Week 4 was very very fun. We crammed in as many BC experiences that we possibly could. This is gonna be a massive, non-chronological, post!

We went to Vancouver one day for a massive day of seeing people and eating things. Let’s see if I can even remember everything…

  • started by going to Bulk Barn to buy more zingy zaps
  • met up with Kevin at Meat & Bread for porchetta sandwiches
  • bought a few treats from Purebread for later
  • met up with Phil for ice cream at Earnest Ice Cream
  • stopped at a random sushi restaurant for one yam roll
  • went to Terminal City Training while Rosemarie and Scott went to Parallel 49
  • met up with Liz, Tom and Kevin for Japanese BBQ
  • followed it up with some late night bingsu

A big thank you to Rosemarie for facilitating this ridiculous day.

We had a bit of time to kill in between eating things so Rosemarie suggested we check out the Bloedel Conservatory. It was neat! There were a lot of random types of cool birds in there. The highlights were:

  • Kramer, an insane parrot that danced and screamed
  • the four suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuper high boys that were fascinated by everything in there including leaves

OK back to Squamish. AKA where Rosemarie and Lauren live now.

Probably taking a panorama.
Rosemarie’s favourite forest.

Squamish is scenic AF.

We put together the Hogwarts model that dad gave to us. And by “we” I mean 95% me. :D I enjoyed it.

Trivia night. Lauren was probably trying to cheer me up because I had THE WORST MARGARITA OF MY LIFE.

Calculating how many lactaids we need to take.
Lunch with Lauren at an amazing Japanese place near his work. SOO YUM!!
Lauren made us epic okonomiyaki. So many shrimp. I was in heaven.
Even just regular neighbourhood walking in Squamish is scenic AF.

Of course we played more Pickleball. The Squamish courts were luxury, with those fences to divide the courts up so our rogue balls don’t go rolling into other people’s games.

No one wants to see a pickleballer from above!
Not the best pic but I had Nadal shoulder from falling off my bike the day before. I looked jacked… on one side.
Wingspan!
I was trying out Leslie’s weighted blanket.

Leslie and Kyla came up to stay with us for the whole last weekend and it was awesome. We had so much fun.

Rosemarie’s friend Kevin is da best.

We are so spoiled. It was the very beginning of spot prawn season so Kevin brought up fresh prawns from Vancouver. They were still squirming in the sink. He poached them, made a delicious sauce, and taught us all how to shell them. They were so sweet and delicious. I had about 12. :D

Getting the fire going.

Liz and Tom came up and we had a backyard sausage sizzle with everyone. The weather behaved for us. Kevin ate 9 sausages.

Divvying up cake.
Have you ever had an Oreo race?
At the Squamish Farmers Market.
One last meal together before Leslie and Kyla had to leave.
Scott pushing my bike up the hill for me because I am a whiny baby. <3

We went mountain biking twice. The first time we borrowed a bike from Rosemarie’s friend. Despite Rosemarie picking a route that involved the absolute least uphill biking, we still had to bike uphill for 90 minutes for 5 minutes of downhill riding. I complained the whole time. I hate uphill anything. I was unconvinced that this is a fun sport.

So the second time all four of us rented e-bikes. Now that helped! We were flying up the hill compared to everyone else, and it really didn’t require much effort. We did three big laps in our half day rental. However, it was terrifying!!! Lauren is a good teacher but I found it really really scary and hard. Yes I know I used to do skeleton racing, but skeleton doesn’t have sticks and rocks and pointy things all around you! Scott was much less scared and did much better than me, he was pretty fast.

My main problem was being a big chicken and not keeping enough speed to get over the bumps. I’d slow down too much and then have to pedal and then the bike would shoot me off too fast I felt like I was not under control. Also I really did not like the bridges. Lauren kept telling me to look more ahead and not down at the ground in front of me, and to relax more, but I probably did the exact opposite.

I fell off my bike twice. The first time I kinda just fell over, that wasn’t so bad, but the second time I had a bit of speed and it actually hurt a lot. Rosemarie was supposed to be helping me but she was long gone!!

Also Scott didn’t fall off his bike but managed to do a mini-crash where the spikes on the pedal tore the shit out of his shin.

I am still unconvinced that it is a fun sport.

