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.

Sophie and Scott and I paid a ridiculous amount of money to spend approx 4 seconds ziplining across the Yarra. It was silly. We went for ice cream after.

I took Scott out for a fancy meal for his birthday. We had the seasonal menu at Gimlet and it was amazing. We had mocktails and bread and radishes and asparagus and seafood pasta and an epic rib-eye with fries and salad, and two types of dessert. Everything was great. We also enjoyed sitting at the counter and watching everyone cook.

Garden is doing ok. We have two types of zucchini: the regular Black Beauty type, and another paler type that has grown a three meter long vine but only one actual zucchini. We have harvested one lebanese cucumber… hoping the plant keeps going. And we have heaps of green roma tomatoes but none have actually become ripe yet. Silverbeet and other salad stuff still growing fine, and I’ve planted another round of carrots. Hoping for good harvests soon.

Scott actually hates this pasta maker. He was probably swearing while I took this picture.

I did another weightlifting competition, the Phoenix Christmas Hit Out. I never posted any videos because I don’t like how I lifted. I snatched 45/47x/47, and CJ’d 53/56/58. My snatches were gross and I’m annoyed I missed my second attempt because I was very confident that I could snatch more than 47 (my old PB) and I didn’t get to try. Clean and jerks were better, and 56kg was a PB and 58 is a 3kg PB, but they were doing a bit soft judging and I don’t really think they should have given the 58 to me because the jerk was a little press-y. So that’s that. Hopefully next comp is better. Should be the Phoenix Open in February.

I got a haircut! I liked it at the time but actually it is extremely incompatible with having to wear n95 all the time at work now. My hair is too short to put in a proper ponytail so bits fall out all over the place and then my goggles pull more bits out around the sides so I just look even more disheveled than usual all the time. My coworker says this makes the patients feel sorry for us and treat us nicer so maybe it’s ok.

My friend Jen made this.

I finally got around to making reusable fabric gift bags this year. I remember mom and I making tons of these to sell as a fundraiser for one of my Girl Guide trips! I hope we can use them for a long time.

Ava and charcuterie.
Harry using his glasses to see what was over the fence.
Da boys and their presents.
Christmas lunch on Vicky and Pat’s new deck.
I’ve got the whole family hooked on Nanaimo bars.
Boxing Day/Christmas Day video chats with the fam.

We had a nice Christmas this year. We spent the afternoon playing with children and eating lots of delicious food. It was a pretty chill day. I got Scott a video game and that polar bear, and he got me a fish fileting knife and two more bird shirts.

Unpictured stuff:

  • I went to my Melbourne Discord Christmas party. I made my secret santa person a custom Kick Ons hat. I think he liked it because he wore it for the whole rest of the night. My secret santa gave me a cute little Australia-Canada hybrid cross stitch and some knitting accessories. I had some good chats and managed to get away with only having 2 drinks and Scott picked us up afterwards so all in all a very fun night.
  • I got my booster. I’ve had AZ x2 + Pfizer booster. I felt ok after however I got a nasty cold a few days later (not covid, was tested twice), not sure if related or not.
  • We had a week-before-Christmas lunch at Shaun’s house. Shaun told all the kids that there were no rules at his house, so they had a lot of fun pounding juice boxes and walking on the top part of the play structure.
  • I had the days off in between Christmas and New Years this year for the first time and it was great. Unfortunately Scott still had to work so we were only able to squeeze in a quick one night camping trip away (I’ll make another post). But it was still a fun relaxing time for me and actually filled up with quite a few activities so I’m glad I didn’t have to work. Plus I only had to use two days of annual leave to get 10 days off so it was extremely leave-efficient.
  • Steph and Soph had birthday parties. Nice to see Steph again and catch up with my old coach Adam, and splash around with Sophie’s kids in their kiddie pool.
  • I was in bed at 10pm on New Years Eve, as usual.

It was super hot this year on Melbourne Cup Day. So we went to the beach! However I am scared of the sun, so we went to the beach at 5PM. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of this before, it was so much better. Still warm, but not crowded, only mild sunscreen required.

My new Akubra hat! A gift from the fam after becoming Australian. I broke it in on our camping trip last weekend. I’m thinking about making some kind of removable corks system, hehe. I already got my Australian passport too now!

I am learning how to knit. This was my test swatch of a few different patterns… purl, knit, k1p1, k2p2.

Now I’m working on a scarf. It’s slow going but I can’t wait to finish because I really want to learn how to make socks! I made a new friend at the latest crafternoon who is really good at making them and willing to help me.

Epic Polish feast at Borsch Vodka and Tears with some internet friends. I enjoyed my perogies. Perogies are very hard to find here, seems like most people I talk to don’t even know what they are. They are missing out!!!

