Not To Be Trusted With Knives

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Hawaii

You know that thing where you go on vacation and then you come back and not only did all the work that you didn’t do while you were away not get done, but it seems to have made some new friends while you were gone so you now have about eleventy billion emails to deal with and decisions to make and meetings to present at and assignments to grade? That is officially my excuse for why this blog posting about my trip to Hawaii is coming 25 days after we arrived back how!

Anyhoo, I’ve managed to mostly catch up so now I’m just back to my baseline level of crazy busy, plus it is a 4 day weekend, so I have found some time to sit down and tell you all about our trip to Hawaii.  Spoiler alert: it’s amazing and I didn’t want to come home.

Sunday

We arrived in the afternoon on Sunday, after an uneventful flight from YVR to Seattle and another uneventful flight from Seattle to Honolulu. We’d booked our trip through Costco1, as it was the best deal we found, and the package came with transportation to and from the airport. The person greeting us also had leis for all, so here’s a selfie of us at the airport”

Scott and I upon our arrival in Hawaii

In what would become a theme for the trip, after a day of flying, my hair looks like crap.

The rest of Sunday was basically just getting checked into the hotel (the Aston Waikiki Beach hotel) and then wandering around to get the lay of the land. Since we got in around 2pm, which meant we didn’t have much time to see stuff before the sunset because omg, the sun sets early. I knew that Hawaii was near the equator, but I hadn’t really thought about the implications of that in terms of sunrise and sunset – it’s pretty much sun from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm every day, all year long. I’m used to living quite far north of the equator and so my brain thinks summer weather = suns sets at 9 pm, so it was kind of trippy for it to be 27°C and have the sun set at dinner time! Fortunately, it stays warm even after the sunset, so it’s still nice to wander around even after the sun goes down. If you’ve never been to Honolulu, it’s basically just all beach and open air malls, with an ABC store every 12 feet.

Monday

We decided to start the holiday off with a bang by taking a surfing lesson. As long time readers may recall, I have been surfing only two times in my life and had only managed to get to a standing position for about half a second on one of those two surfing days. And that was more than a decade ago. So I figured that an actual surfing lesson, which I didn’t do the last time, was in order. We found a Groupon for lessons through Moku Hawaii Surf Shop, which was close to our hotel, so we decided to take our lessons with them. And I’m happy to report that having a surfing lesson resulted in a much more success in the amount of standing on the surfboard! We had a fantastic instructor named Jennifer, who was the only female instructor we saw in Waikiki. She went over the safety basics and the basics of how to surf, and told us that the hardest part of surfing isn’t getting up on your feet – it’s all about timing – picking the right wave and then figuring out when to start paddling and when to jump up. We headed out to the beach and then Scott and I basically took turns getting some help from Jennifer – she helped us pick a good wave, helped us with timing when to start paddling, gave us a little push to get going, and yelled “up” to let us know when to pop up. Once we got the hang of that, she helped us with timing but without the push (which made me realize how much the push helped!). She also had a GoPro camera that was on my surfboard for the first half of the lesson and on Scott’s surfboard for the second half. She also remembered part way through my time with the Go-Pro to tell me to turn the camera off when I was just walking/paddling back out to the waves, which meant that there were a million photos of me walking/paddling back out from before she told me that, but no photos of Scott like that. We got footage of a few of our runs each, but of course none of my really good runs were captured on video!

Waiting for a good wave:

Beth surfing in Honolulu

Starting to paddle – you have to make sure you get up enough speed before the wave gets there so you can catch the wave:
Beth surfing in Honolulu

Then you have to pop up:

Beth surfing in Honolulu

First up on your knees:

Beth surfing in Honolulu

Then pop up to your feet:

Beth surfing in Honolulu

Then you are surfing like a pro:

Beth surfing in Honolulu

Until you fall off:
Beth surfing in Honolulu

We had an absolute blast! Jennifer said that most people don’t last the full two hours, but Scott and I did. I credit all the hard workouts we did leading up to our trip2.

The water was pretty shallow and the reef was very sharp and what with all the falling off and getting knocked about by the waves, I managed to rip up my foot pretty badly:

My foot got wrecked by the reef when we surfed

It looked worse in person than that photo, if you can believe that.

Also, this picture is awesome:

Beth surfing in Honolulu

After our lesson ended, we spent the rest of the day lounging on the beach. It was at some point on this day that I said “Let’s send for the cats! I want to stay here forever!” Sadly, the reality of not having jobs there or a place to live there or the necessary citizenship to do that quickly quashed my dream, so I had to just make do with 6 more days.

Here’s a video of me surfing (you really only need to watch the first couple of minutes – after that it’s just me sloooooowly walking back out to sea as I didn’t know I was supposed to turn off the camera!):

And here’s Scott – this video actually includes him surfing twice:

Tuesday

We had so much fun surfing that we decided to do it again the next day. Since we’d taken lessons from Moku, we were able to get a discount on renting boards the next day. We were just going to rent for a few hours, but they gave us the whole day, so we spent the day surfing, then lounging on the beach, then surfing, and repeat.

We also tested ou snorkelling gear3 in the hotel pool.

Wednesday

We rented a car for a couple of days because we knew we wanted to check out more of the island – and because I wanted to go swimming with sharks and you have to go to the North Shore to do that. So Wednesday we drove around the island, including stopping by the beach at the Turtle Bay resort to do some snorkelling. The water was pretty murky, but we still managed to see some cool looking fish. Sadly, there were no turtles!

