Tag Archives: Ice climbing

Feeling Zippy

Itchy head after wearing a helmet all day.

I woke up this morning feeling refreshed, rested, non-headachy, and ready for adventure1. Fortunately for me, adventure was exactly what this doctor had on order. Specifically, adventure in the form of zip-lining with Rick and Jasper2.

The morning started off with a trip to Starbucks (of course) for go-go juice and a lunch order. It may or may not have also included banana chocolate chip muffins, because zip-lining demands such sugary treats. After purchasing the necessary fares we were off to Elora, and before long we were strapping into our safety gear, putting on our helmets, setting our figure eight clips, and learning the ins and outs of rappelling down the side of a cliff.

Apart from the different equipment and knots, this was all very old-hat for Rick and me as we’d learned how to do this during our caving and our ice-climbing adventures. Regardless, being good students we paid close attention. Rick was the first victim over the edge, and as always, he made everything look easy. Jerk. Ha! After a guided rappel each, we were allowed to venture over the cliff on our own. Good times.

Flying through the air. W00t!

Once everyone was comfortable controlling the speed of descent and proving they could handle stopping should they need to, we moved on to the zip-line area. It wasn’t long before we were strapped in and taking a giant running leap off the cliff. The zip-line had us flying across the gorge and over the raging3 river below. Awesome.

Our zip was set to automatically stop three-quarters of the way across the gorge. This allowed for some excellent views of the river below and the scenery around us. Once we were ready, we had a controlled rappel to the river – stopping about 2ft above the water. Definitely an excellent experience given that the waters were quite muddy, raging, and threatening enough to pull us quickly downstream should we actually fall in.

After chatting with our instructor Kevin, Jasper, Rick and I have decided that we are going to try to organize another adventure with him. This time however will be another caving adventure later in the fall.

Because what’s a grand adventure if it doesn’t end with plans for more adventuring?

1 It’s amazing what a few hours of sleep and a headache curing kitty named Elliot will do for me.

2 I’d say that this makes our zip-lining adventure an unofficial meeting of Nerd Caucus. However, with only three of us there, I’m not sure we can say that quorum was achieved. I’ll have to check our charter.

3 Thanks to all of the recent rain.

The Shenaniganning Continues

This is how we plan.

Sometime last year – early November to be somewhat more specific – I received a text from Rick about a new and wonderful adventure.

That adventure was ice-climbing.

On receiving the text, it took me all of about a millisecond to respond with a resounding hells ya.

Well, flash forward a few months – basically just far enough to be a few weeks ago. Rick mentioned to me in an email that he and his family were going to be doing some adventuring once he makes his way back to Ontario for the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canadain June.

Despite the fact that Rick and I have also planned our own sets of adventures beyond what he’s going to be doing with his family2, I was still the teensiest bit jealous of the adventuring they were going to do. In fact, I may have had a minor pity party as I sat in my office and pouted. Then I realized that Rick should have time with his family and I was just being a big stupid baby. And big stupid babies are the stupidest of all big babies. I did not want to be a big stupid baby.

And then something work related happened, and I completely forgot about Rick’s family adventure.

This is going to happen.

Until today, when I received an email from Rick outlining the details of his family day-o-adventure. But this wasn’t an email to brag or to punch me in the face with his awesomeness – this was an email to inform me about when I should be booking if I decided to join in on the fun.

As if I had to decide. The decision was made before I had even finished reading the email.

I beamed. After calming myself, I sent him a quick text to make sure it was okay to tag along on a family adventure3. Thankfully, his brother Ryan was the one who opened up the adventure to non-family members, so Rick assured me that it was fine. And that was all it took to remove any sense of intrusion from my mind.

Within several minutes, I was on the phone with visa in hand. Several minutes after that my reservation was set. Because that’s how we plan things – an adventure is found, and everything after that just sort of happens without too much thought or effort. And I love that about our adventures.

So there you have it, dear readers. You now have the story of how I managed to book my next skydiving adventure with Rick- June 8th to be exact – the sky is the limit, and I can’t freaking wait.

1 Also known as nerdfest 2012.

Such as zip-lining5, and hopefully the CN Tower Edge Walk6.

I’m guessing that the lag between email, calming myself, and texting Rick was no more than 2 seconds.

Satisfying item #183 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Satisfying item #20 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Satisfying item #201 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

How I Learned To Hump Ice

Getting my game face on. That, or I've lost my mind due to the influence of winter.

