Scott got us tickets to see Weezer with Jemma and Damien. I hadn’t really listened to Weezer since like 2007 but it was still good! Very nostalgic. I could tell that they have been doing this show for a long time because everything was very polished. I knew every song except two or three, and I can’t think of any songs I like that they didn’t play. We were sitting up on the edge and it was pretty chill.

The concert was on Friday. On Saturday I was on call and Scott played bowls. On Sunday we played pickleball and then left for our camping trip in the Mallee, which I will write about in its own post.

I think on Tuesday or Wednesday we heard that Jemma and Damien both have covid, probably from Myles. Didn’t think too much of it as we were both feeling 100% normal.

We drove back on Thursday, Scott was a bit snotty and tired yet still did the majority of the driving. Thanks Scott!

I went to work on Friday as normal. Then mid-afternoon I heard from another friend that she had covid and I asked what her symptoms were and she said mostly ‘snotty and tired’. I’m like OH NO. I message Scott that he should probably do a RAT, and he shortly writes back that it’s positive!! I just spent 6 hours in a car with that guy!! I still felt 100% normal but of course did one at work too and it was negative so I finished my shift (we all were wearing masks like normal as well).

After work a few of us went to Tricky Wicket for dinner and attempting to hit cricket balls. It was very hard and none of us were very good at it, even on very easy settings. I was quite scared of the ball. I did touch the ball one time though at least (I am ‘regular k’).

And you can probably guess where this story is going, but the next day I also tested positive on a RAT. BLAZING positive. I was so worried that I infected my whole department, but thankfully no one else got it. We just can’t believe how long it took… like almost a full week since we saw J & D, and then why did it take me a few more days after Scott, when I was sitting in between them at the concert?! Otherwise, how did we catch covid while in the outback???

We both got pretty sick.. worse than the first time. But Scott never had much of a cough and recovered completely fairly quickly. I had pretty much every symptom possible, even losing taste for a few days, but gradually got better every day. My training took a bit of a hit but what can ya do. At least the timing was pretty convenient.

Oh yeah one annoying thing we had to do while sick was VOTE!? Australia had a referendum and voting is mandatory. According to the website it seemed like they still wanted us to go vote, just wear a mask and bring your own pen. I felt bad for the person checking my details. And the referendum didn’t even go the way I wanted it to so that was disappointing.

Back to fun stuff!

Yet another Birdlife photography outing. This time we went to Bunyip State Park. There was a big group this time! We barely saw any birds!! We could hear tons of birds, but they were all so far away. One of the downsides of going to a place that has great tall old trees.

I thought this quote from the group’s blog post was amusing:

After two and half hours, the group reconvened at the picnic ground to compare bird stories and photos – and leech bites. The latter were an almost universal experience, much more so than some of the 35 species recorded.

Once bleeding was staunched, and with suitable nourishment and caffeine on board, we motored the 10 minutes to Buttongrass Walk.

There really were a lot of leeches. I flicked about 20 off my pants, and one got me between my fingers, so I had a bit gruesome looking bloody hand for a while.

Rufous Whistler

Not only was there not very many birds, I was also struggling with my camera. I’m not entirely convinced that there isn’t something wrong with my telephoto lens. Sometimes it won’t auto-focus on anything for minutes at a time, and pointing it at something close, or something far doesn’t seem to help. By the time I get it to focus the bird is long gone. I talked to a few people from the group about it and they suggested it might just be from bad lighting conditions, but I’m not sure. More testing required, or perhaps sending it in for inspection.

Scott did a good job on this month’s #SMAJ. I didn’t even know what it was until we were nearly all the way there. We went to Luna Park at night and I finally got to ride the wooden roller coaster! It has a brake operator! It’s called The Great Scenic Railway and it’s the second oldest roller coaster in the world (1912), and one of only seven remaining roller coasters that has a brakeman. It was bumpy and fun.

We also rode a few other rides, and had some carnival food. It was pretty busy because it was almost Halloween. Lots of good people-watching while waiting in lines.

Scott made a lot of lactose free perogies. Perks of unemployment. They are DELICIOUS.