We also managed to find Ted’s Bakery, which my friend Heather had recommended that we check out. They make some pretty fantastic pie:

Ted's Bakery - pies

Thursday

Thursday was the day I’d been waiting for since we’d decided to go to Hawaii – swimming with sharks! When my sister went to Hawaii ages ago, she did this and it sounded so cool that I wanted to do it too! We found a Groupon4 for a trip with North Shore Shark Adventures, but then I discovered that if you book directly with them online, you get the same price as the Groupon, so I just booked directly. The concept is simple – you get on a boat, go out to a place where there are sharks, and then jump in a cage that’s floating off the side of the boat and snorkel while you watch the sharks swim all around you. Apparently the sharks are attracted by the sound of the boat because they go out to an area where people fish for crabs and the sharks have become accustomed to the crab fishers dumping their used bait out of the crab traps there, so the sharks hear a boat and think “dinner time!”5. The sharks in the area are mostly Galapagos sharks, with some sandbar sharks. I totally thought that Great White sharks were common in Hawaii, but the crew told us they are not.

We were supposed to be on a 10 am trip, but we got a call from the company a day before saying that forecast was for really choppy water so they were going to cancel the 10 am trip, but we could go on the 7 am one instead. Despite this meaning we had to get up at like 5 am to make the drive from Waikiki to the North Shore, we decided to do it ‘cuz we really wanted to swim with the sharks!

Here I am on the boat:View from the shark boat

Here’s the cage:

Shark diving cage

And here are some of the freaking sharks, as seen from the deck of the boat:

Sharks!

There were 12 people on the boat who wanted to go in the cage, along with some crew members, and a few people who were just along for the ride. So one group of six went first while the rest of us watched and then the second group of six took a turn after. Here’s the other group after the ropes had been loosened to allow the cage to float a bit away from the boat:

Shark diving cage

While the other group was in the cage, one of the women popped her head up and asked the crew “What’s the little shiny silver shark?” One of the crew members said “Is it about this big [holding his hands about a foot apart] and kind of pointy?” When she replied “Yes”, he said “That’s a barracuda. You should watch out for that. It can get inside cage and it will bite”.

After the first group’s turn was up, we got to go into the cage. I was the first one in our group to get in the cage. It was such a cool experience! The sharks were so beautiful – so graceful swimming by, all around and beneath us. Some of the Galapagos sharks were quite big – the biggest one we saw was probably 10 ft long. I really, really wished I had a Go Pro camera of my own as  it would have been amazing to capture it! I wasn’t scared of the sharks at all – there was no way they could have gotten into our cage and they really seemed pretty docile. I mean, I wouldn’t have wanted to stick my hand in their mouth or anything, but being in the cage felt totally safe. The barracuda showed up while we were in there and honestly, I was more afraid of him, because he could totally have swam into the cage and taken a bite! And he just sat their next to the cage, staring at us with his cold dead eye. I found this photo of a barracuda on Wikipedia and this is just what he looked like:

Great Barracuda close-up, western Puerto Rico

Scary barracuda is scary!

As I mentioned, the water was pretty choppy and eventually it got the better of me and I totally puked from sea sickness right in the cage! So gross! But I did feel better after losing my breakfast, so at least there’s that. (I also found out that several other people also got sea sick while we were in the cage – they were just puking off the side of the boat!) As much as I hate puking, it was totally worth it to see those sharks!

Also, while I didn’t have a Go Pro to capture this, some other random people who did the same dive as us on a different day did and put it up on Youtube. So check out this video and imagine that Scott and I are in that cage, because this is exactly what it was like:

After we finished with the sharks, we decided to head back to Turtle Bay for more snorkelling and lounging on the beach. Still no turtles!

Later that day, we hit the Dole plantation. We decided to go on the aptly named “Pineapple Express” train that goes around the plantation and features a narration that tells you about how the Dole Food Company is the most successful and generous company on the planet, pineapples are the greatest food ever to have existed and probably can cure cancer, and James Drummond Dole could walk on water6.

Tickets fo the Pineapple Express

 

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We did get to see some cool stuff, like how pineapples actually grow on bushes on the ground – I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I’d kind of assumed they grew in trees, like coconuts!

IMG_8396

I also didn’t know that pineapples aren’t native to Hawaii – they were brought there from South America in the 1500s.

IMG_8395

In addition to pineapple, the Dole plantation had a bunch of other stuff – sugar cane, lemons, limes, avocados, cocoa, coffee, coconuts, bananas, etc.

IMG_8382

After we finished our Pineapple Express trip, featuring the musical stylings of a band that was willing to record a song called “Pineapple Express”, we checked out the shop to get some delicious Dole whip, which is basically like ice cream except that it’s made of pineapple instead of cream. I have to admit, it was pretty delicious. We also stayed for a pineapple cutting demonstration, during which the demonstrator took about 20 minutes using a special pineapple cutting knife while repeating “So easy!” over and over and over again. I will admit that it looked pretty cool when she was done, but I don’t think I’ll be adjusting my pineapple cutting ways.

How to cut pineapple

Scott as a pineapple

Scott is a pineapple

After we were full of Dole whip and indoctrinated into the cult of Dole, we decided to try to find a waterfall that you can hike to at the Waimano Public Hunting Area. I was a wee bit concerned to start a hike that starts with a sign that says I might be hunted with a rifle, a shotgun, a handgun, a knife, a spear, and/or a bow and arrow (should I be mistaken for a pig or goat of either sex).

Waimano Public Hunting Area

Also concerning were the angry looking clouds in the sky and, not fancying the idea of driving all the way back to Waikiki in soaking wet clothing, we decided to just snap this pic of us with the scenic background and head back to the car without getting to our destination. I guess this is why they say don’t go chasing waterfalls.

As usual on this trip, my hair is a mess. But I had to fight off sharks and a barracuda earlier that day, so I guess it is to be expected.