Apparently it’s all in the way you move your hips, or so Thomas our ice-climbing instructor would have us believe. And, as with most of the things he told us today, we quickly learned that he was correct.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Our morning started early. A 6am wake up call had Rick and me up organizing our gear for the day long adventure outside of Calgary to master the fine art of climbing ice. To say that we were both stoked would be an understatement. But we couldn’t let the excitement of the day distract us from the tasks at hand: dressing warmly, packing extra clothes, extra hats and mitts, food, water, and the like.

Starting out trek out to the ice wall

We left the house at 6:45 on our way to Starbucks (which will come as no surprise if anyone has ever read anything about my adventures with Rick), and then to pick up our friend Sanjay before heading to Kings Creek, just off the Kananaskis Trail.

We met with the rest of our group, loaded up our packs and then started the 25 or so odd minute hike to the foot of the frozen waterfalls that we would be climbing. The hike itself was spectacular. The scenery was, as expected, breathtaking. And while the day had started off foggy and grey, the sky had cleared and made the views that much more incredible.

Thomas, our guide, walked us through the necessary steps in getting prepared; getting our crampons on1, and then walking with said crampons. He led us through some preliminaries including the optimal standing position when the toe picks were in the ice – specifically with our heels down so that the weight of our bodies ensured the picks wouldn’t slip. Having mastered that, we moved on to traversing the ice wall while holding onto ice-axes that he had strategically placed. And then things got interesting. Because apparently just traversing isn’t enough – you have to do it with style.

Powerful pose, or butt posturing for ice humping? You decide.

And that style, dear readers, is the fine fine art of humping ice2. Essentially there are two major positions that one must master when climbing ice. The first position is for moving one’s feet left, right, or up. The second position is for moving the ice-axes.

To move left, right, or up, one starts by sticking their butts out from the wall of ice – as if you’re showing it off for the world to see. Arms should be perfectly straight – hands holding the base of the ice-axes. It actually looks very much like a yoga pose known as powerful pose – although on the side of an ice wall.

Photo time at the top of the ice wall. Dangerous? Perhaps. But Danger is Rick's middle name.

The other position required involves placing all the weight onto the toe picks that have been (hopefully) embedded in the ice. Knees are slightly bent and the hips are pushed into the ice. The shoulders are back. The idea is that one’s centre of gravity will prevent them from falling over.

Thomas described this as setting up a tripod with your legs and your centre of gravity against the side of the ice wall. And while it looks a little hilarious, it works. I was, once I got the hang of it, easily able to relax my upper body and let my hands release the ice-axe handles that I was so furiously gripping.

So why ice humping? That’s easy. With all of this butt posturing and hip tripod-ing, it really was a bit like humping the wall.

Having successfully ice humped my way to the top, I stop for a quick photo. Rick is in the background belaying (also known as making sure I don't fall on my ass).

Hey – I never said I was mature.

Anyway, the day was a phenomenal adventure. Apart from some cold toes and cold fingers, we survived unscathed. I’m thinking that if I try this adventure again3, I’m going to spend some time in advance converting my upper-body-strength-of-a-12-year-old-boy body to an upper-body-strength-of-at-least-a-13-year-old-boy body, because I’m definitely going to want to climb longer and higher.

And I should probably work on my butt posturing and hip tripod-ing too, because practice makes perfect, right? But I’ll do that in the privacy of my own home.

1 We had already learned the night before about the double eight knot, how to get strapped into our harnesses, and how to belay someone properly.

2 Note: Thomas never once called what we were doing “ice humping” or “humping ice”. However, we felt compelled to call it as we saw it. And we saw it as ice humping.

3 Who am I kidding, we all know I’m going to do this again.

And Away We Go

And we’re off.

Step 1: 1.5 hour drive out of Calgary (after coffee of course).

Step 2: 20 minute hike to the frozen waterfall.

Steps 3 and beyond: Be Awesome.

Rules of the day:

1. Don’t fall down.

2. Don’t drop anyone.

3. Be Awesome.

We’ve got this!

Back On Track

First post migraine run

It’s amazing what more than 5 hours of sleep will do for the body.

I know that isn’t new information to pretty much anyone, but given how little I sleep, anything beyond 5 hours is a luxury.

Last night, I awoke after sleeping for only 4.5 hours. Normally this scenario would involve me leaping out of bed to take on the day. But not today. Oh, not today. Instead, I realized hey, I’m on vacation. As such, I rolled back over and slept for another two hours.

ZOMG – more than 6 hours! Insane.

