Way back in November 2020, after having zero covid cases for 28 days, or something like that, they finally lifted our 5km/25km radius limit and we could finally, finally get out of the city. We decided to book a little cabin in Heathcote and have a weekend away.
We tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible and ended up doing a whole bunch of very short hikes.
(Still had to wear masks everywhere.)
Bendigo Conservatory Gardens
Bendigo was quiet AF. We climbed up this tower thing where you could see out over the city. Really not much happening.
It was super hot so we stopped at a random bar for a drink. I think Scott was the only male there. Everyone looked the same.
Pink Cliffs Reserve
This place was pretty cool! I love a random geological feature!
The hike up was pretty hard with a mask on!! I was gasping for air at the top. (No picnic unfortunately.)
We had a pretty epic meal at Masons of Bendigo. We had the 6 course set menu, plus I splashed out and got the matching wines. They use lots of local ingredients. Everything was quite lovely and the service was great.
I was SO FULL and also DRUNK lol. Took me forever to fall asleep that night.
OK well I didn’t blog much this year… let’s just do a quick recap of this year and move on…..
The year started off great, we moved into our own house, went camping with friends, and training was going well leading up to the first competition of the year. We had a really nice visit with Kyla and then… everything got cancelled.
Scott had to go down to reduced work hours, and I started training alone in the cold cold garage. At first lockdown was ok, we played all the board games! Cooked all the foods! Did online trivia! Watched Ben Folds live on Youtube every weekend! Life was cozy and novel. An introverts dream.
A couple of months of lockdown worked enough that they started to relax the restrictions. We had a few weeks of freedom. Scott’s work went back to normal. We saw our friends. We had family dinner. We went out for brunch. We planned some things!
Then cases started rising exponentially and they put us in a very tough lockdown, with a 5km radius restriction and only 1 hour of outside time per day. Cases went down but they kept us locked in. For literally months. It was really hard. I definitely got depressed, especially while seeing the rest of the world frolicking around restriction-free.
Finally, finally after WEEKS of zero new covid cases, they started to let us out. We could have picnics! We could travel further than 5 km! The gym reopened!!!!!!! Cases stayed down and we went back to nearly normal life! We went to Bendigo! We went camping! We don’t have to wear masks! It’s amazing!
This December has actually felt like a normal silly season. Even though I find it really overwhelming I’m trying to do as much as possible while we can because Covid is back in Australia (in Sydney) and we still don’t have vaccine here, and who knows what’s going to happen in January. I made a list of Freedom Goals and we just checked off the last thing last week: buy a new couch (as Rosemarie put it: “we spent so long sitting that our couch was permanently saggy so we bought a couch suitable for old age“). Can’t wait for it to arrive in 19 weeks. :/
Rosemarie’s Questions From Last Year:
PBs: snatch 46 kg -> 47 kg (in the garage, where everything feels 5 kg heavier soooo….), clean & jerk 54 kg -> 55 kg…. which is also not that big of an improvement… but I actually full-cleaned it which is a major major win. I only did one competition this year, last week, without peaking, where I did 42/44/46, and 49/52/55. That was a 3 kg snatch comp PB, a 1 kg clean & jerk comp PB, and a 4 kg total PB… my first time with a 3 digit total (101 kg). Even though my numbers barely went up, I am actually very proud of what I managed to do this year, training alone in the garage for 6 months, more than 110 sessions. I have a new coach since Lockdown 2.0 and it has been working very well. Weightlifting is really good at the moment.
Books: I read a lot this year, to try and relax before bed.
The Wonder – Emma Donohue – Intriguing, couldn’t wait to find out what happens, but I thought the ending was just a bit too quick and convenient imo.
Such A Fun Age – Kiley Reid – I really liked this book. The main character was just so chill. My favourite line was “May I please have an Uber and a snack?”
This Is Going To Hurt – Adam Kay – Silly stories about being a doctor. Amusing, sometimes gave me work flashbacks.
Where The Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens – Started off very heartwarming, then got more intense, I enjoyed it.
A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara – One of those long books that follows a group of people for a very long time. At times very hard to read, made me feel super uncomfortable, but very good too.
Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney – An interesting book about affairs.
The Stand – Stephen King – Extremely long, took me 3 months to finish. The first part was pretty terrible to read during a real life pandemic. Was entertaining but didn’t change my life.
Normal People – Sally Rooney – Someone else called it a “profoundly lonely and depressing love story” and I guess I agree with that.
Hotels Of North America – Rick Moody – I don’t know who recommended this to me but I thought it was annoying.
Eggshell Skull – Bri Lee – A memoir about an Australian lady while she worked as a judge’s associate in all sorts of horrible sexual assault cases, and then her own experience in the Australian justice system
New Board Games:
Wingspan – A very pretty game about birds. We love it. We just got the Oceania expansion a couple weeks ago but I haven’t had the mental energy to try it out yet!
Orleans + Trade & Intrigue expansion – The base game is ok but it’s much better with the expansion. Unique game with little bags of tokens. I would really like to play this with 3 or 4 players
Castles of Burgundy – Fun point salad game with one billion little pieces. I forget how to play every time but once you remember it’s fun again.
Tiny Towns – Simple strategic game, the best type! We had a lot of fun playing this with Rosemarie over video chat during lockdown.