Friday

On Friday we jumped on the city bus and headed to hike Diamond Head, which is a 300,000 year old crater.

Diamond Head hike

It’s not a super tough hike, thought these stairs at the top were not my favourite:

Diamond Head hike

but they get you to pretty cool views;

Diamond Head hike

Diamond Head hike

I don’t know what that lighthouse is called, but I’m totally adding it to my upcoming blog posting “Dr. Beth’s Worldwide Lighthouse Tour”7

Diamond Head hike

Since we’d already paid for a day pass for the bus8, we decided to head to the other side of town after our hike and checked out what was going on over there. Highlights included, this turtle who was hanging out in a fake pond by a restaurant:

In a fake pond by a restaurant

these beautiful birds that live at the Hilton:

and possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten:

Possibly the best ice cream I've ever eaten

It was surprisingly difficult to find ice cream in Waikiki. You’d think there would be an ice cream shop on every street corner. But you’d be wrong. We had to go all the way to the other side of Waikiki to find it.

waikiki map

Another reason we had decided to go to that side of town was that every Friday night the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort has a fireworks show. So after strolling around to see the various sights and eat the various ice cream that was on the side of town, we strolled over to the beach to watch the fireworks.

Yet again, my hair is craptacular! Given how much time we’d spent in the ocean on this trip, I’d pretty much given up hope that I could do anything with my hair by this point.

We followed up the fireworks display with a meal at Morton’s steakhouse, which was super freaking delicious. We were also somewhat amazed that we could walk into a restaurant on a Friday night without a reservation9.

Saturday

On the advice of my uncle Harry and my friend Sarah, neither of whom have actually been10, we visited the USS Arizona Memorial. The USS Arizona is one of the ships that was sunk in the attack on Pearl Harbour and it still sits where it sank, with the 1,177 who died that day still on the ship. In addition, some of the survivors of the USS Arizona have decided to have the ship as the final resting place of their remains when they subsequently died, making it both a memorial to those who died in the attack and an active military cemetery. When you visit, you first watch a movie about the attack on Pearl Harbour, complete with footage of the attack and some explanation of how and why the attack happened. Then you go on a navy boat to the memorial, which is basically a platform that sits astride the remains of the ship.

USS Arizona

The white structure in the background is the memorial, as seen from our boat as we headed towards the memorial.

 

USS Arizona

Parts of the remains of the ship.

 

Oil still leaks from the USS Arizona

Oil still leaks from the ship, more than 75 years later.

 

USS Arizona

There were some divers going into the water near the ship. I’m not sure what they were doing.

 

Divers at the USS Arizona

Divers in the water near the oil leaks.

 

USS Arizona

Names of the men who died on the USS Arizona are written instead the memorial

It was very sobering to see so many names – 1,177 men died just on this ship, let alone all the others who died in various other parts of Pearl Harbor that day – and to think about how young they all were – just boys, really, and their ship was sinking, and then exploding, before they even knew what happened. Today, there are only five remaining survivors, ranging in age from 94-96 years old.

After the navy boat brought us back, we wandered around a bit to see the other things that were around, like this nuclear torpedo:

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

And read the various signs with more information about the event:

Pearl Harbor

After that, we headed back to Waikiki to do more wandering around, eventually hitting Duke’s for dinner:

Drinks

Delicious drinks at Duke’s

and then stumbling upon a hula show that was going on at the beach:Hulu show on Waikiki Beach

Sunday

Sunday was our last full day on Oahu and we decided to spent it at Hanauma Bay, a beach on a bay that was formed by volcanic activity about 32,000 years ago, It became a very popular tourist destination because of its beautiful beach and amazing marine life, with about 400 different species of fish living there. They state has turned it into a nature preserve and when you first get there you have to watch a movie that basically just says “Don’t touch any of the living creatures, including the coral. Hey, did you know coral is alive? Well, you do now, so don’t touch it!” Then you are allowed to head down the hill to enjoy the beach.

Hanumba Bay was definitely one of the highlights of the trip, which is saying something because I loved pretty much everything about this trip. But the snorkelling here was amazing! The water was so clear and there were so many different kinds of beautiful fish! I was really regretting not having a GoPro while snorkeling here. You can see some of the types of fish that we saw on this Hanauma Bay Education Program Fish Identification Card – ones we saw included Bluespine Unicornfish, Bird Wrasse, Hawaiian Sergeant, female Spotted Boxfish, male Christmas Wrasse, Moorish Idol, many types of Parrotfish and tonnes of Reef Triggerfish and Convict Tang. There was also a giant purple fish that I think was a type of Parrotfish and it was so big that you could actual hear it eating when you were underwater with it!

I found this video on Youtube from someone who had a similar experience – it’s a different colour of fish, but you can see what I mean about hearing the fish eating:

Apparently there are sometimes reef sharks in the bay, but we didn’t see any. I would kind of loved to have seen one because sharks are awesome, but even knowing that there has never been a shark attack in the bay and reef sharks don’t feed on humans, I may have freaked out if I’d actually seen one because OMG SHARK!

We basically spent the whole day there, alternating between snorkelling and lounging on the beach. On one of our later times out snorkelling that day we finally saw the second thing (other than sharks) that I wanted to see in the wild: a turtle! We were just snorkelling around on the opposite side of the bay than we’d been before and Scott called me over to where he was and pointed down into the reef. And there was a beautiful green sea turtle, just swimming around and eating from the reef! Again, I was kicking myself for not having a GoPro! I did find this photo on Flickr of a turtle that looks just like the one we saw:

Sea Turtle @ Hanauma Bay

I spent a bunch of time just swimming around following the turtle – he was just so cute11!

Here’s a video from someone who was smart enough to bring a GoPro with them while snorkelling there (this is pretty much exactly what my day was like, except for the soundtrack):

Also at the beach were a whole bunch of cats, who apparently live, feasting on garbage and having somewhat of an uneasy truce with a bunch of mongooses.

At one point, Scott was petting the kitties and a little kid who was probably three or four years old and had clearly paid attention in the “don’t touch the wildlife” video admonished him “Don’t touch them!!!!!” Of course, not touching the feral cats is probably more of a safety rule for you rather than the cats, but he didn’t end up getting bitten or scratched, so I suppose we’ll call that a win for all.

Monday

And just like that, the trip was over! We got one last morning in Honolulu, where I snapped what is probably the nicest photo I took on the whole trip, and from the restaurant in our hotel, of all places!

View from the restaurant in our hotel

On top of being a super amazing awesome fun time, my trip also allowed me to knock two items off my 101 list: #1 – Cage dive with sharks and #91 – Go to Hawaii. And as soon as I hit publish on this posting, it will put me 1/6th of the way towards achieving my 2018 goal of having “published at least six [blog postings] that are long form  (minimum of 3000 words).”

In conclusion: A++, would Hawaii again.

Image and Video Credits: The barracuda photo is from Wikipedia and the Green Sea Turtle photo posted by FHKE on Flickr with a Creative Commons license. All the other photos are mine or Scott’s. The two surfing videos are mine and Scott’s and for sources of the other videos, follow the links to YouTube.

  1. I’m reasonably sure that I’m slowly drifting towards an entirely Costco-based life. First it was just for food… then clothing… and now travel! []
  2. I told my trainer for January & February to give me a training program that would help me with surfing and/or looking good on the beach. So she gave me some crazy tough workouts and I think it really helped! []
  3. Which we bought at Costco (of course) before we left Vancouver. []
  4. Are you sensing my cheapness? []
  5. Apparently some companies will chum the water to attack sharks, but it’s controversial as it can affect shark behaviour and even lead to sharks equating humans with food, which is not a good thing. []
  6. Honestly, the whole time I kept thinking that the narration should have been done by Troy McClure. []
  7. Note to self: write that blog posting that you’ve been meaning to write since forever called “Dr. Beth’s Worldwide Lighthouse Tour”. []
  8. As a day pass is the same price as going somewhere on the bus and then returning, we decided just to get the pass to get to the hike and back, and then use it to travel around town some more. Because frugality. []
  9. Not something you can really do in Vancouver. []
  10. Though Sarah did plan a visit for her parents when they were in Hawaii and thus was able to give me detailed instructions of how to get there, get tickets, etc. []
  11. I’d also stalked some fish throughout the day – I’d find an interesting looking fish and then just follow it around to see where it would go. It got me wondering what the fish and turtle think about all these snorkelers – do they just think we are some weird looking fish? []

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101 Things To Do in the Next 1001 Days – 4th Edition

And speaking of things I meant to do ages ago, but just finally got around to doing: here’s my next 101 things to do in 1001 days list!

As you may recall, my last 101 list ended way back in the old time-y days of April 20171. I’ve been slowly adding things to the list since then2; and some are brand new (to me) ideas of things I’d like to accomplish.

Also like last time, I’ve put my list into a Google Spreadsheet, but this time I categorized them and have sorted the list by category, in alphabetical order: Adventure, Crafts, Finances, Fitness, Food, Home, Learning, Personal, Professional, and Travel.

Start date: Sunday, January 14, 2018

End date: Monday, October 11, 2020

Wish me luck!

  1. Though I didn’t get around to blogging it until June! []
  2. And I would like to note that there were two things that were on my list but I completed them before I actually finished compiling the list! For the record, they were: “Go to a New Westminster Salmonbellies lacrosse game” (which I did on July 13, 2017 [thank you Linda & Casey for the tickets!]) and “Get my will signed by two witnesses” (which I did on July 29, 2017 [thank you, Scott and Kalev!]), but somehow nine months went by before I actually completed it. But I’ve now come up with 101 things to attempt to do in the next 1001 days! Like last time, some of the items are things that I didn’t accomplish on my previous list, but that I still want to do; some are things I blatantly stole from Dr. Dan’s Not-So-Bucket List; some are from my goals for this year ((Hopefully I’ll get those ones finished in much less than 1001 days! []

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Anyone have suggestions for my next 101 things to do in 1001 days list?

I’ve been working on my next list of “101 things to do in 1001 days” and I currently have 62 items on my list. Anyone have suggestions on things I should add?

My previous lists are here.

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101 in 1001 Days Recap (A Wee Bit Late)

So, I figured it was a good time to do a check in on my 101 things to do in 1001 days because that 1001 days is coming to an end very soon… or so I thought. I was sure that my list’s end date was in July, which meant I’d have about a month to try to knock a few more items off the list, but I just looked at it to see what specific date in July and found that it wasn’t any date in July – it ended on April 9! As in almost 2 months ago!! It started on July 12, 2014, which must be why I had July in my brain. I am an epic fail! So yes, let’s start with seeing how I did on my 101 list!

In total, I achieved 38/101 things. While that sounds pretty sad, it is better than I did on my second 101 list and one shy of the number that I achieved on my first 101 list. Let’s look at the breakdown:

Completed Items – A. Stuff I Did That I Figured I’d Be Likely To Do

7. Be written about in the New Westminster Record
13. Install screen doors on my balcony doors
16. Get a jewelry armoire
18. Get a strong structure on which to place my frog tank
20. Clean my new BBQ
21. Get rid of the fake trees my condo’s previous owner left on my balcony
22. Put felt pads on the bottom of all my furniture to protect my floors
23. Replace my mishmash of old dishes with a nice set of dishes
26. Unpack everything from my recent move
27. Update my address on every account I have by the time my mail forwarding ends
28. Update my budget to reflect my new financial situation
29. Get rack and pannier for my bike
32. See a show at Bard on the Beach
38. Write a will1
56. Visit Bowen Island
57. Participate in political campaign
58. Ski at Whistler
64. Go on a Paddle Wheeler cruise down the Fraser River
66. Take the Peak to Peak gondola in Whistler
69. Create a balcony herb garden
80. Have a picnic
83. Make a Christmas wreath to hang on my door
86. Decorate a cake in a creative and awesome way
89. Increase the amount of money I loan out via Kiva by 100%
91. Pain something worth hanging on my wall
92. Get a journal article published
99. Don’t get any university degrees (unless they are honorary degrees) during this 1001 day period

B. Stuff I Did That I Was Surprised I Managed To Accomplish

4. Create a computer simulation model
35. Go for a ride in a float plane
37. Present at a conference at an international location (not including the US)
43. Go to NYC
44. Go to Chicago
46. Go to Nova Scotia
47. Go to Newfoundland
78. Get a promotion or a new job
93. Get a book chapter published
95. Publish something with my sister
100. Fall in love

I listed all the travel-related ones as “surprising” because my travel locations tend to relate to opportunities that present themselves rather than my picking them.  Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and presenting at an international conference (Australia) were all places I went to because there happened to be conferences there and I went to Chicago on the way to a conference in Kansas City. I did pick NYC, but it was actually my sister’s idea of a place to take our Mom for her birthday.

C. Stuff That I Partially Accomplished

19. Hang all my diplomas and artwork in my new place – All my diplomas are hung in my office at the hospital and almost all of my artwork is hung (I just need to hand a photo of a cool iceberg that I got in Newfoundland, a painting of flowers that I got in Nice (which I did *finally* get framed), and the two paintings that I painted at Paint Night.

60. Participate in 10 research studies (as a research “subject”) – I participated in 5 studies. And I actually emailed two or three other studies that advertised they were looking for research participants but didn’t get a response back from them.

Incomplete Items

A. Abject Failures

These are all things that I totally could have done but just didn’t.

1. Fix my ruby ring (from which I lost a ruby!)
2. Stay in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel
3. Stay in the Chateau Lake Louise
14. Paint a room
15. Get a linen tower for the bathroom
17. Get a litter box hiding piece of furniture
24. Mend all the clothes in my “to fix” box
31. Read “Lord of the Flies”
33. Watch salmon spawning
39.Buy a red suit
40. Run a triathlon
41. Go zipling
42. Go skydiving
61. Make homemade marshmallows
62. Go on a relaxing vacation in a tropical location2
63. Donate blood (despite my needle phobia!)
65. Go to the free Friday night dance class at Hyack Square3
68. Go horseback riding
70. Go to a New Westminster Salmon Bellies lacrosse game
71. Complete the 100 pushups challenge
72. Write a short story
74. Make a list of 100 things for which I’m grateful!4
75. Go waterskiing
76. Go scuba diving
79. Hike up a glacier
81. Make a key lime pie
82. Send out Christmas cards to all my friends and family
85. Make Eggs Benedict
87. Make homemade spruce beer
88. Go to Science World After Dark
90. Lose the weight I gained during my MBA program
94. Publish something with Dr. Dan5
96. Invent a cupcake recipe
97. Invent 5 new drinks
98. See a Cirque du Soleil show

B. Stuff I Thought Was a Long Shot Anyways

5. Use the computer simulation model that I created to run a sensitivity analysis.
6. See Celtic Thunder live
8. Cage dive with sharks
9. Ride an elephant
10. Ride a camel
11. Ride a zamboni
12. Go whitewater rafting
25. Make a quilt from all my old t-shirts from different events
34. Go for a ride in a helicopter
36. Climb an active volcano
45. Go to Paris
48. Go to the Yukon
49. Go to Nunavit
50. Go to Iceland
51. Go to Italy
52. Go to Hawaii6
53. Go to Japan
54. Go to the Galapagos
55. Go somewhere in South America
59. Skate on the Rideau Canal
67. Visit Alcatraz
73. Do an amateur stand up comedy night
77. Go for a ride in a hot air balloon
101. Publish 751 blog postings during these 1001 days7

C. Stuff I no longer even care about/couldn’t do because of outside forces.

30. Bike to work at least 10 times – Once I got my new job, biking to work became off the table as it would probably take me 2 hours each way (at least at the speed I bike). And you can’t take a bike on the Skytrain during rush hour, so it’s not like I can Skytrain part of the way and bike the rest of the way.

84. Decorate my balcony with Christmas lights – I decided I don’t really care about this one anymore, as my balcony faces the back of the building, so who is even really going to see them?

I feel like the stuff that I accomplished was most boring tasks – though I suppose that a fair number of task-y type things ended up on the list because I’d just moved into my new condo when I wrote that list. I did manage to get some cool travelling accomplished and I published two journal articles and a book chapter, so that’s something. But I really haven’t done anything epic like I did during my previous 1001 days (much of which wasn’t even in my list at the time!).

I guess it’s time to put together a new 101 list – my fourth one! I have a few items on my list already and I think I’ll import a few of my as-of-yet not done ones from this list. And then I need to think of some truly epic things to do (I do have one extremely epic thing I’m working on, so that’s going on the list!). If anyone has suggestions on what I should put on my next list, I’m all ears!

 

  1. Loophole on this one – I’ve written it, but not yet signed it, as you need two witnesses to sign it at the same time and I rarely have more than one person at my place unless I’m having a party and I feel like “who wants to witness the signing of my will is like the worst party game ever. At any rate, I’ve written my will and that’s all this item said, so I’m counting it! []
  2. I can’t believe I didn’t go on a relaxing tropical vacation in 1001 days!! []
  3. I don’t think they even have those classes anymore! []
  4. I really should have done this. This is going on my next 101 list for sure! []
  5. Definitely going on my next 101 list. We even having something that we are just starting to write up! []
  6. I did have a plan for this one, but my stupid hip injury thwarted my plans! []
  7. For the record, I only wrote 289 blog postings in this 1001 days. Yikes! []

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Items I Knocked Off My List of 101 Things To Do List

I set a goal to knock 16 items off my 101 things to do in 1001 days list during 2016 and while I failed spectacularly at doing that, most of the 5 things that I did were pretty awesome. In level of increasing awesomeness, they were:

21. Get rid of the fake trees my condo’s previous owner left on my balcony

This one wasn’t awesome, but I am glad to have it done. When I bought my place, the previous owner left these gaudy fake trees in extremely heavy pots on my balcony, claiming they were part of the condo because they were tied with twine to the balcony railing. They were ugly and they took up valuable room on my balcony, but the aforementioned extremely heavy pots stopped me from getting rid of them until I got a message from my strata that they would be power washing all the balconies and everything had to be taking off our balconies during that time.

35. Go for a ride in a float plane

I spent some time on Salt Spring Island this year and on one of the trips, I took the float plane back so that I could spend one extra night there and then just fly into Vancouver for work in the morning. Super fun.

47. Go to Newfoundland

Visiting my 10th of 10 Canadian provinces was a milestone this year. Not that many people can say that! Plus I went to an awesome conference and got to hang out with my sister!

43. Go to NYC

I <3 NY. We had such a good time and now I want to go there again!

37. Present at a conference at an international location (not including USA)

Definitely the highlight of the year was my trip to Australia! The conference was fantastic and I really enjoyed all the places that I went!

So while I didn’t knock a large quantity of items off my list, I’d say that the quality of the ones I did do were A++.

My current 101 things to do in 1001 days is slated to end on April 9, 2017 and I’ve only achieved 34 (!). I should probably take a hard look at the remaining items to see which ones I can feasibly do in the next 3 months. Surely I can do better than 34/101!

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Various Updates

Life seems to have gotten extra busy, so I’m resorting to writing this blog posting on my phone during my morning commute [and then posting it tonight, now that I’m home from my hockey game, with a few edits made and photos inserted!], despite just yesterday saying to my sister “I don’t know how you can write a journal article on your phone!” I stand by my sentiment that this is not the ideal way to type out a long piece of writing but (a) my evenings for the foreseeable future are booked up and (b) when I tried to turn on my ereader just now, the battery was dead so what else am I going to do on this Skytrain ride?

Foot Update

  • It’s been a month since I sprained my ankle. It’s not 100% healed, but it’s mostly there. Been sporting this awesome kin tape – I have no idea if it actually does anything, but figured it can’t hurt. I’ve gotten back to hockey (after 2 weeks off) and a running (after 3 weeks off), though on my runs on Saturday and Monday my left knee was bugging me, so I’m probably compensating for the ankle even though I don’t feel the ankle. I‘m going to get got it checked out today after work to see if it needs adjusting or strengthening or something [and I got some work done on it to work some of the edema out – because it was still a bit swollen today – among other things. Hopefully that will help me get to 100%.
  • As if having a sprained ankle wasn’t bad enough, last week I did this to my toe at hockey:
    Hockey injury But I didn’t do it *playing* hockey. I did it by stubbing my toe on my hockey bag after the game. It looked much worse than it felt, thank goodness!

Garden Update

  • For the most part, my garden is doing quite well, with the notable exception of my tomato plant, which died. When I was away in St. John’s I had to put my whole garden inside as my strata decided that that was the exact perfect time to power wash and paint my balcony and so I couldn’t have anything out there. The tomato plant did not survive that. I just bought a new tomato plant to replace it – hopefully there are no more unforeseen upheavals of my garden this summer.

    My new tomato plant

    This is the new tomato plant I bought. Wish me luck getting it to tomato!

  • When I put my garden inside my condo for a week, my jalapeño plant had two little jalapeños and many little buds. The buds never ended up blooming, but the jalapeños that has started kept going and now about a dozen more buds have budded. I can’t wait until the first ones are ready to eat.
    My first two jalapenos

    My first two jalapeños

    Jalapeno buds

    Jalapeño buds

  • Prior to the Great Upheaval of the garden being moved indoors, my cilantro plant had bolted. I didn’t even know that was a thing until it happened – my cilantro plant shot up to about 2 ft I’m height and the leaves went all feathery. Dr. Google explained to me that cilantro plants don’t like it when it is hot, so when the temperature gets too high they start to bud, then shoot up I’m height and go to seed – the idea being that the seeds will fall and the plant will regrow when conditions are better. If you catch the buds early enough you can cut them off and keep your plant going, but I knew nothing (Beth Snow) of this until it was too late. So I let it go to see and then harvested the seeds and have now planted them. And now we wait to see if they will grow.
    Coriander seeds that I harvested after my cilantro plant bolt4ed

    Freshly harvested coriander seeds

    I did manage to get this parsley to grow from seed1, but it was seed that I bought rather than seed that I harvested.

Goals Update:

I’ve tried out making quite a few new food items towards my goal of making 16 new food or drink items I’ve never made before.These include this grilled zucchini salad:

Country-style pork ribs:

Country style pork ribs

Garlic Scapes2 – I made them both sautéed and BBQ’d:

Garlic scape

Homemade Salsa:

My first batch of salsa

Smashed potatoes ((These are delicious. I’ve made them several times now because they are good!)):

Smashed potatoes

I’ve made a total of 11 so far and since it’s only just past halfway through the year, I’m ahead of schedule.

Another goal for this year is to knock 16 items off my 101 list and so far I’ve only done 3 in 2016, which means I’m way behind schedule on that one! The most recent of the 3 was to “go for a ride in a float plane”, which I did when I returned from Salt Spring Island to Vancouver last week. It was super cool!

Tangent: While on Salt Spring, we played a fair bit of tennis. I tracked it with my GPS watch to see how far I ran – here’s a map of one of our matches:

Tennis, as tracked by my GPS watch

We also saw some goats and chickens at Salt Spring Island Cheese:

Goats at Salt Spring Island Cheese

Chickens at Salt Spring Island Cheese

Cat Update

My cats are still the most awesome cats who have ever catted. Even despite the fact that Watson is kind of a jerk who never lets his sister on the cat tree. You know the giant cat tree that I bought them that is big enough for like 10 cats? Watson seems to think it’s not big enough for more than 1 cat. And if the 1 cat is not him, then it’s not even big enough for 1. If Crick tries to go to there, he chases her off. Sometimes he doesn’t even stay on the tree – he just doesn’t want her on there. Like I said, he’s kind of a jerk. But I still love him.

Watson won't let Crick onto the cat tree

Poor Crick is relegated to siting on the fireplace mantle, since Watson will not share the cat tree.

Lord Commander Watson Snow, the Watcher on the Wall

Lord Commander Watson Snow is the Watcher on the Wall

Crick gets him back by eating his food. I always put their food in two dishes and usually, Watson will have a few bites and then wander away to clean himself. Meanwhile, Crick eats her entire dish and then starts in on his. She’s a little piglet. And I love her.

Crick is hiding under the open dishwasher

Crick is hiding from her brother

Watson

Watson is keeping up with the news

Crick thinks she's a shoe

Crisk is disguising herself as a shoe

It's too bright in here!

It’s too bright in here!

  1. All my other herbs have been from seedlings. []
  2. Why has no one ever told me about garlic scapes before? I got them at the New West Farmer’s Market, w It’s the top part of the garlic, is only available for a short period each year, and is like a mild garlic taste without the bite. Very cool! []

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All the Things I Completed From My 101 List in 2015

Here’s a summary, by month, of the items that I completed from my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, during 2015:

Month Items Completed
Jan 58. Ski at Whistler
66. Take the Peak to Peak gondola in Whistler
Feb 27. Update my address on every account I have by the time my mail forwarding ends
Mar 28. Update my budget to reflect my new financial situation
Apr 64. Go on a Paddle Wheeler cruise down the Fraser River
May 89. Increase the amount of money I loan out via Kiva by 100%
93. Get a book chapter published
46. Go to Nova Scotia
Jun 56. Go to Bowen Island
69. Create a balcony herb garden
86 Decorate a cake in a creative and awesome way
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct 91. Paint something worth hanging on my wall
Nov
Dec 4. Create a computer simulation model.
92. Get a journal article published
38. Write a will

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I published an article!

Item #92 on my 101 thing to do in 1001 days was “Get a journal article published”.

And it turns out that my latest article, which I found out was accepted for publication a while ago, was just published in the Fall 2015 issue of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation on Dec 22!

Called “Challenges in Evaluating a Prototype Project in a Large Health Authority: Lessons Learned“, I wrote this article, along with two of my colleagues, based on a project that I did at my previous job. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to read the full article unless you are a member of the Canadian Evaluation Society, until sometime in 2017, as the three most recent issues are restricted to members only.

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101 in 1001 mid-2015 check in

So I’m 372 days into the 1001 days of my latest “101 things to do in 1001 days” list (a.k.a., one year and one week or 37% of the way through) and at my latest count, I’ve achieved 25 of the 101 items (i.e., 24.75%). So while I’m a little bit behind, I have been making decent progress. I set a goal of knocking 15 items off of my list in 2015 and so far have done 11. Those 11 are:

58. Ski at Whistler
66. Take the Peak to Peak gondola in Whistler

Daniel got me lift tickets for Whistler for my Christmas present, which allowed me to knock the two aforementioned items off my list. We had a fantastic time!

On the Peak-to-Peak Gondola

Daniel and I on the Peak-to-Peak Gondola going from Blackcomb to Whistler – thereby achieving two things from my 101 list that day!

27. Update my address on every account I have by the time my mail forwarding ends
28. Update my budget to reflect my new financial situation

A couple of boring ones, but important!

64. Go on a Paddlewheeler cruise down the Fraser River

The Paddlewheeler is a paddle wheel-powered boat that travels up the Fraser River doubling as a pub on the weekends. There was a Groupon deal for tickets, so Daniel and I did this back in April and it was pretty fun!

89. Increase the amount of money I loan out via Kiva by 100%

Kiva is a microfinance organization where you can loan money to people in need, primarily in developing countries. It’s a fantastic way to support people who can’t get access to traditional financing to build their businesses, get an education, and build their communities. Typically the loans are about $25 per loaner, with a group of people loaning the total amount the loan recipient needs. I was originally introduced to Kiva by my friends Sarah and Dave, who gave me a gift card of money to loan through Kiva. As the loan recipients pay back their loan, I then loan that money out to other people. Every once  I add more money to the pot – usually when someone is offering to match any new funds that are loaned during a given period of time, and I decided that in my 1001 days I wanted to double the amount I was loaning out, from $76 to $151. I’m currently at $200 being loaned out, so I’ve more than met this goal.

93. Get a book chapter published

This one I added to the list knowing that I’d have a very good chance of achieving it because I was already working on the chapter! If memory serves, we didn’t have a publisher secured at that time, but the book editors were working on it and they had experience publishing several academic books like this one, so I was confident that we’d get the book published. It doesn’t appear that I’ve blogged about the book – oops! Anyway, it’s called Transforming Addiction: Gender, Trauma, Transdisciplinarity and I co-wrote chapter 2 “Fostering transdisciplinarity in addiction research training” based on my experiences as the Program Director of a transdisciplinary addictions research training program, which was my first job post-PhD. You can buy the book on Amazon or Chapters if you are so inclined.

46. Go to Nova Scotia

Untitled

I’m in Halifax and have now been to 9 out of 10 Canadian provinces (and 10 out of 14 provinces + territories)

Nova Scotia was one of the two remaining provinces that I needed to go to in order to have been to all 10 provinces. The last one is Newfoundland and I’m hoping to go there for a conference that I really want to go to next year. Then I have to conquer the remaining territories – I’ve been to the Northwest Territories, but I have yet to get to Yukon or Nunavut.

56. Go to Bowen Island

Untitled

Waiting for the ferry to return home from Bowen Island

This one is a little closer to home than Nova Scotia, but for some reason, I haven’t been to any of the islands around here, other than Vancouver Island. Bowen is a small and easy-to-get to island and I’d heard that it was quaint, so I put it on my list of 101 things to do. I ended up going there when my mom and sister were visiting. I’d been told there were cute little shops and restaurants there and that was true, though there were far fewer of them than I’d expected. But we did some shopping and had a delicious lunch and I got to knock this item off my list!

69. Create a balcony herb garden

This is another one that I achieved while my mom and sister were visiting. We went to Granville Island and I found a lovely herb garden in a box that contains parsley, sage, chives, marjoram, and peppermint and it only cost $13. So I bought it and put it on my balcony and now I have a balcony herb garden!

86 Decorate a cake in a creative and awesome way

Logic Model cake

A logic model cake

I had a colleague who has been working with me since last August and we have spent several months building logic models. Logic models, for the uninitiated, is a tool that is commonly used in program evaluation and it depicts the relationships between inputs, activities, outputs and outcomes (basically, it shows the “if.. then” logic where “if you have input w, then you can do activity x and if you do activity x, then you will get output y, and if you get output y, then you will get outcome z.” These logic models typically are represented by a bunch of boxes linked by arrows. Anyway, this colleague finished up on our project recently as she is moving and at her last team meeting with us, I made her a logic model-themed cake.

I’m pretty happy with having achieved 11 out of my goal of 15 things, and I’m hopeful that I’ll achieve another two very soon:

92. Get a journal article published. I’ve had a journal article accepted and am just waiting to find out what issue it is going to be published in!

91. Paint something worth hanging on my wall. My friend Cath and I are going to a Paint Nite event, where you go to a bar or restaurant and an artist teaches you how to paint something. So I will paint something tomorrow but whether or not it meets the criterion of “worth hanging on my wall” remains to be seen!

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Goals 2015 – Mid-Year Check-in

So it’s just past the halfway point in the year and I figure that means it’s a good time to do a check-in on my goals for the year!

Of my 15 goals, 4 goals are completed:

  • Organize all my closets
  • Set up a new investment plan
  • Pay off 7.5% of my mortgage principal – I’ve actually paid off 9% of the principal I had owing at the start of the year – and counting!
  • Make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before – this one warrants its own blog posting!

6 goals are on track:

  • Run two half marathons – having done the BMO half, I’m 50% complete on this goal and I’m registered for the Montreal half as my second half of the year.
  • Run a sub-2 hour half marathon – being less than 3 minutes off of hitting this goal in May and into my training for Montreal in September, I think there’s a reasonable chance I could get this one done.
  • Run 800 km – I’ve run 500.3 km so far this year, which puts me at 62% complete. I’ve got another 9 weeks of training left for Montreal, and then I’m running a 10 km in October, so I’ll be motivated to do some more runs after Montreal… so I’m really hoping I can complete this goal this.
  • Add 5 new medals to my collection – I’ve got two so far – BMO half marathon and the Florida virtual half (which I just realize that I have failed to blog about!) and am registered for three more races (Montreal half, PNE Donut 5 km (also warrants a blog posting), and the Vancouver Rock’n’Roll 10 km – so as long as I do all those races, I’ll have 5 shiny new medals in my collection…. plus, since Montreal & Vancouver are both Rock’n’Roll events, I will also get the “double beat” medal for running two R’n’R events in one calendar year – so I’ll actually add 6 new medals!
  • Bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work. I have a spreadsheet to track this one (because spreadsheet) and I currently sit at 49% of my lunches having been brought from home so far this year, so I really should make a more concerted effort to bring this number up to give myself some breathing room!
  • Complete 15 items from my 101 list. I’ve completed nine items (looks like that’s another blog posting I need to write!) and have booked something for next Monday which will, if all turns out well, allow me to knock item number 91 off my list.

4 goals have been neglected so far:

  • Complete the 100 push up challenge.
  • Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. I
  • Write a will.
  • Apply for at least one research grant.

And then there’s this one:

  • Write 115 blog postings. So far in 2015, I’ve written a mere 37 blog postings. Which means I need to write 14 blog postings per month – or 3.25 blog postings per week – for the remainder of the year to hit this target. Challenge accepted!

As a bonus goal, I decided the other day to set a goal of reading 15 books in 2015, mostly because Goodreads kept harassing me to set a goal every time I logged into the app. I’ve currently read 10 books this year (and am in the middle of a few others), so I’m on track for that one too.