OK well in October I took plenty of pictures! Long post ahead!

We have been playing lots of pickleball again. I even got an upgraded paddle! We have been playing with the Bayside Pickleball Club and have been improving every week.

Another one of Scott’s (belated) #SMAJ activities was dinner at Serai in the city. It’s a fancy Filipino restaurant with a lot of stuff cooked over wood fire. It was all lovely if you didn’t think about the price. We had coral trout, broccolini, calamari, and hashbrowns with peanut sauce. The highlight for me was the dairy free dessert called Taho. It is made with soy ice cream, brown sugar syrup and tapioca pearls. The girl told us to stir it all up. Delicious!

Couple of lil’ pots.

Our friends Jen and Robert ran a private pottery workshop for a small group of friends. It was epic. We started with making some pinch pots, then did a bit of wheel throwing, and then did some large pieces where we painted coloured clay onto newspaper and then transferred it onto the slabs of clay which we layed over big molds. We got to pick what glaze we would like them to put on each piece and they are going to finish them all up for us. I can’t wait to see the results! It was a lovely afternoon.

We stopped in Box Hill on the way home for dinner. We randomly picked this Uyghur restaurant called Dolan On Silk Road because it seemed to be quite busy, and it turned out to be great! We ordered this massive lamb and bread platter which had a nice flavour and lots of vegetables and sauce. Fun to try a new cuisine. Everything the people around us were eating looked great too.

My work did a Medical Imaging Bake Off and it was pretty much the best day ever. I made a lemon blueberry yogurt cake that was decent but not prize-worthy. It was so moistly that the icing sugar I sprinkled on top got absorbed almost immediately.

I tried nearly everything. Even though we took tiny slivers of each thing it still put everyone into a sugar coma.

I went birdwatching with a bunch of oldies in Corinella. It was a weekday outing so I think the age group was extra skewed towards… retired. I didn’t get any good pictures but we did see lots of birds. The highlight for me was the Crested Shriketit, as I had never see one before and they’re pretty cool looking. It was nice to get out on a particularly lovely day.

I thought the birdwatching was going to finish at 12pm like it said on the website so I didn’t bring a packed lunch. Ohhhh I was so jealous of everyone’s delicious looking sandwiches when they stopped for a picnic lunch before continuing on to site number two and three!! Instead I bailed after site two and got Maccas on the way home. This is what a burger looks like if you ask for +2 pickles. Pickle overload!!

I did a quick volunteer session on the computer at the tiny girls session of Victorian Senior Championships. Always inspiring. It rained a lot.

Speaking of rain. Snails absolutely decimated our garden. We pretty much had to start everything again after snails ate all of our seedlings (two coriander, four cucumber, three eggplant…) The snails ate $15 of marigold flowers in one night.

After that we ordered the green garden box tent and these plastic cones which have been helping. Mesh food covers also help. And every night after dark we go out and stomp snails. In one week we killed NINE HUNDRED SNAILS. Our backyard isn’t even that big!!! They were literally everywhere, all over the sides of the garden boxes, the ground, the side of the house, the fence. It’s like the grossest Easter egg hunt ever. If you want to see a disgusting picture of mass amounts of gross snails, click here.

We are possibly winning though, because this week there have only been a few every night. We’re hoping the constant rain has ended and we’ll be able to uncover stuff soon, because we also need to let the bees in for pollination.

Gardening is hard. I can’t believe the first year we basically just chucked everything in and did almost no maintenance and everything grew very well.

Expectation.
Reality.

I got quite a bit of hair cut off. It’s a bit crazy. But I re-remembered that it actually only takes like 2 minutes to blow dry my hair when it’s this short so I’ve got it semi under control again.

Doreen have me a couple snapper which I attempted to filet with my fish knife from last Christmas. I think i did ok considering they were quite small! I also learned how to gut the fish this time too.

I went to watch Scott play hockey before going to a Diwali Halloween party. Diwaloween.

I tried candy corn for the first time and I thought it was fine? I don’t get the hate. The party had a lot of delicious food.

Rosemarie mailed me some clothing and some cascatelli!!! She is the best! We had it with a sausage pasta and it really did have great forkability, sauceability and toothsinkability! If I lived in USA I would use it as my go-to pasta for sure.

A beautifully golden tourtiere.

True love is Scott making me a tiny container of gravy to go with my lunch tourtiere when he hates the stuff.

Homemade kimbap. Yum!!
Lactose free ice cream with chocolate coated pretzels and a fudge ripple. I just used (expensive) lactose free cream and milk to make it.

Korean gochujang bbq short ribs. They took 4 hours in the oven!! Worth it, this was delicious. Can’t link the recipe because it’s from Nagi’s new cookbook.

Scott says I should have just stopped here.

I finished my sweater!!! It’s super warm and cozy. I just finished blocking it so I’ll take better pictures next time I’m home during the day. The forecast for this week is 25-29°C… so might not get much use out of it any time soon.

Unpictured stuff! This is the post that never ends!