Cardigan progress. I thought this cardigan would take me a couple months to make but between camping and covid I got A LOT done. It should be ready right in time for summer. :P

Unpictured things:

  • I started getting allergy shots for my birch allergy. Despite there not being a lot of birch trees here I still seem to get a lot of symptoms and still can’t eat a lot of fruits (oral allergy syndrome). So I’m giving this a try. I hope it works cuz it’s expensive. I’ve almost finished the part where I have to go every week for a shot, and then they will be a month apart. I won’t really be able to tell if they work until next spring.
  • We had a games night at our house. Scott made vegetarian enchiladas and they were a hit. We played Tiny Towns.
  • The new sports centre within walking distance to our house opened after a year or two of construction. Scott is happy because not only does it mean his lawn bowls team gets to move back in, but the facilities are very nice, and it has a sun shade over the (fake) grass so he doesn’t have to worry as much about being burnt to a crisp. They also have a bunch of tennis courts and basketball courts. They do have lines for three badminton courts so we’re hoping that someone eventually starts a pickleball club there too. No, we don’t want to start it ourselves, that’s too hard.

Hehehe. Melbourne played Collingwood in the first round of the finals at the MCG on a Thursday night. I had to quickly squeeze in a training session at home in the garage after work and then rush into the city to meet Scott. It started POURING pretty much exactly when I had to walk run from the train station to the MCG. I showed up to the MCC (thanks Connor!!) looking like a drowned rat. And tried to take a selfie on the escalator. Melbourne lost. And I forgot my backpack under the seat so Scott (thanks Scott!!) had to run back up to grab it and then we ended up on the train with all the super happy Collingwood people (the worst) instead of with the sad Melbourne people.

Then we had the Ian Laurie Cup on the weekend. I did OK, I guess. I snatched 45 kg and 48 kg, and missed 50 kg. I clean and jerked 55 kg, and 58 kg AGAIN, and the missed the jerk on 60 kg AGAIN. That’s the 4th time I’ve missed 60 in competition!! So annoying. However it was a fun day over all.

I went to another Birdlife photography outing at Banyule Flats. It was a small group this time, which was kind of nice. It was a beautiful day and we saw a decent amount of cool birds. We spent a while tracking a Shining-bronze Cuckoo and a Golden Whistler by their calls and eventually found them, which was neat. I saw them well with my binoculars but didn’t get any good photos.

We saw two Powerful Owls as well. Epic. They are huge.

Tawny Frogmouth pretending to be a stick.

Met up with Donna and fam to go for a walk, and give them the GIANT box of Pokemon cards that Doreen prepared. Always a pleasure to spend time with them.

Scott and I entered our first pickleball tournament. We were in the Mixed Doubles 2.5 or Under category, aka beginners. There were five teams in our category. We won our first two games in the round robin, then lost our next two games. This put us in third position going into the finals but we lost again, so ended up 4th overall. Whatevs, it was fun!! My goals for the tournament were: to not lose every single game (check!), and to get some points from my shots (check!). I can’t wait until we can do another tournament!

Sonika had a bunch of people over on FBTAGF public holiday (Friday Before The AFL Grand Final) for some games and food. It was a nice chill afternoon. I played half a game of Potion Explosion, which was quick to learn and has a fun ball dispenser mechanism.

Check out this super strong momma possum carrying THREE babies on her back!! We could hear something rustling around in the backyard but couldn’t figure out what it was.. turns out one of the babies had fallen off and she was trying to do a dramatic rescue mission. Kinda neat, although possums can be quite the pest.

Best messages to receive from Doreen: “I have fish for you”. We were extra spoiled this time, King George Whiting, already filleted for me! She gave us 7 fillets!! What a treat.

I finished the kids jumper from Vicky. I keep forgetting to bring it when we see the nephews! It was originally supposed to have a roll neck but I didn’t like the look of it so I just did a 1×1 rib instead.

Before
After

This was such a fun project. I saw a video on Knitdiet’s instagram and bought the pattern and yarn immediately. Basically I knitted an enormous bag, then put it in the washing machine for an hour and it came out as a sturdy, normal size bag! So fun!! I’ve been using it to carry my knitting stuff around.

Unpictured stuff:

  • A lot more finals footy, but at home. We weren’t able to get tickets to the next Melbourne finals game (which they lost). And Scott’s team only played in Brisbane (which they won). Scott’s team made it to the Grand Final but it was too hard/expensive to get tickets so we watched it in Boronia with the fam. Brisbane lost.
  • Fathers Day/Myles’ Birthday brunch in Boronia. Scott made cinnamon buns.
  • Scott got laid off. Was a shame because it seemed like it was a good job, until the end.

