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.

The lunar schedule aligned with a weekend with no hockey so I booked us a weekend away in the country to attempt to do some astrophotography.

We went out for dinner at Fergusson Winery in the Yarra Valley on the way out. Good thing I made a reservation! Haha. I told Scott I reserved the whole restaurant for a truly romantic experience.

We had cured kingfish and beef carpaccio, Angus beef and confit duck. Everything was lovely except for the potato with the steak, very paste-y.

The Airbnb had a wood-fired hot tub. Like Kyla’s hot tub! They had it warm for us when we got there, so we stoked the fire and sat in it until we got too cold. We could see a bit of the milky way but by the time we got out of the hot tub it had clouded over.

The cabin was on a little farm overlooking a valley. Very scenic.

It was a cold weekend. We spent a lot of time on the deck with the heat lamp blasting, reading and knitting and crocheting. Very cozy.

I also spent the entire second day trying to heat the hot tub up again. It took FOREVER.

The lamb was only one day old!!!

Scott doing a dramatic horse rescue. The horse had hooked himself on to the fence and we knew the owner was going away that day! Scott used my advice of saying “easy” a lot (I learned that from Heartland), and managed to set him free. Good job Scott.

Trespassing (not really) to look at birds. My friend helped me identify a new to me bird: Grey Shrikethrush.

How is this comfortable for either participant?

Kind of a nice picture until you realise that they’re standing in a horse poo and their beaks are covered in poo from them digging around in it for snacks. Yum!

I don’t have any astro pics to show you. The second night was even cloudier than the first. A lot of things have to come together at the same time to be able to shoot the milky way. Especially when really don’t like staying up very late. I probably won’t have another chance until next winter, but I’ve resolved to plan a bit more ahead next year.

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.

Ridiculously late. I have so much to catch up on.

We started the month by Scott falling off the front step and spraining his ankle. We were on our way to Betty’s Burgers with his parents for his dad’s birthday, which we still went to (I drove), but when Scott couldn’t walk back to the car afterwards we knew something was really wrong. I dropped him off at Monash ED and he found out he had an avulsion fracture, which is treated like a very bad sprain. It took him quite a while to recover from that. He was most sad about not being able to do all his weekly sports.

We went to the Melbourne v Collingwood game on Queen’s Birthday. Nice crowds and sunset, but Melbourne lost and that part wasn’t that fun.

We also went to the Melbourne v Brisbane game at the MCG with cousin Shaun and his family. Maybe you can tell from our faces who enjoyed it more.

Our June SMAJ activity was portrait painting and charcuterie. It was silly and fun. I accidentally painted a very smug version of Scott and I couldn’t fix it. It really makes me laugh every time I see it.

We drove really far North one night to try Dingo Ate My Taco birria tacos. I loved them. Would eat again but hopefully closer.

We went out for pizza at Deep End with Sophie and Joel. It was all of our first time trying deep dish pizza, which we found ok but maybe a bit… wet. If I was going to have it again I would order one that didn’t have vegetables in it and maybe that would be better. We also had a Detroit-style pizza which I enjoyed more. It was like pizza made on delicious oily focaccia.

On the way home from the restaurant Scott got pulled over. We were very surprised because he hadn’t done anything sketchy. But turned out his license had been suspended for like 3 months because of a pending medical check that he never received notice for. Thankfully Scott doesn’t drink so he blew a 0 breath test and they let me drive home instead of impounding the car.

It took a week or so to get that sorted out before he could drive again! It’s all because VicRoads know he has sleep apnea and now apparently he has to get a doctors note every couple years. Such a pain.

Scott’s ankle was finally good enough to play hockey again but the poor guy wasn’t allowed to drive. So I drove him all the way to Reservoir and attempted to take a few pictures while I was there. It was not the most interesting hockey I have ever seen…

My next knitting project after the scarf was this basketweave headband. It was originally going to be a bag type thing but I got pretty bored of it.

I was making overnight pizza dough but our house is freaking freezing in the winter and our oven light was burnt out. I couldn’t think of anywhere warm to let the dough rise so I took it to bed with me and my electric blanket. Worked perfectly.

A super rich slow cooked beef stroganoff. Love how tender cheap beef becomes if you cook it for long enough. This was extremely delicious and made about 10 servings so I was able to freeze some for later, which Future Katrina was very pleased about.

A deconstructed chicken shawarma and garlic potatoes. Needs pickled turnip.