  • I risked doing three different activities on an on call day: an online CPD seminar mostly about brain PET, afternoon weightlifting training, and post-training pizza with weightlifting pals. Thankfully I didn’t get called in and got to do everything!
  • That same day Scott went down to Tarwin for his cousin’s wife’s birthday bash. I enjoyed my alone-y evening.
  • We had a nice lunch at Dean and Ness’s new house.
  • More trivia with Ash and Charlie.

September was all about footy finals. Melbourne and Brisbane both made it. Melbourne went into the finals in good position, but lost two weeks in a row. Brisbane went into the finals in worse position, but won two times in a row, but then unfortunately lost the preliminary final. Bummer. At least we didn’t have to spend thousands of dollars on Grand Final tickets.

Instead we watched the Grand Final in Boronia with the family. It was a nice chill day.

Much concentration.

I went in to the Ian Laurie Cup feeling pretty good. I hadn’t competed in many months so I thought PBs would be inevitable. However they were… evitable. I did quite terrible. I only made my opening snatch and my opening clean and jerk. Yikes.

I am blaming it on my bodyweight, haha. I had unintentionally lost a bit of weight a couple weeks before the comp so decided to go down to the 64kg bodyweight category. I was thinking that if I made the same total as last time but at a lower bodyweight I would go up a grade (to J, LOL). However instead I actually did much much worse, like two years regression. So now I’ve just decided to eat everything in sight and fully embrace the 71kg category.

My next competition will be right before Christmas.

New game! Viticulture.

A rare 6 player game. We’ve only played it with Scott and I. First impressions are good but need to play more.

Wingspan with new friends.

We had a fun Queens Death Day (it’s what she would have wanted). We went to Bis’s place to play Wingspan with some of my Discord friends, and then went in to the city for dumps. It’s always great getting dumplings with big groups because you get to try so many different things.

Sweater progress.
Scott’s footy themed tourtiere.

Scott made the pastry and I mostly followed this recipe for the innards, but I added small cubes of potatoes before baking to bulk it up. I was worried the pastry wouldn’t cook properly because it didn’t say you had to blind bake it, but it worked perfectly. No soggy bottoms.

Unpictured stuff:

  • I went to a potluck at Bis’s place. It was epic, we had so much food. The highlight for me was Sally’s shawarma… she even found those pickled purple turnips that I miss so so much.
  • We got the garden ready for summer. It started off well, but then literally everything got destroyed by snails. So we had to start again, with better defences. We’re still struggling with the battle against the snails. Over the past three days we have stomped about 600 of them, not even exaggerating.
  • The designer came over to look at our house to help start our renovation process. (We want to re-do the bathroom and laundry room, and a small addition to the kitchen.) I told her my ideas, she pointed out lots of problems that we hadn’t thought of. We had to wait until she finished her masters degree so we haven’t gotten anything back yet, but it should be ramping up in the next few weeks. I am excited to see what she comes up with.
  • We went to a 1st birthday party that had 200 people invited. INSANE. We barely saw the kid hahahah. The food was great.
  • Scott’s lawn bowls season has started so he’s back to doing stuff every day. Bowls, hockey, running, garage gym, and sometimes filling in on people’s soccer teams. Busy boy.
  • Oh after about a year of waiting I finally got to see the allergy doctor to find out about solving my hayfever problems. However after a lot of testing I seem to only be allergic to birch pollen (which I already knew), olive tree pollen, and a few other random things that I wouldn’t actually be exposed to. And interestingly, not grass. There are not a lot of birch trees here so it’s a bit weird that I get so many symptoms. The doctor asked if I wanted to try grass allergy shots anyway even though I didn’t react to grass on the skin or blood tests but I decided not to because I felt like I’d spent enough money already. Not entirely sure what to do tbh. For now I’ll continue with my daily Telfast and nasal spray.
  • Scott is extremely behind in #SMAJ activities. We did do one, I don’t know which month it represented… a delicious feast of a Vietnamese meal at St Cloud after my weightlifting comp. We got the Feed Me banquet because we couldn’t make any decisions and it came with so much food we had two full lunch servings leftover for the next day.
  • Got the trivia ladies back together for a trivia night. Was a nice evening. Another establishment that has decided to not bother with dishes and serves everything in cardboard though. My enchiladas got served in a cardboard trough.

I did not take many pictures in August. But it was a pretty good month!

Of course I got to go on my Solo Trip, which I already blogged about.

I also got to have a half price spa treatment at Endota, which included a massage, a facial, and a pedicure. It was extremely relaxing and nice.

We finally stopped procrastinating and got someone to replace the door on the back of our garage that was disintegrating. Now we have a proper exterior door. I painted it, I think it turned out pretty good.

Scott got covid, which is obviously not the best… but I thought I had mild covid… Scott’s covid was even more mild. He didn’t even cough! So that’s pretty good.

He had to isolate at home for seven days but felt fine enough to work from home, and I was still allowed to do my normal stuff as long as I rapid tested every morning before work.