I was finally able to make it out to one of the Birdlife photography group outings! They get together once a month and it always seemed to be on a day that I couldn’t go. But this time I could. We went to Lysterfield Lake. I was a bit scared to go, but there were plenty of friendly people, and at least there is an activity… so you don’t have to talk the whole time. It wasn’t the best conditions for birds or photography so I didn’t get any great pictures but it’s still nice to get out and get some birdwatching practice.

Scott got me tickets to Cirque du Soleil Crystal for Christmas last year and it was finally time to go! We liked it, it was neat to see the new stuff they could do with the added ice element… like big long swooping things while hanging from ropes and stuff. And Scott liked the hockey boys doing jumps and flips. I thought the actual circus stuff wasn’t near as precise as a normal Cirque show though. The story was pretty weird too.

We had galettes beforehand at Roule Galette. Scott had beef bourguignon, and I had a potato-y one and a mulled wine. Lovely.

My friend Bis’s birthday dinner wish was for us to go out and everyone had to pick a dish to share. It was great. This was half the food.. I should have waited until everything arrived to take a picture but at that point I was too busy stuffing my face. I picked a soft tofu dish.

Melbourne was playing Hawthorn so we sent a message to Shaun to see if he wanted to go to the game together (he goes for Hawthorn). He said sure, meet us at this park at this time. We arrive at the park and there are like 20 children there and many adults. Turns out it was Shaun’s son Finn’s birthday party and everyone was going to the game together!! Cupcakes were a nice surprise!

So we ended up watching the game with Donna’s family too. A fun day. And Melbourne won.

I saw this meal on an Instagram reel. It was delicious!

Bendigo Woollen Mills sock yarn socks are done! I’m quite pleased with them. Socks are a great travel project because they’re so compact.

I learned how to do two-colour knitting by making a vaguely Melbourne-themed hat. I tried making a pom pom for it but I tied it wrong and it exploded everywhere. I didn’t really like how it looked anyway. I would like to get a navy faux fur pom pom but haven’t found where to buy that yet.

My next project was to finish up a kids jumper that Vicky started about ten years ago for Beau. He’s about six feet tall now but luckily there are two other small kids that it can fit now. It was a fun challenge for me to figure out where she was up to in the pattern and finish it up.

Unpictured stuff:

  • I went to a nuc med day conference down on the peninsula with a couple coworkers. We saw a guy with a motorized golf bag!!
  • Used the movie tickets I won from getting a written compliment at work to see the Barbie movie. I liked the movie but I was annoyed that most of the punchlines had been spoiled already on the internet/TV/radio/literally everywhere.
  • My weightlifting friend came back from Canberra/USA and it has been so nice having her at training again. We even got the old Phoenix ladies out for dinner one night too, which was lovely.
  • We’ve been playing pickleball pretty much every Sunday. Scott and I did a lot of practice together to prepare for an upcoming tournament.
  • I actually got called in to work on the weekend. Quite rare. It was a tricky case too. Thankfully my boss is very nice and volunteered to come in with me and press the buttons on the computer for me so I didn’t have to get gowned and ungowned a bazillion times.
  • Apparently we went out for dinner for a #SMAJ event but we didn’t take any pictures and I can’t remember what it was.
  • Japanese brunch. Trivia. Knitting club. Weightlifting training.

When we first booked this Canada trip we thought we’d only be able to see Rosemarie on the weekends so Scott and I booked a three day kayaking trip way up at the Northern end of Vancouver Island with North Island Kayak.

The weather and water conditions were perfect. No rain at all. Mostly sunny with one moody misty morning. At some points the water was like glass! I kept yelling out “How is this the ocean???!!”

We saw tons of humpback whales in the distance from the campground but didn’t end up seeing any orcas. The orcas were behind schedule… yay climate change.

The other people in the group were friendly.. we had a Brit couple, a Swiss girl, an older Canadian man, and our guide was a young Canadian dude. We didn’t have to do any of the cooking or cleaning, and our tents were already set up for us with humongous elevated sleeping mats. It was all very luxurious.

I lost my mind a little bit when I found out they made dairy-free Nanaimo bars for me.

My arms definitely got tired, but thankfully Scott is a machine and just kept paddling, while I took FREQUENT breaks. Basically we’d do about one to two hours of kayaking at a time, broken up by meals and snack breaks. And it was at a verrry relaxed pace. Over the three days we went the entire way around Hanson Island.

One of the most memorable parts for me was when we kayaked through this little crevice at low tide. The rock walls on both sides were covered with super droopy sea anemone and urchins that were now out of the water. The looked like snotty testicles. Never seen anything like that before!! We went through twice. That’s where we saw the giant morning sun star fish as well.

