pasta where they swirl the hot noodles in a cheese wheel. I enjoyed both. And we bought a lump of cheddar with those awesome crunchy bits in it.

Unpictured things:

  • Caught up with the old gang from my last job. More and more of them have also moved on. I wasn’t even there that long ago and it’s almost a completely different department.
  • Scott went to Sydney for work so we had a gym ladies night drinks at my friends house.
  • We had afternoon drinks with Scott’s work friends in Richmond. I got to eat tater tots.
  • We occasionally get the gang together for trivia.