We were supposed to spend the first half of June in the Northern Territory and South Australia, but ended up being restricted to a 5km radius from our house instead. Lockdown 4.0. So the month started off pretty bad, but I tried to make the most of it.

Instead of watching the Melbourne Demons vs Brisbane Lions game at Traegar Park in Alice Springs, NT, we watched it at home in our freezing house. :'( Dees won though. And we had delicious sushi bowls.

I had two weeks booked off work but cancelled the first week and worked instead. We were in strict lockdown so there wasn’t much I could do anyway. I actually got pretty depressed. It was just extremely frustrating that I was back at work, not on holiday, couldn’t reschedule the holiday, couldn’t go to the gym, couldn’t plan my training, couldn’t see my friends, couldn’t look forward to anything.

So I decided I needed a project.

I used that quiet week at work to plan and gather supplies for the following week.

My Saturday gym sessions currently have two exercises from blocks: block snatch and block cleans. I am very lucky that I can train in our garage, but I didn’t have blocks, which meant that I have to do the exercises from a hang position instead. I HATE HANG SNATCHES SO MUCH. Enough that I decided that I wanted to make my own blocks for home.

Originally I was going to make very simple criss-cross ones like I’d seen on the internet, but 1) I wanted to them to have two height options, and 2) I calculated that it would need around $150 worth of wood. So I emailed dad to ask if I could make them without the center supports because I don’t actually lift that much weight. He wrote back with a few questions and then 24 hours later he’d made me a brand new design in OpenSCAD! I could edit the dimensions to what is available here and it even generated a list of supplies. Very cool. Thanks dad. The new plan only used about $70 of wood!

It took me three afternoons to put them together, but I honestly found it very satisfying (other than stripped screws, which was remedied by replacing my screwdriver bit). I had fun using my new drop saw and circular saw, and didn’t even lose any fingers. Thanks dad for reminding me of when mom had to go to the hospital after a drop saw accident at the cottage AFTER I had finished cutting all of the pieces.

They work great! They nestle together perfectly and they don’t bounce or move at all. I’m very happy. I’ll probably add strips on the top to stop the bar from rolling off when I’m not holding it. I only used them one time so far though because the gym re-opened the next week lol. But there is covid in NSW at the moment so it’s probably just a matter of time before we are back in lockdown again. :/

Hide The Pain Harold Katrina.

If you’re in lockdown and don’t bake bread, DID YOU EVEN LOCKDOWN?

I made this bread with leftover whey instead of water, because the internet told me you could do that. But it tasted weird, I don’t think I would do it again. Or at least I would use 1/2 whey and 1/2 water.

Another lockdown cooking project: beef bourguignon. It took 3 days!!! And an entire bottle of wine!!! But it was dang delicious, and made like 8 servings, so in the end I think it was worth it.

One very good piece of news was that my citizenship test didn’t get cancelled. At that point we were allowed to go 25km from home and I guess they decided that it was essential enough that they could let the immigration officers work in the office.

They told me it would take 2 hours, and I had to bring in all sorts of documents. But the dude only asked for my passport and drivers license and I was out of there in 15 minutes, including doing the test TWO TIMES… because I failed the first time….. OOPS. (I got 95% but I failed one of the essential questions because apparently I am a monarchist. I got 100% the second time btw.)

So I spent a couple hours wandering the quiet city with my camera. I went to the Lululemon outlet, got bubble tea, borek, and popped into a whole bunch of shops too. It’s a good thing I didn’t get covid because my exposure site list would have been very long, haha. Most of my pictures didn’t turn out very well. I am definitely still learning how to use my camera.

I only heard about Pound Bend near the end of the summer, so when Easter Saturday was supposed to be a freakishly hot day we knew it was the last chance to try it this year. The air was warm but the water was SO COLD. It takes a good 3 to 4 hours to float around so while I was OK up on the inflatable pizza, Scott was freezing his butt off on the water hammock. Plus some parts are quite shallow so he was also bashing his butt on rocks. It was fun for a couple hours but then became way too long.

We finally had a board game night with friends. Michael and Gina made an EPIC wonton feast!! It was soooo good. We played Tiny Towns, with hilariously bad results by some. I think Michael’s final score was NEGATIVE ONE in his first game hahahaha. (He did much better in the second game btw.) It is totally different experience playing with six people instead of 2 or 3.

We heard that our favourite game store was selling crokinole boards and were pretty much like START THE CAR, LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!! What a fun game. RIP everyone’s fingernails.

I competed in another weightlifting comp. I did snatch: 44/47/49x, and C&J: 52/55/58x. The 47kg and 55kg were equal comp PBs, which together gave me a 1kg total PB. I have never even tried anything heavier than those, even in training, which freaked me out a bit, but those third attempts went better than I expected. Hopefully I can get them next time.

Volunteering at State Champs. It was nice to see some good lifting in real life again. Maybe some day I will qualify. Maybe.

Endless bike drama. Prepping to ship my bike back so they could try to fix the bent back wheel.

I finally got to the framing shop and framed my Escher cross stitch, and the print we bought in Tofino, BC in 2015. I’ll try to take better pictures of the cross stitch soon. It is gigantic!! I need to research what’s the best way to do that with my fancy camera. Little peek of our new couches there too! We finally got them, after buying them in Boxing Day sales!!

Unpictured things:

  • Many family meals. Dinner at Brett’s, Easter brunch at Jemma’s, Noah’s 16th birthday lunch. It was nice being able to see everyone again after barely seeing them the year before.
  • We played Ticket to Ride online with MEP and Paul and I didn’t even win.
  • Went out for a dumpling lunch with my internet friends. Loooove having dumplings in a big group so you get to eat ALL THE THINGS.

Traditional New Years Day dip in the ocean. Beautiful day this year. And not too busy, probably because a nearby restaurant was deemed a covid hot spot a couple days before.

Ben Folds with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. This concert was supposed to happen March 2020! Luckily Ben just stayed in Australia the whole year so we still got to see him, eventually! We got REALLY good seats. The website wasn’t working during pre-sale so Scott tried calling the box office and he got second/third row! (They only used every second row of the theatre and also put two empty seats between each group, so everyone was suuuuper spread out.)

The orchestra was very cool. So much to look at and listen to. Ben was chatty like usual. The singalong songs didn’t work very well though with so few people.

January SMAJ was an intro to pottery class. Jemma came too. It was very fun! And challenging! Scott was the best at it, he made a bowl and a cup. I made two soy sauce dishes and Jemma made a bowl type dish.

I actually got to go pick them up this weekend. I was super surprised at how much they shrank, everything is so tiny. Scott and I have signed up for a 6 week term so there will be more, hopefully larger, pottery coming in the future!

I went to a crafternoon with my new internet friends (some overlap with old internet friends) and got Ash to re-teach me how to join granny squares together. After literally years of procrastinating, I finally attached all the squares that Scott and I made into an actual blanket shape. I plan on putting a black border around it, but that will be a winter project as it’s not pleasant to crochet in summer.

Unpictured:

  • I went to another meetup with those internet friends at a bowls club and tried lawn bowling for the first time. I wasn’t great at it, but it was a fun activity. It was nice to meet some new people, and see my old trivia friends again after over a year.
  • Speaking of bowls, Scott has gotten very involved with our local bowls club. He’s played in a few games now and they’ve won every one!
  • He is also back playing basketball, and doing hockey lessons, and subbing for futsal every once and a while. I’m glad he’s having fun outside the house and also I’m enjoying my Katrina-time.
  • I did a weightlifting competition around Australia Day. I was worried that I used up all my PBs at the Christmas comp only a few weeks before, but still managed to get a solid snatch PB and maintain the same total.
  • A bunch of the weightlifting ladies went out for drinks that evening and I had more drinks in one night than I’ve had in the last six months combined lol. (Four.) Interesting how easy it is to slip right back into old habits, especially with things like HAPPY HOUR! It was a fun night even if it took 2 nights to get my overnight recovery levels back to normal.
  • We went to the pool on a hot day and I got a bathing suit tan after 5pm. Insane.
  • We did one of MEPs online Rotary trivia events with Rose and dad, and Scott and I won!! We won movie vouchers… which we sent on to dad.
  • I went down to 4 days a week at work and it is GREAT. I truly love it.
  • Couple family meals/visits with Scott’s parents and nana.

Oh yeah Melbourne had a Snap Lockdown for 5 days because of some covid cases that got out of hotel quarantine. They put us right back on to the strictest lockdown level where you only got 2 hours of outdoor time, 5km radius, can only leave the house for 4 reasons, everything non-essential shut, etc. I didn’t have much planned that weekend anyway, and still went to work, so it didn’t affect me that much other than having to do a few training sessions back in the garage, but Scott had a few things cancelled. And it sure ruined poor Jill’s trip to Melbourne.

It worked though, we never had more than ~6 new cases/day and it all cleared up within a few more days. We’ve been back down to 0 cases/day for a while now, and the active cases are pretty much gone again, so we can go about life without having to worry too much.

PS curling >>> lawn bowls

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.

How we spent our first lockdown. (Besides cooking, I’m saving that for a different post.)

Doing weird household tasks like going under the house to take a look at stuff and thread cables through the floor.

Re-learning how to use a sewing machine so my ears don’t freeze when I’m biking to work.

Finishing crochet projects that I started a year before.

Getting back into cross stitch and re-invigorating my Etsy shop.

Drawing cartoons for my weightlifting club’s newsletter: Isolation Edition.

Playing every single board game we have. I saved all of them to my Instagram stories if you’re interested. A forgotten favourite was Lords of Waterdeep. A forgotten loser was Tsuro of the Seas.

Doing yoga.

Crying that we didn’t get to go to Canada and having to get Rosemarie to mail us all our Arcteryx goodies.

Picking lemons. This doesn’t really fit the post but I’m just so happy with our lemon tree.

For a brief two weeks: Going out for breakfast! Going back to the gym! Having family dinner!

But then cases started going out of control again and we got put back in the strictest lockdown. :(