Anyway, after Rick headed to work (sucker) I took care of a few emails, wrote up some invoices, and updated my CV. After that excitement, I headed out for a few hour jaunt. The weather was crisp but very tolerable. I explored the University of Calgary campus, and managed to find my way to Starbucks for some much-needed java deliciousness. I also managed to find myself some new running clothes (on sale no less), and some running gloves.

This will be Rick and me tomorrow. W00t!

And since I picked up new running gear, it only seemed appropriate to test it out. So I headed out for my first run post migraine. And it felt great. Slippery, but great. The weather couldn’t have been better. While it wasn’t the fastest run ever, it just felt great to get out and breathe in the crisp winter air.

Beyond that, it felt great to get back to marathon training. The last week or so had been so hectic and such that I was beginning to feel rather fat and lazy. I know that neither of those were the case, however, that is how I felt. After today’s run, I’m feeling back to normal and ready to take on the world.

And good thing, because Rick is home and we are just about to head out to the orientation session for the ice climbing adventure. I’m so stoked!

The Countdown Is On


One more week until mini-vacation number 1 for 2012. I. Am. Stoked. Also,




While I know that vacation is only a week away, the next 6 days are going to be intense. But all in a very good way, of course.

Tomorrow is pretty much the same-old, same old. Marking assignments, writing papers, meetings, meetings, meetings, and then, oh yeah, more meetings.

But Saturday – that’s when things start to get crazy. I need to begin my day by running a half marathon – all part of my ongoing marathon training. I also need to prep for three full days of course material that I will be presenting to a group of nerdly government officials at the Public Health Agency of Canada between Monday and Wednesday. I also need to finish edits on two papers so that I can get them submitted before the end of the semester for peer review (thus hopefully convincing the powers-that-be that I am worthy of further paycheques). And I also need to take some time to mark assignments, prep lectures, and build a midterm. Yes – this weekend is going to be anything but restful.

And yet, all I can think about is next Thursday and hanging with Rick; vegging, eating, grabbing coffees, hiking, eating again, dinner, drinks, ice climbing, bobsledding, eating some more, and anything else that we determine warrants our time and attention.

The next few days are going to be insane, but the payoff is going to be more than worth it.

How Many Steps Back Does One Take For Being An Asshat?

Today I had to take several steps back.

How is it Sunday night already?

I honestly don’t feel like I’ve had the rest that I need given that tomorrow starts another jam packed week. Oh well, suck it up Gillis.

Don’t worry though – this isn’t a bad thing. It just means that I’ve been playing as hard as I’ve been working. And plus, in about 12 days I’ll be heading out to Calgary for my first mini vacation of the year. Of course, it’s likely not going to be overly relaxing as I am heading there to get my adventure on with Rick. Between ice climbing and bobsledding, it’s going to be awesome. And we may or may not be talking about adding a run, a concert, and dinner at The Coup into the mix. And if we are extra lucky, the Skeleton – but don’t tell my mom about that one :).

Given that I’ve been working so much I may or may not have also mentioned to Rick that I really think I need – yes need – to be continuing the trip-a-month thing (which he encouraged by suggesting a March trip to Calgary).

You may have noticed that I didn’t travel in January. I think the not-getting-away-from-everything is catching up to me. As evidence, I offer you Grumpy Dan. He doesn’t come out too often, but I know that when he does that something is up. That something is usually not taking the time to stop and smell the roses; or remembering to enjoy and cherish the people that I am fortunate to have in my life. Because sometimes I need to step back and take the time to not take things for granted, because it’s just so easy for me to do.

With this particular appearance, Grumpy Dan seemed to come out of nowhere. I was simply walking to the office today and stopped for a coffee at Starbucks. While standing in line I found myself quickly to the limits of my patience with the customers in front of me who couldn’t seem to figure out what they wanted.

Don’t they know I have somewhere to be? I thought, frustrated. What the hell is taking so long? Order a coffee, pay, and get out of my way. Clearly, I was moving from frustration and impatience to anger. Clearly, it was all about me.

Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me. Me.


And then I realized I was being a completely spoiled jackass. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t say anything or do anything about these people that were still making up their minds. But I was more annoyed than what the situation warranted. And the situation warranted absolutely zero annoyance.

And even worse, I was getting angry.

Over a line of 2 people.

Ordering coffee.

Coffee – which exists in such abundance that getting annoyed over it is probably one of the most ridiculously stupid things I could do. So then I found myself even more annoyed for being annoyed with the people in front of me who were hopefully, thankfully, and blissfully unawares that I was being such a complete self-centered asshat. And I was also annoyed that I was allowing myself to get angry over something so unimportant.

Realizing all of this, I took a moment to take a couple of really deep breaths. As I left Starbucks, I slowed my pace, and just tried to think of all the awesome things in my life. I took a moment to think about certain friends who are going through such painful things right now, and how selfish I was being standing in line getting angry over nothing. And I remembered how lucky I am to have so many amazing people in my life.

I have to remind myself to do this more frequently.

And as I walked to the office, I realized that I haven’t been taking enough time recently to just stop. I’ve been working a lot – which I’ve been loving – but I still need to take the time to just stop. And breathe. And reflect. Because it’s far too easy to get caught up in the day-to-days, and the data, and the reports, and the write-this, edit-that, the lessons, the should-haves, the would-haves, the could-haves, and all the other things that I fill my time with. Yes, I love all of these things that I do, but if I don’t take the time to stop and enjoy them, then I’m not feeding that part of me that needs to be fed. I’m simply a drone, day-to-day’ing, hypnotized by the white-noise that is the sound of my life passing by. And if I just stop for a second and listen, I always find that there is this incredible symphony going on around me. I just have to stop and listen.

So tonight, I’m just sitting here scratching behind Elliot’s ears, sipping a coffee, and enjoying some chocolate. Because despite all the work that I have to do, I much prefer if Grumpy Dan takes an extended vacation. And since Grumpy Dan seems to disappear whenever Happy Dan goes adventuring, I’ve decided that my monthly trips are back on. Because they have a way of keeping me centered. They remind me to stop and listen, and enjoy the life that I am so lucky to have.

And that’s worth more than all of the coffee in the world.

The Shenanigan Filled Adventuring Continues

I pilfered this ugly photo from Rick's facebook. I imagine this is what I'm going to have to look at all weekend while we're climbing walls of ice and experiencing up to 5Gs on our way down the bobsled track.

And just like that, I’ve booked a February flight to Calgary.

Why would anyone go to Calgary in the middle of the winter?

Great question.

To answer that, I direct you to the following posts here and here. That’s right, The Adventures of Rick and Dan continue – this time in the form of ice-climbing and bobsledding. Because who doesn’t want to pack a weekend full of ice-climbing and bobsledding? No one, that’s who. Okay, maybe some people wouldn’t want to pack a weekend with these things, but we are clearly not some people.

I can’t wait. While the adventure is going to be awesome, it will be great to hang out with Rick. As ugly as he is1, I do love hanging out with him (aside to Rick: ZING!). And as much as it sucks that he is all the way in Alberta and I’m all the way in Ontario, it does provide the impetus to travel. And I can’t blame him for that.

Okay, maybe I can blame him for that, but in a good kind of way.

Anyway Rick, prepare yourself – our shenanigan filled adventuring continues.

1 I feel compelled to remind people that Rick is not, in fact, ugly. He is, in fact, quite the opposite and also made of 100% pure Grade A Awesome.

Happy Trip-iversary

Coffee on the lanai, listening to the waves. Best way to spend a morning.

It’s hard to believe, but over 39 thousand kilometres and 1 year ago today, Rick and I made our way to Hawaii to begin what would be one of the most amazing adventures I’ve ever been on.

Part of the craziness of the adventure was travelling with Rick. You see, up until that point we’d never travelled together. In fact, the closest we’d come to having spent a significant amount of time together was when I’d travelled to Calgary with Manon, Mark, and Nadia for my friend Karen’s wedding.

Prior to hiking up Mauna Kea. T'is a little chilly.

So you’ll understand that before the trip started I was a bit nervous. Travelling with people is very different from hanging out with them. I mean, up until that point I knew Rick was awesome. But spending 16 days together? Would I drive him insane? Would he drive me insane? We really could have been spending a lot of money to travel to paradise only to find out that we really didn’t want to spend time together, and yet were stuck together for 16 solid days.

Thankfully that wasn’t the case. Not even close. Between mountain climbing, lava fields, skydiving, helicoptering, snorkelling, lava tube exploring, awesome food, missed flights, pineapple photos, several bottles of wine, smashed faces, coffee on the lanai, and so much more, my Hawaiian adventure wouldn’t have been the same without Rick.

Rick's best jump shot. But there were so many to pick from.

The best part of the trip, beyond all of the amazing adventure, was discovering that Rick was just as adventurous, and perhaps ridiculous as me. He was also easy-going, open to sudden changes in itinerary, and completely ready to try pretty much anything. And when I needed it, he was also the voice of reason. Who knows what my face would look like today if he hadn’t insisted that I go to the hospital to get stitches, instead of using crazy glue like I had originally suggested.