Adventures: ummmm… yeah not really. Everything got cancelled.
2019 Final Thoughts – 2019 was not the most exciting year of my life, but we put in a lot of good work to our future. We did the hard stuff of finding a house, working hard, saving, rehab… and very very soon we get to enjoy the benefits of that. I feel very good about 2020.
Last Years Goals:
More nice foods – yes, we cooked all sorts of crazy delicious things during lockdown 1.0, and also had some fantastic takeaway
More rehab – yes, had plenty of time for foam rolling
More thrift shops – nope, they were closed/I don’t go to the store ever
More art – yes, I did a lot of cross stitching, painting, cartooning
More friends – lol nope, didn’t even see my friend who lives around the corner for months because it wasn’t allowed
More pictures – nope, barely took any
Less worrying – NOPE. worried x 493879348
2020 Finals Thoughts – Super grateful that we had our own comfortable house to lockdown in. Grateful that neither of us lost our jobs. Grateful for my home gym and remote coach. Grateful that the hard work all Victorians did during the winter lockdowns paid off and we actually get to enjoy our summer Covid-free (so far). Come on vaccine. I would really like to see my family again.
Scott and I had our 10 year wedding anniversary on July 14th. Our first plan was to go to Fiji, but obviously that couldn’t happen. Then we changed our plan to a few days away in the Bendigo area, but that got cancelled when they announced Lockdown 2.0 [I thought waiting until 4 days before was low-risk enough to book an Airbnb and some fancy meals and spa stuff but no!]. Ah well. Hopefully we’ll celebrate our 11 year anniversary somewhere nice.
Instead we had a couple days off at home.
I decided there was NO BUDGET whatsoever and searched around and found out one of my all-time dream restaurants was doing fancy takeaway. What a treat!!
We started with Kinoko-no-dobinmushi, which had like a dozen different types of crazy mushrooms in a konbu dashi broth. There were three types of little vegetarian dumpling things: taro, tofu, and lotus root, an interesting green vegetable that I have no idea what it was, and some yuzu and lime. One of the mushrooms was hairy!!
Next we had Truffled teba-gyoza. This was insane. It had a perfectly gooey egg yolk (Scott thinks it was duck, as it was pretty large) wrapped in a chicken mince mixture with truffle, pancetta, shiso, somehow stuffed inside a de-boned chicken wing, which was then cooked until crispy. It was so rich and tasty. I don’t know how they did it, you couldn’t see any seams!
Then the main event, Chirashizushi (for two). It had 50 million tiny pieces of absolutely perfect fish on top of a bed of sushi rice and egg slivers. According to the menu we had o-toro, engawa, prawn, tamago, ikura, tuna, trout, Hokkaido scallops, anago, nori, kinshi tamago, cucumber, shiitake, kanpyo and bamboo shoot.
The highlights were the incredibly buttery torched engawa and the super sweet and tender scallops, but honestly every bit of it was amazing. Even the pickled ginger that came with it was extra delicious.
For dessert I chose the Otona banana, which had a Japanese whisky infused banana pureé, Okinanwan black sugar and miso butterscotch, crispy wafer pieces, roll cake layers, fresh banana and vanilla custard. I usually only eat bananas for convenience… but I still loved this. Everything was super smooth and not over the top sweet.
Scott had the Matcha Pudding Parfait. It had matcha pudding, sponge and syrup, adzuki beans, strawberries, raspberry sauce, kanten jelly, mochi and whipped cream. It was very earthy. Scott liked it a lot.
All in all, one of the best meals we’ve ever had, and a very fun at-home experience. Happy anniversary to us!
One kinda cool thing about lockdown life has been all the new takeaway options. Fancy places doing cheaper takeaway, where you might have to do a little assembly at home. After weeks of not going anywhere we decided to treat ourselves with Attica at Home, somewhere we probably wouldn’t get to go to normally.
A Simple Dish of Potato Cooked in the Earth it Was Grown – a very tender potato with a tart curd and saltbush.
The Dish That Saved Attica aka Spice Crusted Lamb Shoulder – a verrry tender piece of lamb with some greens and a super rich puree.
Plight of the Bees: Trifle Version – a fairly basic trifle with very smooth cream, cake, raspberries etc.
Baby Holy Goat ‘La Luna’ cheese served with Baker Bleu ficelle and fresh honeycomb – really delicious creamy cheese with suuuuuper chewy rolls, with a delicious hunk of gooey honeycomb.
Cocktail Selection: one sweet, one dry.
Everything was quite nice. We loved the lamb and puree the most, and the cheese was sooooo good. Everything was pretty small so I’m glad I added the extra cheese course. The trifle was the least special part of the meal but it was still fine.
“It’s Getting Hot In Here” (tequila, jalapeno syrup, mango & lemon). Pretty spicy!
Taco Tuesday $5 tacos.
I had a fish taco (with papaya slaw and jalapeno salsa) and a shrimp taco (with pickled onion, pico, sour cream and guac). Scott had a beef taco (with lettuce, cheese, pickled onion and bbq sauce) and a pork taco (with pickled vegetables, mayo, pineapple and pico).
The fish was the best part, it was so crispy and delicious. They were ok value for $5 each on Taco Tuesday but on the regular menu they were ~$15 each!!! That would be outrageously because I could very easily eat 3 for a full meal. We wondered if they make them bigger on regular days?