I went for a spicy Indonesian meal with Sophie to get me out of the plague house. She’s fun to eat out with because she always suggests ordering something very random and weird and sometimes they turn out great.

The last AFL game of the season was my team vs Scott’s team. In Brisbane, so we didn’t go, but we watched on TV. The Dees crushed the Lions so badly that it actually bumped us up into second position on the ladder going into the finals (which should have been a great advantage but today as I am writing this post I know that we wasted it, lol).

We went to Belgrave for Myles’ 4th birthday. He really loves those Bakugan ball thingies.

On the way home we bought some horse poo to tumble into compost for the garden. Scott was not very happy tipping the bag into the composter because it was definitely still very poo-y. Hopefully it pays off.

Sophie and I went to Sally’s for dinner, and to convince her to come back to the gym (post babby). We got Indian takeaway and it was nice. The baby is cute too.

My work colleague had a “Sensible Weeknight Birthday Potluck”. I brought seven layer dip. I also got to have lasagna, butter chicken, tuna bake, roasted vegetables, miso soup, ice cream sandwiches, and lots more. I LOVE POTLUCKS. And then I went home at a responsible 9:30pm. Delightful.

I made Alvin’s Drunken Chicken. It uses a lot of bottles of liquid. It did turn out nice though. The chicken was very nice and soft. Mild flavour, but I was able to save the poaching liquid and extra chicken to make chicken and corn soup later which came out really tasty. The bruised salad with the drunken chicken was easy and good though, I’ll make that again soon.

Knitted sweater progress. If I quit now I could have a knitted race bib for skeleton. :P Only 9000 more rows to go (to fit my extra long torso), and the sleeves. I’m hoping the sleeves don’t feel quite so boring as they should work up a lot quicker than the body.

I had a great birthday. It started with breakfast sashimi and a vegan cupcake. Then we went to Boronia for lunch to celebrate all the June and July birthdays: mine, Pat, Jemma, Michelle, Vicky, Luca and Brett. I was very spoiled with gifts, lots of amazing bird things.

Then Scott and I went out for a nice dinner at Entrecote. Didn’t see any fights. We had a seafood platter, beef tartare, steak and chips, lemon tart, and a couple macarons. Too much. Despite taking several Lacteezes I felt very ill afterwards. Learned my lesson.

We had our board game friends over for a falafel feast. I made falafel, harissa eggplant, salads, turmeric rice, and garlic sauce and didn’t take any pictures of the spread. Trust it was perfect. We played 7 Wonders and Camel Up. Chaos ensued. Fun was had.

Possums keep eating all the peel off the lemons on our tree so we decided to harvest ALL of the lemons. Even after giving a bunch of them away I still squeezed 1L of lemon juice. My hands felt like they had been ceviche’d. I poured half of it into ice cube trays to freeze in cubes, and froze two smaller jars of juice for future baking or lemonade.

Our tree isn’t even that big! But perhaps we need to prune it back a bit.

Beautiful Bendigo Woollen Mills yarn for future sweaters and ponchos.

A month of progress. I went to a crafternoon where my friend helped me get started on my next knitting project: a sweater. I’m using a pattern that she recommended that is good for beginners, lots of support online like videos and stuff. Plus she is making one too so she helped me through some of the tricky parts. I’m now up to the body part where I just have to knit stitch for eternity (especially since I have such a long torso haha).

We went to Shira Nui for our (12th!) anniversary. We’ve been there a few times and just love it. We got the omakase again, where you get two pieces of nine types of sushi. I liked all of them except the grilled oyster one is probably my least favourite. Unfortunately it’s like their signature sushi so they always have it, lol.

My friend really wanted to go out for lasagna. I ordered a vegan truffle lasagna. It was extremely creamy, possibly too truffle-y, but nice. The others had ragu lasagna and duck lasagna, which I tried bites of. A good evening out.

Michael and Gina had us over for Christmas In July. Scott and I made stuffing, and green bean halloumi salad, the others made charcoal chicken, roasted vegetables, a mushroom Wellington, Yorkshire puddings, and sticky date pudding for dessert. We also had mulled wine and eggnog. It was an amazing meal.

Scott left to play hockey so we took advantage of having five players and played a new game: Concordia. I didn’t quite understand what was happening at first but once I finally kinda got the gist I liked it a lot. It takes too long with five people though, Scott came back to pick me up and we still weren’t finished playing. We decided to artificially shorten the game so that we could all go home, and then I won, which Michael wasn’t happy about, haha. I put an asterisk next to my win in my app. :P

Unpictured stuff:

  • I helped out at a Phoenix weightlifting competition by taking pictures and videos. It felt very weird not participating, because usually I do, but it was too soon after having covid.
  • We had a good bye dinner for one of my co-workers who left for an office job. It was the first time our team had gotten together outside of work since before covid. We actually never had a welcoming dinner for her, haha.
  • I got a massage at a new place and the guy’s hands were like popsicles. Wasn’t very nice.
  • We went away to Flowerdale, VIC for a weekend. I actually have lots of pictures from this, it will get its own post.

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.