Our final BC activity was doing a yam roll crawl in Vancouver on the way to the airport. I found an area that had 4 different sushi restaurants within about 10 streets (near Commercial Station). We parked in the middle and then split up and hit each place for a yam roll, and then met back up in a park to eat.

I think the cheapest one ended up being the crowd favourite? It actually was probably one of my favourite things we’ve ever done.

And the final few pics you already saw on Facebook:

We spent most of the second week doing chores at the house during the day, and then fun stuff with friends in the evening.

I spent two days scanning old photos so that we can throw out the mouldy albums. That was kind of fun. I found all sorts of funny stuff. Then I varnished a table. Scott did lots of pressure washing, which wasn’t very fun because he got wet and it was freezing out. And he helped dad carry lots of stuff. Rosemarie did a lot of kitchen stuff sorting. We took apart some cabinets and cleaned them so they can be re-used.

Writing that out it doesn’t sound like that much stuff but we filled up all the areas where we could store stuff and dad seemed pleased with his checklist, so I guess that’s good.

Unpictured:

  • Scott did get a day off one day when he went to Montreal to go to a metal concert (Mastodon) (by himself, because none of us wanted to go with him). He took a bus and stayed in an Airbnb and had a great time! And he came back with kouign amann and bagels!
  • That evening Rosemarie and I met up with Sarah and Lauren (different Lauren) for dinner and ice cream. This is the one time I forgot to take a group picture. :(

I swear the whole trip we never had more than two hours of free time, but that is partly our fault because any time we did have free time we were like “LET’S PLAY A GAME!!!”.

Bill and Suzanne invited us all over for dinner at their house and pickleball. We had tacos and then drove to the court and they taught us how to play. We were hooked! Especially Rosemarie. We played until it was too dark to see anything. Rosemarie asked when they were going to play again and they said “Tomorrow!”.

So we drove all the way back to Constance Bay and played again the next day. :D

We went to the Nordik Spa at night with Jackie which felt fantastic after all the work at the house and pickleball. It was awesome going with Jackie because 1. she’s like a spa expert and 2. we hadn’t hung out with her in ages!! The spa was great. I was surprised that there was an area that you could bring your drink right into the water. Crazy. We stayed at the spa for a loooong time, soaking and plunging, exfoliating with salt, broiling ourselves etc. (sounds like cooking a turkey, doesn’t it). We had a nice spa dinner too. The only thing we didn’t do was try the heated hammocks!

The next day I went to the gym and Rosemarie and Scott tried indoor pickleball. (I tell you, Rosemarie was obsessed.)

The next day was crazy busy. We went and saw Helenka again (post-babbies, although sans-babbies because they were in the NICU), ate another shawarma and poutine, and then drove back out to Constance Bay again to… you guessed it…. play some more pickleball. :D Then we came home, cooked hot pot for a quick family dinner, and then went bouldering with Sarah, and then met up with Sara for a drink. Whew.

PS that poutine, with the exorbitant amount of gravy and cheese curds, made me feel sooo sick, despite Lactaid. :( I feel un-Canadian.

Our final night in Ottawa we went to a Sens game with Stephko. It was one of the last games of the season and had no consequences in regards to the play-offs, but was still exciting because there were a lot of goals and even went into overtime for maximum drama.

Again, more pictures that you probably already saw on Facebook:

We started March off with a double wedding weekend. One on Saturday in Ballarat with work friends, and one on Sunday in the Yarra Valley with board game friends. Big weekend of driving and canapes. Both fun. Took me three more days to recover.

Home invader.

We went to the opening game of the AFL season: Melbourne Demons vs Western Bulldogs. A Grand Final rematch. The first time that us Melbourne Dees fans got to see them play since they won everything last year while we were stuck at home in severe lockdown.

The first quarter was so good it brought a tear to my eye. Then the second quarter was very bad. Then in the exact same way as the grand final last year, the Dees pulled ahead in the last half of the game and got the win. It was great.

(Belated) January #SMAJ was a meal at The Boiling Crab. It was… OK. Partly because I don’t think boiling in a bag is necessarily the tastiest way to cook seafood, and partly because we really do not know how to break down crab. So much work with so little pay off. Also food gets cold quite quickly when it’s just poured onto the table.