Unpictured things:

  • I pulled off a minor unintentional vacuum repair scam and managed to get our vacuum repaired for $30 instead of the $400 the dude was quoting.
  • Trivia in Knox with Ash and Charlie with very strange service from the bar staff.
  • A free screening of Jurassic Park Dominion care of our mortgage brokers. Terrible movie but excellent (free) snacks.
  • An amazing pizza brunch party at Naomi’s with the old EH gang. Her new house is amazing.
  • Saw Top Gun: Maverick and really enjoyed it!!! It was like a movie version of a roller coaster. Very exhilarating. If you want to know what sliding skeleton in Whistler feels like, watch the valley sequence of the movie.. I’ve never heard anyone else describe the feeling before, outside of skeleton. So fun.
  • Bach and I helped Doreen compete at Victorian Masters Championships. I loaded her warm ups for her and tried to make her sit still and rest (very difficult).
  • Scott started his new job. He has more support in this job and doesn’t have to do as much of the annoying things like spending hours on the phone with Telstra. He is also doing less work in the evening. He seems overall happier!

July was… variable. It started off ok, everything was open and no restrictions, then lockdown #5 happened, and then it ended again. We are certainly learning that there is no point of planning ahead, and definitely don’t procrastinate anything. Do everything you can NOW, because the rules might change a few hours later.

Poutine on Canada Day at the Catfish with my internet friends. I didn’t feel great about celebrating Canada Day, but… I really wanted poutine. :P (Cheese curds are illegal in Australia.) The cheese was good but the chips were too thin. I can theoretically make cheese curds at home now though so there will be more poutine in my future.

Had a few friends over for my birthday. We introduced everyone to crokinole.. it was a hit. Also played Wits and Wagers and ate tons of snacks and acted silly. I had fun.

Can you tell that the family got me a new lens for my camera?

I went on a photo walk with my internet friends. We didn’t plan it well, so ended just wandering around aimlessly taking pictures of random stuff in the city, mainly Chinatown. It was good practice for me.

Fun with longer exposures.

More games! We finally got to have friends over to play boardgames again. We made pulled pork and slaw and taught them Lords of Waterdeep. We had to use the expansions so that all six of us could play and it took 5ever but it was fun!

Mischa made us a beautiful loaf of sourdough. It was professional quality.

Then we went to Pyalong, which I blogged about already. The night we got back we went to trivia for Ash’s birthday/our anniversary, and then the next day we got put back in lockdown for two weeks. Sigh.

Backyard currawong.
Driveway berries. Anyone know what these are? They are pretty.

Delivery treats! I’ve been wanting to try Black Star Pastry ever since Jess told us about it ages ago, but it was only in Sydney. Then they opened in St Kilda, but only at funny hours. Then they had a pop up delivery event so we ordered their famous Strawberry Watermelon Cake, the Raspberry Lychee Cake, and the Chocolate Mirage Cake.

To be honest, we didn’t like it that much. They were TOO light. Mostly cream and flowers. The watermelon cake probably tastes better in the summer when watermelon is in season, because at the moment it was kind of bland. The chocolate one was good but not life-changing. I would prefer to have our wedding cake from Ganache instead.

Glad I got to try it but probably won’t go back.

I ordered us a hotpot feast from Little Hot Pot Heroes for a treat dinner. It came with the pot setup, broth, all the ingredients, 7 types of banchan and some drinks. I got an extra broth so we can make our own soup next time. It was a fun activity and pretty tasty. I liked everything except the rectangle ham pieces.

Does anyone know what type of banchan this is? It was super crunchy, like much more crunchy than cabbage. I loved it.

I accidentally bought these masks with stupid phrases on them. They were folded and had a sticker on the package so I thought they were just plain. :( I literally yelled out loud when I took them out of the package.

So I attempted to terrazzo them with acrylic paint and textile medium. I think they turned out ok, at least somewhat wearable. Unfortunately when I washed them some of the paint came off of the parts with letters underneath so they’re not perfect. Oh well. Still better than “SMILES ARE CONTAGIOUS”. Cringe.

No pictures but lockdown #5 lifted right in time and we were very lucky to be able to have more than ten guests for Scott’s Nana Jean’s funeral. They had a nice funeral service and then the close family went out for lunch afterwards. It wasn’t a good occasion but it was nice to see everyone, like a sad Christmas.

Afterwards Scott and I squeezed in a quick walk at Birdsland where we saw lots of purple swamphens, ducks, bronzewings, and a darter. Then I went to training and then out for a Vietnamese feast with my weightlifting friends. It was a very big and exhausting day.

Unpictured things/things rolling over into August:

  • The Olympics started and I became a professional Olympics viewer. I watched SO MANY SPORTS. Including, all of the weightlifting, gymnastics, athletics, trampoline, track cycling, BMX, skateboarding, sport climbing, diving and tons more that I am forgetting.
  • I screwed up my elbow and now I have to do weird rehab like things with weights dangling on rubber bands.
  • I trained terribly during lockdown #5. I wanted to cry many many times. Thankfully for the first time ever they re-opened gyms right away when lockdown finished, so I got to go back for a glorious FIVE SESSIONS before lockdown #6 started. :/
  • We went to Braz and Lisanne’s going away party. They are moving back to Canada. :(