While we didn’t see any orcas or bears we did still see tons of wildlife. I loved when the eagles flew over us, and kayaking past the rock sausages (seals).

BC is great.

And it’s almost March… oops… life has been hectic lately.

As is now becoming tradition, we went to Walkerville for a night to hang out with the Marcus families. It was really lovely this year, the weather was amazing and the beach was in much nicer condition than last year. We always like spending some time with Bird Boy.

Happy New Year! There were some fireworks at the beach. I was hoping to try photographing the Aurora Australis, since we were pointing South and it had been going bonkers the couple nights before that, but unfortunately not that night. Aurora hunting is super tricky… it’s pretty random when it can happen and you don’t get any notice. Plus you need no clouds, darkness, be awake, and in the right spot with a Southern view.

Possibly our most pleasant “Polar Bear” Dip ever. The old limestone kiln at Walkerville South Beach makes it feel like you’re in Tulum or something! It was lovely.

Our Christmas presents to most of the nieces and nephews was a Splatball outing this year. I think everyone had a good time except April.. she found in a bit scary. We all got very sweaty and messy.

Our January #SMAJ activity was going to the Rone exhibit at Flinders Street Station. So apparently all the rooms above the train station had been sitting empty for ages. Rone decided to fix them up into a big immersive art exhibit. It was interesting.. lots of little bits of old things to look at. I think it would be a fun place to bring your grandma or something.

I went to Phillip Island for a weekend with a big group of friends. One of their families has an Airbnb that we got to use, for free! It was a really fun weekend, we played games, went to farmers market, went to the beach, cooked and ate all sorts of fun food, knitted, hung out. I had a really nice time.

Again I was keeping an eye on the aurora forecast, as we were pointing South, but it wasn’t active. Also the milky way is not as good in Australia in the summer so that was about the best picture that I got, just off the deck. I’ll try to be more organised this winter with the moon cycle.

The big thing that’s happening at the moment, and a big part of the reason why this blog post is so late, is that our renovations have started! There are some Before shots which we’ll use for comparison later. We’re getting the whole bathroom, toilet, and laundry room done, and a minor adjustment in the kitchen. Very exciting!

My delivery man, Pat. (Scott’s dad.) He helped me pick up a big load of stuff from the bathroom supply store to save us some money on delivery fees. Thanks Pat!!

We stored all the stuff in the corners of our living room. Box life.

Carpooling to Florim and Lora’s wedding. It was a very unique wedding experience for us. There were over 500 people there, the majority being Albanian. There was a live band of electric clarinet and singing that was VERY VERY VERY loud. There was A LOT of slow snail line dancing in the middle of the room. Very fancy and tight dresses. Lots of great food. Lots of money being given to the couple. Twas a bit intense. Eventually we just had to leave and the whole way back we just sat in the car in silence, with ringing ears. Fun but I wish I had earplugs and I wish I had worn something FANCY.

Scott and I made 5 different curries and froze them into small portions so we can have easy future meals. They’ve already come in handy so many times. We made a peanutty one, a lamb one, brown lentils with spinach, chickpeas with tomato, and red lentil mush one.

I found pickled turnip at Coles in Dandenong and we’ve been eating a ton of shawarma this summer. Another thing I miss from home that I can now recreate here. :)

Lactose-free rugelach using plant butter and lactose-free cream cheese. Turned out nice!

Many extremely sweaty training sessions. It’s been hot, and I’ve been doing a higher volume strength training block that has been making me sweat buckets. I hope it pays off.

I hurt my back at one point doing a very routine exercise and got horrible sciatica pain for a couple weeks. That was awful, I’ve never had nerve pain before. But I recovered from it more quickly than expected thankfully. I’m completely back to normal now. I hope it doesn’t happen again.

My committee member obligations have really ramped up this year. We’re trying to get more members to save the club from impending financial disaster We’ve got actual meetings and I’m in charge of fixing up the website at the moment.

Still knitting as much as possible. I love knitting. Somewhat unusual for me.. I am working on two projects at the same time. I’m still working on my second sweater, and now a pair of socks too. I’ve finished one sock and now past the heel on the second. Unfortunately they are too small for me! I have learned a lot.

Unpictured stuff:

  • As usual Scott is very busy with all of his sports. He’s been playing a lot of lawn bowls, hockey, running, garage gymming, and pickleball.
  • I asked Sophie to come out for dinner with me because Scott was being too healthy. We had laksa and a nice catch up.