The main event in February was the start of our renovations. I thought it was very interesting to see the guts of our house. Note the complete lack of insulation!
We were pretty lucky to only have a few hiccups. The biggest one was that after they laid the new tile in the toilet I realised I hated it. To me it looked dirty and water stained… except it wasn’t. After a lot of anguish we decided to make them rip it up and switch it for a different tile. Thankfully they had only tiled that small section, the tile store took the ugly tile back (minus a %), the designer helped me pick a better one, and Serge didn’t end up charging us anything extra. They did end up accidentally breaking the new toilet while taking it back up because it had been so well silicon’d to the floor, so I had to buy another base… but ah well. I am muuuuuch happier with the new tile and am definitely glad we decided to switch it.
We had some success in the garden this summer. Lots of roma tomatoes, with less butt-rot than previous years. We also got a lot more Chinese eggplants than before, however they were quite small. Lebanese cucumber grew pretty well, and salad greens were all fine too. We did not have much success with zucchini this year and we don’t know why.
February #SMAJ was dinner at Parcs, a restaurant that ferments lots of stuff and makes their food out of scraps. It was pretty nice.
I went out for Filipino food with some Discord friends and was suuuper excited to order taho after having such delicious taho at Serai last year. However I should have not gone in with such high expectations because this one wasn’t nearly as good. Sigh. The fancy one made the tofu into a soft serve consistency which had great temperature contrast with the hot tapioca pearls. The cheaper (probably more typical!) one just had blobs of plain silken tofu and the whole thing was warm and kind of bland.
Recipe Tin Eats quick ramen from her cookbook, with marinated eggs. Was kinda proud of this meal!
Sock progress. These socks ended up making me quite angry. Will post the finished project later.
We finally got to have our car fixed after The Wombat Incident. The timing was terrible. We had to stay in an Airbnb for a few days because at one point we had no toilet, no car, and no train.
Thankfully I have a great coworker who ended up lending us his car that he wasn’t using so we could get around a bit again.
We’re not having great success negotiating our new EBA at work so we’ve had a few strikes. It was kind of fun getting people to honk their horns in support although I’m not really sure it accomplished anything.
Jess came to Melbourne for her 40th birthday. She had a ladies dinner out in the hills that was nice.. I shoulda got more dressed up.
Still training. Still trying to help with Phoenix… with the committee and helping out with competitions.
November was an extremely busy month. It felt like every friend group was like “Let’s get together and do something before the crazy season starts”, which ended up making November equally (if not more!) busy than December. Next year I need to remember to do my early Christmas organising and baking in October!
We started the month with a belated #SMAJ activity at the 1000 Steps. I was so excited, as you can clearly tell. I barely saw anything on the way up because I was just concentrating on getting it over with as quickly as possible. Heard a lot of bird calls though.
The way down hurt my knees.
We had our friends over for dinner and games. I made a vegetarian Korean meal with Korean pancake, kimchi fried rice, and some crispy gochujang tofu. Scott made some banchan to go with it.
We played Viticulture, a rare six player game. It did take quite a long time with six people though, especially at the beginning when everyone is struggling to get their vineyard going.
My work always has our Christmas lunch super early. This year we went to Maha and it was very delicious. Felt very lucky.
Snails haven’t been as much of a problem in the garden any more, thank goodness. Once the zucchini started flowering I moved the tent to the salad and herbs box. So far even the uncovered stuff is thriving.
Extremely sweaty at pickleball. The headband means I mean BUSINESS. We managed to go play pickleball most weeks.
Michael and Gina taught us how to play mahjong. It was fun. Wish I could have played with my mom’s side of the family.
We went to the Night Noodle Market. It wasn’t a very nice day out so it wasn’t very busy. We had three different types of bao, kimchi fries, and Gelato Messina mango pancake. (The picture is my friend’s Oreo ice cream concoction.
I had a couple meetings and many many emails with Simone, the designer we hired to help us with our renovations. We ended up picking the rectangle green-y tile in the centre of the picture as our fun tile, and a grey-ish stone-y looking one for the rest, for the bathroom and laundry room. We were going to do a bit of the kitchen too but have decided it makes more sense to just leave it for if/when we redo the whole kitchen. Hopefully bathroom construction will start in February.
Another belated #SMAJ… had sushi and went to see Armageddon Time, a movie that made me feel sad about systemic racism.
Discount Thai food with Discord friends.
Several trivia nights, including trying out a new place that only had one other team there, so our team had to split into two teams to at least try and make it a bit more competitive.
I went to Oasis grocery store for the first time and found pink pickled turnip which made me extremely happy.
We had a state election and the Labour party stayed in power, which was a relief. Yes even the state elections have ballots that are like a meter long.
Betty’s Burgers with friends.
Another crafternoon! I worked on my knitting. A lady took a picture of our group cuz she thought it was great that we were all crafting and drinking.
We went to New South Wales. I’ll make that its own post.
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!
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.
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.
True love is Scott making me a tiny container of gravy to go with my lunch tourtiere when he hates the stuff.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A rare 6 player game. We’ve only played it with Scott and I. First impressions are good but need to play more.
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.
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.
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 bloggedabout.
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.