I went out to do trivia with my pals at a new place in Ringwood. We won three out of four $20 vouchers and none of us were drinking so we decided to order the “Celebration Brownie Tower” because why not. When the staff brought it out it had sparklers on it and they all started singing Happy Birthday and everyone playing trivia joined in and the host asked us whose birthday it was and we were like “umm… no one…”. It was pretty funny. We also won second place overall which had a prize of six take home cocktails. Very good haul.

I went out for noodles and bingsu with internet friends. Yum.

OK apparently all we did lately is EAT. (Belated) February #SMAJ was a dinner out at a Japanese BBQ restaurant. We splurged and got a set meal that came with delicious fancy beef and a bunch of other stuff. It was very very delicious.

I did a weightlifting competition in Geelong. The timing of the comp worked well to squeeze in one last max out before our Canada trip. I really wanted to snatch 50kg and clean and jerk 60kg for a while now and have been sooo close to getting to do it. It was a bit of a drive to get to Geelong but my coach actually lives there so at least that part was convenient.

However I missed my second snatch attempt at 48kg so I didn’t get to try 50kg on my third attempt as planned. :( Extra annoying considering I snatched 48kg really nicely on my third attempt. Clean and jerks were better, at least I got to try 60kg on my third attempt but unfortunately I didn’t catch the bounce well and didn’t stand up the clean.

I snatched 45/48x/48, and CJ 54/57/60x for a 105kg total. No PBs. Next time.

When I signed up for the comp I assumed that I would be in the first session like usual and have to weigh in quite early in the morning, so I booked us an Airbnb in Ocean Grove to make a weekend of it. Turned out I lifted in the last session and I probably should have just cancelled the Airbnb booking so I could have slept in my normal not-extremely-squeaky bed and eaten my normal food but that didn’t occur to me until it was too late to cancel.

So we ended up with a lot of time to kill and the weather wasn’t great. We went to a CHEESE TRAIN, like a sushi train but with plates of cheese. We drove around Queenscliffe. We tried to find things to take a picture of with my new telephoto lens. We ate burgers. (Much nutrition, maybe this is why I didn’t lift the best.) We watched two games of footy at the same time. We met up with Scott’s school friend for coffee. We went to the Geelong Art Gallery and were amazed by this lino print art piece that went around a whole room. We went to the library and read our Kindles.

Unpictured stuff:

  • I did a lot of on call and extra shifts because of people having covid. This meant I reached my budget target for a telephoto lens much earlier than predicted! Pretty exciting. I haven’t really gotten to use it much yet.
  • We saw the new Batman movie with Jemma. It was very dark, literally. Apparently if you are rich you never turn the lights on. Also I giggled every time thinking about how he would have to put his eye makeup on super fast every time he had to get dressed up.
  • We had a family dinner! On a Sunday with everyone there like the olden days!
  • Scott went to Ballarat to see his school friend who is visiting from Scotland.
  • We were supposed to go to another wedding this weekend, but it has been postponed because they have covid. Oops.

I actually haven’t been doing that much lately besides work and gym because we leave for Canada this week and I am paranoid about getting covid and ruining all our plans. Only a couple more days to go!!!

Rosemarie’s time in Australia continues. We went to Wilsons Prom and Fraser Island in February as well but I’ll save those for their own posts.

We decided to make mu shu pork for Rosemarie’s birthday/Chinese New Year. It turned out ok but not as good as we remembered from the last time making it together, approximately 12 years ago when we all first moved to Vancouver.
They don’t really sell Chinese eggplant here so we tried to grow our own. It kind of worked!
We went out for dumplings (Shandong Mama) and drinks (Eau De Vie) and ice cream (Nitro Lab). Rosemarie’s drink came in a HORN. Mine was spicy. Fun night out.
Typical Melbs.
Lune croissants. We got ham and cheese, spanakopita, black sesame miso cruffin, lemon curd cruffin, pineapple upside down. Spend with reckless abandon!!

I have this amazing friend at the gym named Doreen. Every once and a while she randomly gives me fresh fish. We were already going to have a nice dinner of mom’s hot & sour soup and fried rice, and then she gave me two snapper! We steamed them, covered them with garlic, ginger, green onion, soy sauce, and then poured hot oil over it. It was delicious, this was an epic dinner.

