Eventually we got let out.

Out for 50% off burgers and Gelato Messina on Chaps.

Eileen, Dika, and Brenna were competing in an online competition at Phoenix, so I went to watch and also try to take pictures. It was a bit difficult with the lens I have, but I got a few cool ones. I love the placement of the mural in this one. Eileen is always awesome to watch. And Dika is about to go to her FIFTH Olympics!!! Incredible!

Scott enjoying a sunny backyard coffee in his handcrafted mug.

A decent winter harvest. We still have snow peas, cauliflower, more broccoli, more carrots, cilantro, and spinach growing, slowly, at the moment.

We went skating for a #SMAJ activity. Scott has gotten a lot better at skating since last time I saw him, he is much faster. He still needs to work on backwards skating and trusting his edges.

We went to Lysterfield Lake to try and find Swift Parrots, an endangered bird that breeds in Tasmania and migrates north in the winter. Unfortunately we ran out of time and didn’t find any. My ecologist friend said that the kids in the BMX park were scaring them away all weekend too.

We did find a couple Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo. We crashed around in the bush trying to get close enough to get a picture with my not-very-zoom lens. This picture actually looked terrible on my camera, it was totally just a silhouette, but because I shot it in raw, I was able to use Lightroom to turn up the brightness and all the features appeared like magic!! Cool!

Once the sun started to set we headed to Jemma’s for dinner. Myles was being a crazy boy!! This is him playing Cooking Mama. Can’t remember if this was pre- or post- him splitting his lip open by smashing face first into the arm of the couch.

Scott and I ordered wayyy too much food at Kimchi Grandma in Carnegie. I was so excited, it felt like we were back in Korea. We got goon-mahn-doo (pork and vegetable dumplings) and hae-mul chon-gol (seafood casserole with squid, octopus, prawn, pipi, ling fillet, bean curd, and mixed vegetables) plus banchan cuz why not. The stew got better and better as it simmered on our table. It was exciting digging around in it to find more seafood surprises underneath the surface. It was definitely meant for 3 or 4 people.

Kimchi Grandma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pretty sure that’s the exact dish that Rosemarie and I refused to eat in NYC back in 2002. I have memories of a tentacle flipping over in the pot as the clams opened up at the table in front of us, and a waitress coming over with a pair of scissors to cut things up. All we would eat was rice and the edges of the Korean pancake that didn’t have any bits in it. Man how my tastes have changed since then!!

Sophie invited me out for dinner at Dragon Hot Pot, a place where you pick out all your soup ingredients from the fridges, they weigh it, and then cook it up in a delicious broth of your choice. Fun! I really liked mine, although I put too much. Next time I know I only need about 400g of ingredients and it will be a nice cheap meal.

Unpictured things:

  • I got my 2nd Astra Zeneca jab. I had zero noticeable side effects, I even went to training that evening and the next morning. But interestingly my watch told me I only recovered 50% that night, when normally I get back up to 100%. Kind of the same as if I had alcohol, but I hadn’t had any. I dunno, I found this interesting.
  • Scott is playing hockey again and loving it.
  • They kept the gyms closed one more week than they should have, imo. At one point I could go to dinner with my weightlifting friends and sit close together with no masks on for as long as we wanted, but couldn’t go train at the gym where we use barbells that automatically keep people away from each other.

This post has too many pictures of Scott.

There’s this really cute Japanese-Korean restaurant near our house. We first noticed it because it was always still really busy on our way home from family dinner (RIP family dinner) at like 9pm on Sunday nights.

They’ve got laminated menus and a dude cooking everything on a tiny stove, it’s cozy inside, and the waitress was very… honest. We’ll definitely go back.

Salmon sashimi daily special. I love salmon so much.

Seafood korean pancake. Very generous with the seafood, every piece had a big chunk of prawn, oyster, or squid.

Scott had spicy bbq lamb chops. They weren’t super flavourful but he still enjoyed his meal.

Alcoholic Calpico from their convenience store next door. I didn’t know what it was going to be. The guy assured me it wasn’t beer. Tasted great!

Cafe Carpenter Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

Trentham Falls

(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!

Hanging Rock

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.

Masons of Bendigo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

Great New Recipes: enh I already posted about the fun things we cooked in Lockdown 1.0, and after that I got depressed and pretty much only made 10 minute simple dinners.

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

LOL.

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.

Goals For Next Year:

Whatever man. Just survive.

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!

Minamishima Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato