Rosemarie requested that I write about PBs, books I read, new board game reviews, and favourite recipes of 2019, so here I go…

PBs: snatch 41 kg -> 46 kg (in training), clean & jerk 49 kg -> 54 kg. The bigger accomplishment has been fixing my back enough that I can do all movements again! I think my PB potential is very good for 2020.

Books (TBH I’m not sure if I read these in 2019 or earlier but here are the last few books I read):

  • How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie – some of the chapters at the beginning were useful but then it got a bit too religious to me
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt – a long one!! About the lives of a few students. I love really long detailed books if the story/characters/world is interesting
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – again, a pretty long one about a boy who loses his mom and ends up with a priceless painting. They made a movie of it but the book is better
  • This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel – about a boy who wants to be a girl, and a family that loves her. A nice book
  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman – pretty much the male version of Don Tillman from the Rosie Project, entertaining
  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – in my opinion it’s a corny book about racism written by a white lady for white ladies. :/ I guess that’s better than no book about racism?

New Board Games:

  • Drop It – a very simple but fun game where you try to drop pieces into the right spots to score lots of points
  • Azul – very easy game to teach people, can get brutal when you get stuck with tons of extra pieces
  • 7 Wonders Expansions – fun on the ipad but a bit too much to keep track of irl
  • 7 Wonders Duel – my very favourite two player game, I’m still not tired of it 10/10
  • Agricola All Creatures Big and Small – ok two player Agricola spin-off
  • Camel Up – fun light game, everyone loves the gimicky dice rolling pyramid and the KRAZY KAMELS
  • Jaipur – two player camel betting card game that we got for Christmas… first impressions are good, Scott likes it a lot
  • Puerto Rico – not as hard as Agricola, kinda fun that you get to do stuff even when it’s not your turn
  • Sagrada – quite simple game with NINETY dice, tricky fun
  • Terraforming Mars – very complicated game with lots of pieces, a bit hard to play well but still fun to play even when you don’t really know what’s going on

Great recipes of 2019:

Praline Almonds – I used the recipe in my ice cream book but it’s basically the same as this (except I used almonds). This was one of the craziest things I’ve ever cooked! It magically goes from a pot of watery almonds to a pot of sandy almonds to a pot of candy almonds. Sprinkled with a bit of salt… so delicious.

No Knead Bread in the cast iron pot – so easy!!! I use this recipe. I did try whole wheat once but it didn’t turn out as delicious as pure white.

Dutch Baby! – so visually spectacular, so easy! I’ve made sweet ones with fruit and ice cream toppings, and also savoury ones with smoked salmon, rocket and parmesan. This is my go-to sweet recipe.

Fish Tacos – Coles just started selling corn tortillas so we can make delicious tacos at home, like this easy Pinch of Yum recipe. I’ve made it with basa or shrimp. I love the garlicky sauce.

Adventures:

We didn’t leave the country in 2019. Actually we barely took any days off at all. The good news is we have enough holiday to go to North America in May 2020 AND possibly Fiji for our 10 (!!) year anniversary later in the year too! 2020 is gonna be gooooooood.

We did check out some new places in Victoria/Australia, here are a few highlights:

A very windy 90 Mile Beach in Gippsland.

A relaxing and fun few days of camping/day hiking at Wilson’s Prom.

On platypus watch in the Otways.

Day off at the Peninsula Hot Springs.

Whale watching on North Stradbroke Island.

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. 

MORE: art, friends, gains, nice food, pictures

LESS: worrying, Picross

November #SMAJ was going out for dinner at Ped’s Kafe. I was supposed to do active recovery that day so we were going to walk there but then it started to rain. Boo. Dinner was good though.

Son in law eggs. Deep fried eggs with tamarind sauce and crispy fried shallots. They were a bit strange… I thought the egg would have some kind of coating, and then deep fried like a scotch egg, but it was literally a deep fried hard boiled egg. Quite difficult to eat.

Super delicious roti with peanut sauce. Crispy chewy buttery perfect roti. Pretty much everything you dream roti to be.

Coconut rice and beef massaman curry. The slow cooked beef was soooooo tender and so delicious. It also had roasted cashews, potatos and crispy shallots on top. The broth was super delicious. We mopped it up with roti and rice. YUM.

Everything was very extravagantly presented. I would really like to go back and try more because that curry was amazing and I feel like all the others would be quite good as well. And you can bring your own wine. Skip the eggs though.

Ped's Kafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Like last year, and the year before, Scott put together a DIY cider advent calendar for me. I think it was pretty hard to find new ones but he did very well, nearly all of them were ones I hadn’t tried before.

  • Little Woody Sparkling Oaked Cider – weird taste that’s hard to describe, not bad, dry, but not something I would probably buy 7/10
  • Mr. Little Genuine Apple Cider – refreshing, not too sweet, tasty 8/10
  • Simple Cider Cox’s Orange Pippin – sour, crabappley?, weird 5/10
  • Lychee Gold – literally juice as it’s low alcohol 5/10
  • Three Oaks Cider Adelaide Hills Crushed Apple – too sweet 6/10
  • Stowford Press Apple Cider – UK type cider, a little funky, fine 7/10
  • Oranjeboom – surprisingly nice, generic but tasty apple cider taste 8/10
  • Hills Cider Tropical Sour – definitely sour, mango-y, but too much pineapple for me 6/10
  • Mr Finch Premium Apple Cider – too sweet 6/10
  • Newton’s Crisp Apple Cider – too sweet 6/10
  • Mortimers Orchard English Apple Cider – traditional English type cider, ok 6/10
  • Scape Goat Crisp Apple Cider – too sweet 6/10
  • Old Rosie – still cider, one of the better flat ciders but still meh. comes in fun giant jug. good value? 5/10

(Clearly I don’t like ciders in clear glass bottles?!)