After our trip, I wrote Rick to tell him how hard it was to return to reality after such an epic vacation. Part of that was due to my ever-present wanderlust. Part of that was clearly associated with missing Hawaii. But most of all, it was because I actually missed Rick.

Because the most important thing that I gained from that vacation; way more important than experiences and adventure; way more important than a much-needed break from my day-to-day life; was a much deeper friendship with Rick. And as I’ve written before, Rick truly is 100% Grade-A Awesome. I’m more than lucky to have someone like him in my life.

Drinking wine on the beach. As is necessary when in Hawaii.

Since that time we’ve been on many adventures together – mountain climbing, hiking, caving, screeing, etc. And we have more planned – ice climbing and bobsledding being the next on our always growing list of things to do. But best of all; we have a list of future adventures and shananiganning that is a mile long and constantly growing. Whether or not we get through that list doesn’t matter. The important thing is that I know he’ll be up for pretty much anything. And I also know that whatever we do, our adventures will be filled with much laughter, much joy, and much awesomeness.

So Happy Trip-iversary my friend. Thank you for all of the grand adventures. And here’s looking forward to our next adventure. I know whatever the future brings it’s going to be awesome. It can’t be anything but when it involves someone as ugly as you. ZING1!

1 FYI: For those not in the know, Rick is not actually ugly. Quite the opposite. But in order to keep his ego in check, I have to remind him that he is, in fact, uggo.

Because Ice Climbing Isn’t Adventurous Enough

image from http://www.discoverlakelouise.com/things-to-do-in-banff/banff-winter-activities

Remember back in the old-time-y days of 2011 when Rick and I had made the spontaneous decision to go ice-climbing? Well, Rick discovered a website today that listed a lot of the different activities that are available both summer and winter in the lovely province of Alberta.

While waiting for my parents, younger brother, and two of my five nieces to drop by today, I opted to peruse said website. Of course, always being on the lookout for new things to do, this gave me ideas for future adventuring with my fellow shenaniganner Rick.

Because Rick is who he is (read awesome), I immediately constructed an email to send to him that outlined the following activities (in no particular order) because I knew he’d likely want to take part in any and all of them as well.

  • go dog sledding,
  • go snowshoeing,
  • go cross country skiing,
  • go ice walking,
  • go on a sleigh ride,
  • go wildlife viewing,
  • go to the hot springs,
  • go to a spa,
  • stay at a lodge/cabin, and/or
  • go tobogganing.
image from http://lakelouise.com/tours/winter-activity-tours/dogsledding

One of these items (I’m looking at you dog sledding) – sounding rather crazy and awesome – has become item #256 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

Anyway, after drafting the email something dawned on me. That is, I remembered a conversation that Rick and I had last year about a certain crazy adventure that we thought was absolutely necessary to take part in. I decided to do some sleuthing. Strangely I wasn’t able to locate said crazy adventure on the website Rick had sent to me. So I sleuthed further (read, I asked the all-powerful and all-knowing Google). And as it has done many countless times before, the all-powerful, all-knowing Google came through.

I finished my email and sent it off to Rick, noting to him that this particular sleuthed-out adventure could be scratched off of our lists if we thought we might fit even more adventure into an already adventure-packed weekend.

His reply, and I quote:

“yes yes yes yes yes yes yes…”

And this dear readers, is why I love Rick, and why Rick is a giant bag of 100% pure grade-A Awesome. So after getting his response, and following a few other emails back and forth, I called up the Calgary Olympic Park (COP) and booked the adventure to follow our ice-climbing adventure. And both are going to occur in the same weekend in February. I’m so freaking stoked!

“But what, pray tell, is this damn adventure that you’re yammering on about?” you ask. In a word – Bobsledding – which is item #255 on my Not-So-Bucket-List list.

image from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=J1ARTA0000848

That’s right folks, we are going to head to the COP on February 26th to load our pretty little selves into an official olympic bobsled (with a trained professional of course), and hurtle ourselves down a mountain at speeds approaching 120km/h and forces approaching 5Gs. The ride is going to last all of 60 seconds, but it’s going to be full of so much awesome, I can’t even imagine how I’m going to not go insane with adrenaline and glee.

Rick, thanks for jumping on this without hesitation. You truly are a giant bag of 100% pure grade-A Awesome.