Our November #SMAJ activity was going to the Lume Van Gogh thingy with Jemma and April. We watched the videos a couple times, had a chocolate souffle, took some pics for the gram. It was kinda cool I guess, if you don’t think about the price.

My lil avocado baby is thriving!!! It’s even bigger and taller now!
Rosemarie mailed me some Kraft Dinner powder!!! She is the best!!!!

My friend Doreen gave us a couple King George Whiting. What a treat!! I had to Youtube how to get the scales off and how to fillet it. I wasted a bit of the fish but I think I did ok for first time. All that lettuce and spinach is from our garden too.

The view from the Langham Hotel at the Sirtex dinner conference. I found the talks more interesting this time.

Unpictured stuff:

  • We helped empty out all the furniture from Jean’s house to prepare the block for sale.
  • Went for brunch with our board game friends at Hatter and the Hare. It was a bit overwhelming.
  • Our garden did not grow well at the beginning because it was so cold and wet but it has taken off now. Our zucchini plant is huuuuuuuuuuuge. No zucchinis yet though.
  • Scott still playing a lot of lawn bowls and hockey. He’s a busy guy lately.
  • We had my work Christmas lunch at a Greek restaurant. It was very loud. Good food.
  • My friend Sally had a babby. She had her at my work so I was able to do a quick pop in and visit on my lunch break!
  • I had a really big day where I trained in the morning, then went to an afternoon meet up in the city with some weightlifting friends, then went to Hawthorn to watch my coach compete in nationals, and then went out for a second dinner with that group of weightlifting friends. All while being on call… I can’t believe it actually worked out. I was drained after that.

October was much less depressing. Things are finally getting back to normal here in Victoria.

Our allowed radius increased to 15km so we finally got to try Moon crullers. They were very good and very pretty, but very very oily. I think I enjoy regular Lune stuff better.

We walked off the crullers in Yarra Bend Park. We were trying to find red-rumped parrots but didn’t see any.

Scott got a bunch of supplies to get into resin casting for a belated September home-based #SMAJ activity. We tested it out by casting a little metal bird thingy, board game pieces, and a soy sauce bowl. I’m trying to sculpt something to cast next but I keep getting distracted.

I did finally finish this C2C crochet blanket. I made the eight squares a looong time ago but have completely forgotten how to do it and had no interest in re-learning, lol. So instead I cobbled a blanket together with random coloured double crochet borders and stripes. I know it looks ridiculous but whatever, it’s DONE.

We met up with Jemma and kids in a park in our overlap zone for a picnic. They enjoyed throwing the frisbee into the trees and getting Scott to get it back.

I mentioned in my last post that we went to a specific area that my friend told me about to try and find tawny frogmouth but didn’t find any. Literally that night I’m lying in bed and I thought I could hear one?? They make like a MOOP MOOP MOOP MOOP sound. It sounded sooooo close and I got up to look out the window and I thought I saw something fly off.

So the next night I hear it again and Scott and I went outside to see where the sound was coming from and he was sitting up on our antenna!! He comes to our house almost every night! We call him Gawny the Tawny and I love him.

I became Australian! I wasn’t expecting my ceremony to be until at least January, and probably later because of lockdowns, but then I got an email that said they would be doing the ceremony by zoom in a couple weeks!

The mayor of our council talked a bit, and then we all said the pledge together, and then she said we could each introduce ourselves and say something about our journey to becoming Australian and what it meant to us to be Australian, which gave me a heart attack because I wasn’t prepared for public speaking.

Scott took the afternoon off and decorated the house, and cooked us kangaroo burgers for dinner, and the whole family gave me a gift card to get an Akubra hat. It feels so nice to have it done. I have already registered to vote and submitted my passport application!

The garden has not been going as well as last year at the same time point. It’s been COLD, so a lot of things didn’t sprout. It has also been WET, so everything that does sprout gets eaten by snails. It has also been WINDY, so everything is battered and bent over. I thought it was going to hail at one point so I ran out and put the laundry basket over my tomato seedlings!

At the moment the zucchinis look like maybe they are big enough to survive the snails, the salad stuff is growing fine, and the roma tomato seedlings look ok. The rest are pretty small and slow (chilis, beans), or still non-existant (herbs, eggplant!!).

I finally got to go back to the gym!!!! This is the thing that made me feel normal again. Also I swear I get like a 10% bonus in the gym. (Sophie says really it’s a 10% deficit in the garage.)

Oh and there was a couple weeks before the gyms were allowed to reopen that we were allowed to go to people’s houses so I got to at least train with Sophie in her garage a few times, which was great as well.

October #SMAJ was a day trip out to Warburton. We got delicious pies for lunch and then went for a walk along the O’Shannassy Aqueduct Trail. It was nice to be out in nature but nothing super particular to photograph. On the way back there were like TEN kookaburras flying around and laughing at us! I have never seen or heard that many at the same time, it sounded crazy and chaotic!!

Apparently Scott helped build this bridge with the army in 2000.

Unpictured stuff… there is a lot because I keep forgetting to take pictures when I’m with other people. It takes so much more of my mental energy to remember how to socialise again.

  • My friend Steph moved to Canberra so we had a goodbye picnic. Well technically two side-by-side picnics because we were still only allowed to meet 1 friend outdoors at that point, lol.
  • Family dinner at Brett’s. We still can’t have fam dinner at Scott’s parents house because that is too many visitors. But if the house that we go to has more than 2 people that live there then it’s NOT too many visitors. Even though it is the exact same people. Get it? Haha. A couple more weeks and we should reach 90% double vaccinated and then I think the last few restrictions go away.
  • Went out for lunch with Ash and Charlie. Unfortunately we were up on a raised balcony and it was flipping freezing. But the company was nice.
  • Scott can play bowls again. He also got a pair of rollerblades and has been skating around parking garages.
  • We did N95 mask fit testing at work. About time eh? Apparently I have a very average shaped face because I passed the first 4 mask types that we tried.
  • Finally got to go to Costco and re-stock all our staples. And finally got to have a massage. I still haven’t been brave enough to go to any other stores though, it’s been bonkers busy everywhere.

Not the best month tbh. Still in lockdown. Everything still closed and still can’t see anyone. Although it was exciting when our radius doubled from 5km to 10km. :/

I still decided to take a week off from work, and Scott took a few days too. Even if we can’t really do anything it’s still nice to have a break from working. We spent the week cooking elaborate foods, doing a lot of crafts, watching ER.

Here is a bunch of jumbled pictures from the last month.

Making chicken wontons in my dumpling sweatshirt.

At home hotpot with leftover wontons, lots of mushrooms, tofu puffs (didn’t like them though), and veg. The broth was sooooo spicy.

Ottolenghi harissa eggplant and beef kofta. This was very very good.

Rice paper rolls with basa, mango, lots of veg, rice noodles, coriander and mint, with peanut dipping sauce.

I decided to paint the wall in the garage on my week off. I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to be so I kept my plan pretty simple. I kinda think it looks like a public library now though…. I’m not that happy with it. I might add a bit more to jazz it up a bit more maybe. Or maybe I’ll just paint over it and start again.

Scott’s parents sent us a card and some money to buy something to make us feel better. We decided to spent it on Caverna, a board game we have been wanting for a long time. It’s a bit like Agricola 2.0. I like it so far.

Scott trying to attract birds?

We were trying to find tawny frogmouth but all we found were a lot of rainbow lorikeets and mynas.

I fell off my bike. By biking straight into the boom gate at work. It really hurt.

However the Dees winning the Grand Final cheered me up after my accident. It was a great game. We started off strong in the first quarter, then the Dogs pulled ahead in the second quarter creating some tension, then part way through the third quarter the Dees kicked approximately 1000 goals and absolutely dominated for the rest of the game. By mid way through the fourth quarter we actually could relax because we were so far ahead.

Of course I’m sad that we couldn’t go to the game either here or in Perth. I’m really hoping that they are still good next year and we can actually go and experience the excitement in real life. The games should have great crowd atmosphere next year with all the Melbourne supporters coming out of hibernation.

The fam sent us an awesome charcuterie box for the game.

What I thought was going to happen when Maxy hoisted the cup with Goody after the win. (Or that Goody’s arm would get ripped out of its socket.)

I sewed myself an apron because I splash food on myself while cooking all the time.

I ordered a cheapy weaving loom off ebay for fun. It is pretty relaxing to use and works up way faster than a lot of my other types of craft hobbies. Dunno if it’s my new favourite thing or anything but it’s alright. Anyone need any coasters?

Nice flowers on a walk around our neighbourhood.

SITTING IS ILLEGAL.

Scott figured out how to crochet adorable baby hats! He has a new project in mind but the yarn is backordered and the postal system is paralyzed at the moment so it might not happen for a while.

Other unpictured stuff:

  • we planted some of our summer crops: carrots, zucchini, herbs, spinach, lettuce, sorrel, chinese eggplant, beans, chilis. It’s all started ok except the eggplant still hasn’t sprouted.
  • I did an online trivia night with my internet friends. It was fun. We won.
  • Still squatting a lot in the garage. Strength program is going pretty well.
  • I actually got called in to work. My third time in three years, lol, super different than my old job!! I just need to get called in three more times and then I can buy myself the RF 100-400mm lens I have my eye on. Might take three more years….