Chilling pre-competition.

Phoenix Open weightlifting comp. I didn’t have the best preparation, I had a week of crippling back pain, which really made me consider withdrawing from the comp. Thankfully that resolved itself after I was finally able to get some physio treatment. But then we also went on two holidays right before the comp too. Anyway my coach helped me through all of that and planned a conservative comp for me where the goal was to get 6 out of 6 lifts. Which I did, although the judges were far too generous with my last snatch and probably shouldn’t have actually given it to me. I snatched 43/46/48(1 kg PB, sorta), and clean and jerked 53/56/58(equal PB, but much more solid than the first time I did it), for a total of 106kg, which was a 1kg PB too. I liked having Rosemarie there to load my warm ups for me and fan me and stuff. :)

Rosemarie went to watch Scott play hockey (I was at a hens party). He looks pro!!

Unpictured:

  • Sophie came over for dinner and games. We made homemade gnocchi and played Azul.
  • Lots of Winter Olympic watching.
  • Trivia with Scott’s work friends. We won.
  • Gina’s hens party dinner.
  • An epic last dinner out at Deeds Brewing. Many delicious share plates. Definitely want to go back.
  • Rosemarie leaving. :( Unpictured because she had to leave really early in the morning and I stayed in bed while Scott drove her to the airport.

OK maybe I should do some blogging again… especially considering we had such an awesome summer!

So around Christmas last year, we realised that instead of waiting for ScoMo to open the border to tourists, we could just buy Rosemarie a Working Holiday Visa and she could come visit right away. After a couple days of back and forth messaging and research, she booked some flights to come visit us for six weeks, starting from the middle of January!

She arrived with an entire hockey bag full of treats!! Best sister!!
Scott for scale.

We weren’t expecting Rosemarie to show up so quickly so Scott and I were quite busy with work for the first couple weeks. But we used the time to get organised (Perkins love a list!) and Rosemarie cooked us lots of elaborate foods. Looking back, we still managed to squeeze in A LOT of fun stuff between all our commitments.

New steamer with 400% more capacity!
Homemade shrimp har gow with garlic Chinese broccoli.
Rosemarie made radish cake! It was delicious. With bbq’d zucchini from the garden and homemade chili oil (unpictured).
We also played lots of games, of course. We were excited to play some games, like Orleans, with three players for the first time ever.
Rosemarie beat us at everything.
We went for a walk in the hills, looking for lyrebirds, didn’t see any. Went for a swim in Lysterfield Lake afterwards.

We got cheap grounds passes for the Australian Open one night, which ended up being quite fun! We watched a couple games in outdoor court 3, walked around a bit, had food truck food for dinner, tried to get in to watch Nick Kyrgios’s match but didn’t realise you had to pre-reserve your seat. The spectators were rowdier than I expected. It was my first time being in crowds for quite a long time, which felt weird, but I kept my mask on as much as I could and that made me feel better.

Rosemarie and I went to Gumbaya World on my day off. It was horrendously windy, which made waiting in lines for the water slides quite unpleasant, but the water was very warm so that helped. They also have animals so we got to see kangaroos and wallabies and koalas and birds and stuff. We went on a swingy ride that was too EXTREME for Rosemarie. She has gone soft. I got a big dent in my car from someone else’s car door.

We went to the South Melbourne Market to try Agathe pastries. Verdict: very nice, but I think I like Lune better because they have savoury options as well.
I also had a fancy oyster.
Rosemarie and I deciding which family pie to buy, we decided on Beef Burgundy and it was great.

Rosemarie learned how to do weightlifting! She came with me almost every single session. My pal Bach coached her. It was cool to have her there and I think she enjoyed it quite a bit.

Rosemarie took a sneaky pic of me doing my squats.
More games.
Australia Day beers with some of my Discord friends.
Scott prepared classic Australian birthday treats to celebrate Rosemarie’s birthday at his parents house. Top left is chocolate crackle, top right is fairy bread, with a slice of Vienetta (he didn’t make that).
Brunch at a nearby cafe, Jake and the Beans Talk. My breakfast gnocchi put me into a coma.

Unpictured:

  • Went out for parmas with more Discord friends.
  • Phoenix Weightlifting AGM where I got elected Ordinary Committee Member.
  • many pies