One Extra Day To Be Amazing

I’m sure everyone is aware that 2012 is a leap year. That is, 2012 has 366 days – 1 day more than the common 365 day year. Generally speaking, the extra day corrects for the fact that the earth takes a little longer than 365 days to circle the sun. Personally, I look at it as extra time to accomplish things on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. It’s also an extra 24 hours where one can be awesome, or slack off, or spend time with friends, or do pretty much anything.

The point is, 2012 has 24 extra hours and they probably shouldn’t be wasted doing things that aren’t awesome. Of course, what I consider awesome and what you consider awesome might be vastly different. I don’t consider spending quality time with a giant eight-legged-nasty awesome. Someone who spends their life studying such eight-legged-nasties might clearly disagree with me. Awesome really is in the eye of the beholder. But 2012 has 24 extra hours, so that means we each get 24 extra hours to do things that we find awesome.

With that in mind, I thought I would write a list of things that I want to try to accomplish this coming year – a list of things that I think will be awesome should I manage to complete them. To make things extra crazy, I thought I’d add a specific timeline to each of them. I’m not saying that I have to hold myself to these timelines, but I always work best when a due date is involved. Also, because I’m efficient, some of these items come from my Not-So-Bucket-List.


  • Visit Matt in Ottawa (which makes 14 trips in 13 months – crazy!)
  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Start training for marathon #1 & #2 in May
  • Start training for 160 km bike ride by end of year
  • Start the push-up challenge


  • Visit Rick in Calgary, and go ice-climbing (15 trips in 14 months – w00t)
  • Start the pull-up challenge


  • Run 30 km Around the Bay
  • Paint the kitchen or bathroom (or both)
  • Raise $1000 for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Bowlathon


  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Submit grant application to CFI
  • Do the CN Tower Climb (for WWF) twice


  • Run Toronto Marathon
  • Run Ottawa Marathon
  • Travel with Rob


  • Attend & present at the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Society of Canada
  • Teach Geo-spatial Epidemiology
  • Visit Rick to go mountain climbing
  • Start a 30 day challenge at yoga


  • Bike 80 km
  • Visit Rick to go mountain climbing


  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Unicorn run with Carolyn
  • Travel to New York
  • Bike 100 km


  • Bike 120 km
  • Paint the guest bedroom


  • Run Toronto or Chicago Marathon
  • Bike 160 km
  • Learn to make dairy-free pumpkin pie


  • Learn to make Goulash
  • Learn to make coque-au-vin


  • Submit 2 papers to 2 different journals
  • Travel off continent for Christmas

Related articles

Failing To Be Awesome Makes Angels Cry

We're so doing this.

Remember how I mentioned that Rick had sent me this text (left) just the other day?

Well, today Rick noticed something on his Facebook wall. Specifically an advertisement for a particular Calgary based activity. Guess which one?

If you guessed Ice Climbing, reward yourself with +1000 interweb points; to do with as you see best.

Clearly, we both took this as a sign that we needed to do this. I mean, the advertisement had to be a sign from the universe, right? Mr. Zuckerberg and his band of merry Facebookers wouldn’t be trolling our conversations (or worse, our brainwaves) to know that we are interested in such things. That would just be crazy, right?

Of course, it’s not that we needed a sign. I mean, I think based on the fact that a) Rick knows me well enough to know that I would say yes to this type of crazy adventure, and b) I responded with a resounding yes, and c) Rick is into this type of crazy adventure, and d) Rick would have responded in a similar manner had I sent him the initial text, it’s clear that nothing would really stop us from doing this. In fact, the decision was essentially made the minute the text messages started flying back and forth.

This will be Rick and me in a few short months. W00t!
Anyway, getting back to the sign. The best part of the ad that was staring Rick in the face was that it offered a 50% discount for a second person if we booked before December 1. Clearly, we had to act. I mean, what if all of the spots filled up because we failed to act? Angels would cry, that’s what. It would be like smacking the universe right in its face. And that’s just wrong. Especially when the universe is encouraging us to do something awesome.

Thankfully, Rick was on it. And I am happy to say, dear readers, that my next adventure is booked. Well, save for the flight to Calgary.

The adventure itself is offered by the good folks at the University of Calgary. Don’t worry Mom and Dad; day 1 includes training in a safe environment. Day 2 is when things get real; we carpool to wherever the ice falls happen to be and start our slow (I’m assuming) but steady way to the top. I can’t wait.

For those curious, this epic adventure occurs over the weekend of February 25, 2012. Only 113 days away. W00t!

Let the countdown begin.