  • Big Shed Cherry Popper – actually not very cherry-y at all? not bad 7/10
  • Bilpin Archibald Cloudy Apple Cider – tart, dry, delicious! 10/10!!
  • Treehouse Cider – nice (I’d had this one before but they changed the label) 9/10
  • Two Birds Apple Cider – noice, lady brewery! 9/10
  • Forbidden Fruit Cider Apple Berry – legit like a juice box 7/10
  • Cidre de Fouesnant Pur Jus Manoir de Kinkiz – had a cork, strong tastes, oaky, smokey, funky 6/10 (I’d had this one before but forgot to rate it so I was happy to have a second go)
  • Henry Westons Oak Aged Vintage Cider – too funky 6/10
  • Flying Fox Original Cider – tasted better in the bottle than at the cidery, ok 7/10
  • The Apple Thief Pink Lady Cider – meh 7/10
  • Nightingale Bros Alpine Cider Pink Lady Dry – very dry!! 7/10

Overall not that many high ratings… perhaps there is a reason they’re not the easiest ciders to track down. However, I gave out my first ever 10/10 so that’s a win!!

This will most likely be the last DIY cider advent calendar as I think I’ve now tasted a good portion of all the ciders in Australia! Maybe next year I’ll get something easy and store-bought, haha.

The last couple months have really revolved around trying to get a stupid house. We’ve upped our pre-approval amount, expanded our search radius, re-evaluated our criteria, checked out about 9000 apartments/villas/townhouses, but no luck so far. Some auctions go 200k over the listed price and we don’t even get a bid in, and a few times we’ve come second, which is even more heartbreaking. This weekend we inspected eight places! A few of them are good. Please cross your fingers for us.

I decided we should take a day off work to do something fun. We drove out the Peninsula Hot Springs and had a lovely time floating around in various hot tubs. I really love the cold plunge pools! It was excellent going on a weekday because it wasn’t very crowded. If anyone wants to go there please let me know because I’m down.

We went out for dinner at the Red Hill Epicurean. There are not that many places open for dinner on weeknights near the hot springs but this was still a good option. They had a nice roaring fire in the fireplace and our food was nice. We got the brisket special and a fancy margherita pizza. The crust was nice and thin and the brisket was nice and tender.

Red Hill Epicurean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I competed in a VWA Open comp. It went pretty well, I got 4 out of 6 lifts. I snatched 40/43/46x. The 43 was a 1 kg PB and the 46 was very nearly a huge PB but I stupidly let the bar drop behind me which is automatic red lights. I was very very annoyed with myself about that. I (power) cleaned and (power) jerked 50/54x/54 (1 kg PB).

Training has been pretty good lately. We’ve been re-introducing a lot of things that I stopped doing because of back pain and they’re not causing any problems this time! My main problem these days is that I’m weak AF and can’t stand things up. For example I can power clean much more than I can full clean. I have another comp in 3 weeks and then I think the plan is to not compete for a couple months and just work on all my weaknesses for a bit.

I got my hairs cut. Should have done it a long time ago tbh. Short hair is much better than a ratty ponytail.

We went to Scott’s friends house to watch the Grand Final. The game was a blow out but half time kick to kick was fun.

We made shortbread cookies dipped in white chocolate with pistachio to bring to the party. YUM. They were a hit.

I crocheted this bag. What do you think of Scott’s modelling?

Canadian election ballots are hilariously simple compared to Aussie ballots. I’m not sure our votes made it back in time. Next time I’ll get organised a lot earlier… if I’m still eligible to vote?

I decided to start practising drawing. I actually find it really hard because my hands are so shaky it’s hard to draw straight lines. I’m very curious to see if this project will make my hands get better or if it’ll just stay the same. Perhaps that will be my drawing style… wobbly.

October #SMAJ was a visit to the Cheese Festival with some of Scott’s work friends. Similarly to last year there weren’t a lot of actual cheese vendors there, but there were lots of food trucks serving cheese-centric meals. We had perogies (that weren’t really perogies imo, since instead of having potato in them they had halloumi + cranberry, vegetables, and chorizo fillings), and that pasta where they swirl the hot noodles in a cheese wheel. I enjoyed both. And we bought a lump of cheddar with those awesome crunchy bits in it.

Unpictured things:

  • Caught up with the old gang from my last job. More and more of them have also moved on. I wasn’t even there that long ago and it’s almost a completely different department.
  • Scott went to Sydney for work so we had a gym ladies night drinks at my friends house.
  • We had afternoon drinks with Scott’s work friends in Richmond. I got to eat tater tots.
  • We occasionally get the gang together for trivia.

I had a Minor Burger with a side of chips. I thought the burger was very good! The chips were ok but really really salty and in really small bits. Their house made tomato sauce was tasty.

Scott had a Redskin milkshake which he liked but I didn’t care for (I don’t like the lolly though).

Tuck Shop Take Away Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato