Well Above Zero


There are nice things about camping when it’s way below zero.  No one goes through the ice.  Everything is dry.  All the gear feels appropriate and well used.

And when you asked “Hey, what temperature is it?”
“Well above zero!” said Will.

And it was actually 3ºF

There was so much laughing on this trip.

Will and I had done five winter camping trips just the two of us.  This year included Annalesa.

It started on Monday September 18th at Lakes and Legends Brewing Adventure Film showing.  Will and I were preparing to go on our annual BWCA paddling trip when Annalesa said “I’ve always wanted to go on a trip with both of you.”
I said “You could come on the winter trip.”  But I was probably a little drunk and didn’t think it would really happen.

First, there is so much gear involved.  It’s quite a commitment to acquiring things that are unlikely to be used for anything else.  I sent her a document listing all the needed gear.

Second, it’s really not fun.  Will and I spent a front step evening trying to communicate how much work it is to winter camp.  How it’s really not like camping at any other time of year.  How much risk is involved and how the planning and preparation to make it safe is serious business.  How it’s really not a vacation.

And then she bought the most expensive item on the list.  So it was real.  She was coming.

And it was so much fun.
Or at least it was in hindsight, which makes it classic Type 2 Fun. Continue reading

Posted in Adventures | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Winter Camping, Continued

Last week I began the tedious timeline of winter camping.  Some read it as if it were a horror story.  I can feel them cringing yet somehow they didn’t look away because I got plenty of aghast comments.  Other hardy winter lovers read it almost nostalgically; reminiscing over their own adventures in hardship.  Then there are the people who’s eyes brighten with naive interest and then narrow as they ask specific questions.   I can see the gears turning.  It’s both heartwarming and terrifying that I might inspire some to take on these challenges.


The story started at 2am, and last week left off at about 11:45am as we were finally pulling our pulks away from one camp to find another.   It was slow but fairly easy.  That day there were no portages.  The ice was thick.  The sun was bright.  The wind in places was uncomfortable but manageable.  We’d stop in wind protected spots to adjust layers, drink our warm water, snack out of our lunch bags (oat buckeyes, salami, cheese, date rolls, unwrapped candy bites), and pee.

Apparently somewhere in here Annalesa quietly got her tongue stuck to her metal zipper pull.  Later around the fire she explained; her hip was hurting from the previous day of snowshoeing and “I sometimes stick my tongue out when I’m concentrating.” And that’s why her tongue hurt now. Which we all got a lot of giggles out of.   Winter camping provides so many opportunities to laugh at yourself.

We started considering camp spots.  Our first choice turned out to be windier than ideal.  Moving on we ran into overflow (wet slush over the ice, but under the fresh snow).  Looking for spots we kept checking the map and the ice and snow conditions.

We finally found a good place for camp.  We unloaded the pulks.  These are the tasks that get done: Continue reading

Posted in Adventures | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Winter Camping Timeline

A week ago Will and I had our sixth winter camping adventure together.  We’ve had all sorts of experiences out there.  Warm years, wet years, hard years, easy years… It’s always interesting.  This year we took Annalesa and I’m working on telling that story.  In the meanwhile…

There are two types of people when I share that I winter camp:

Some people are immediately horrified by the concept.  They recoil when I tell them as if I was sharing that for my vacation I was going to be suspended on cliff edge in a tank of snakes and spiders while publicly speaking naked.  Not only can they not imagine wanting to do something like winter camp, they don’t even want to hear about it.


Some people are intrigued and drawn to the idea.  These are the people I’m nervous will get inspired and head out there unprepared and end up in Type 3 fun (where someone dies, or close to it.)  They ask what it’s like and how things work and I often struggle to explain how much work it is.

Perhaps a timeline of a typical day would help.

I always have to pee in the middle of the night.  It’s extra hard if it’s -30º out there.  I got mentally prepared, and then found and put on my liner gloves (so not to get contact frost bite from touching things outside my sleeping bag) I unzipped both zippers of my sleeping bag, slid out of my liner bag, pulled out my big puffy jacket and put it on, swiveled around and slid my boots on, wobbled over to my pee spot, undid my fleece onesie, peed.  Then reversed the whole process, pausing only to reinflate my therm-a-rest.  Back in my bag I released one of my two hot water bottles (Nalgeens that were filled with boiling hot water right before bedtime) from their fully encapsulating koozies.  Ahhhhh.  So warm and cozy!  I fell back to sleep.

I woke up because I’d been sleeping for over eight hours.  But was still dark.   Continue reading

Posted in Adventures | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Zest Ed Launched!

Holy mackerel!  We did it.

24 days ago there were 15 days to our Launch Party.  It was years in the making.  And it actually happened!  I got enough done.

It’s no where near our long term dreams, but it’s what we can do now and we’ll take it from here.  It was wonderful to celebrate this milestone with some of the wonderful people who support us.  
Because we’re an education business that’s more about doing than lecturing; we made people do an activity where the end result was a dramatic reading of an original quote about community.

“Be known, be grown, be challenged, find balance.”
“Communities are the duct tape of society.”
“The camaraderie of the hood grows with challenges.”
“We are best supported by those who challenge us.”

After sharing about Zest Ed and what we’re doing we capped off our kick off at the bar.

After the rest of the weekend to recover from the launch I’ve gotten back to work.

This lovely blog got some much needed updates.  I’ve rewritten the About Me page and turned it into About Kym and Will.  And I’ve added a brand new category – Enterprise.  This is where my stories about this new life venture will go.  I’ve moved the last post Things Not Done there.

And of course I’ve updated the project board.  It’s already a week old and it no longer looks quite like this anymore.  Some things have been done, although more things have been added.  Still, I’ve never been so encouraged by things not done.


Curious about what Zest Ed is and what we do?  Check out the beautiful website that Will worked so hard on.  ZestEd.net 


Posted in Enterprise | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Things Not Done – A Story of Progress.

I’m pretty good at getting stuff done.  Most of the time?  Sometimes?  I’m also very good at not doing things.

Two days ago I was feeling quite pleased with the things that were done on my project list.  So pleased that I had to make a new project list.  On a separate daily list I wrote down “make new project list.” Which I did get to check off, even though it meant I didn’t actually get any work done on the project list.

In doing this, I saw two years of photos of my giant whiteboard project lists.  I saw how many things I didn’t do, either at all or on the original timeframe.   Normally this makes me desperately despondent.  I’d be crushed under the impossible weight of undone tasks.  Or I might decide that “None of it really matters. It’s hopeless so why even try?”  Then pretend to be content spending the day in bed.

But not this time!  I am defiant in the face of the zillion things still not done!  Gosh dang it, some things did get done.  There has been progress.

Will and I are starting our own education business!  Our launch party is this January 19th. There will be more announcements and information coming soon.  They’re on the list.

In the meanwhile I thought I’d share the two year story of how we got here with some of the lists of things not done (and some stuff that did).

January 2016, Will and I had both been at our jobs for over 5 years and we were not happy.  Things had not panned out the way we had planned.  We needed to turn the ship around and change course.  I only had the vaguest notion that once upon a time, I had my own program coaching youth and it was awesome.  I wanted to do it again.  Only better.

April 2016
Will got me a giant whiteboard for my birthday.  Nothing says “I love you” like quality office supplies.

At that time I didn’t know what I didn’t know about business.  I was simply trying to find out what there was to learn and do. img_1266-1

May 2016
Nine things on this whiteboard never happened.
Eight of these things did get done, just one whole year after they were scheduled. Continue reading

Posted in Enterprise | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lemon Pepper Pasta

How to write a heartfelt announcement – Step one: Don’t.
Decide to post another “recipe” again.

Step two:  Procrastinate.
Spend two hours reading.  Then spend two hours on flexibility training (aka rolling around on the floor listening to podcasts).  Then spend another couple hours cleaning.  Clean even the things that I’ve procrastinated cleaning (the microwave, the sink drain etc) All good things to do right?

Succumbing to writing another food post is just another reminder that I haven’t written the things I’ve been meaning to write.  Even the fun things about my athletic training haven’t been written.  I blame my overloaded phone which is unable to take any new video of my handstand or dance progress.   That would at least be easer to write about than my career updates.  Which should be super fun to write about but instead is just paralyzing.

So now that I have procrastinated and rationalized, have another food post.

Lemon Pepper Pasta
It was totally delicious, fresh, and exactly what was needed in the midst of cream and sugar and holiday indulgences.

Continue reading

Posted in Kym Cooked | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Broccoli Pesto

It’s that time of year again.  When it’s dark a lot.  Which means unless I go to great effort my food pictures look terrible.  So I present a bit of summer in the winter.  I made this in the bright heat of summer but it’s a great winter meal.  A summery pasta dish made with easy winter vegetables.

Broccoli pesto with roasted cauliflower and little sausages.
Continue reading

Posted in Kym Cooked | Tagged , , | Leave a comment