#17 – Learn how to make fortune cookies. Check…

When it comes to this goal, I think the operative word here is learn. Did we learn to make fortune cookies? Technically yes. The process itself, though, was not as easy as the internet makes it seem. While preparing to learn to … Continue reading

#22 – Paddleboard in the ocean. Check.

Per my previous post of listing My Top 11 Goals of All-Time, this was originally posted in 2016.


As I had already found that stand up paddle boarding in lakes and rivers is relatively easy, my next goal was to try it out in the ocean. Surely the waves would make SUP more challenging, and where else to try than in Hawaii?

The thing about paddle boarding is that it’s seriously easy for pretty much everyone…or so I thought. Thor is notoriouslybetter than me (and everyone else on the planet) at just about everything. A couple days ago we decided to play shuffleboard (both of us being equally new to it) and he won every single game. For the last ten years of our marriage, this is the status quo; I’m always the persistent sidekick, and he’s the naturally talented hero.

So when we rented paddle boards ($40 for the whole day) and drug them down to the beach, I was like, “Paddle out on your knees and then just stand up. You’ll get it.” But within the first five minutes, he had already lost his sunglasses from repeatedly falling back into the water. Meanwhile, I was paddling circles around him, “Less upper body; more centered on the board!”

While the ocean waves added a bit of challenge, it wasn’t any harder than navigating a boat’s wake in the river. I paddled back and forth across the bay. Thor, on the other hand, got frustrated and went inside after an hour.

Overall, I’m glad I tried paddle boarding in the ocean, although it didn’t end up being the workout I had hoped for. Also, once he had gone inside and I was all alone way out where the bay becomes the realocean, I kept thinking, “What if a shark finds me? No one will know.” Then my eyes were playing tricks on me and I was seeing shadows circle my board and I decided to franticallypaddle back in.

Sadly, I couldn’t take any pictures because we were in the water but you get the idea.

#21 – Ride the ferry from Maui to Lanai. Check.

Per my previous post of listing My Top 11 Goals of All-Time, this was originally posted in 2016.


Originally, I had hoped to ride a ferry from Maui to Molokai. Who doesn’t want a tour of a historical leper colony? Also, having already been to the other main islands many times over, I was hoping for a more secluded experience, if only for a day.

I had a vague picture in my head of what I wanted to do: ride the ferry (seeing a few whales and dolphins along the way), find a lonely beach, eat a picnic lunch and possibly take the official tour of the leper colony.

However, once we arrived in Maui and I started doing my homework, the only ferry I could find was pricey ($125 roundtrip, not including a car rental or shuttle) and it departed at 6:30am and didn’t return again until 7:00pm – that sounded seriously exhausting. But from our hotel beach, I could also see Lanai in the distance, as well. So I did some searching.

For $60 roundtrip, and multiple choices for departure and arrival, Lanai seemed to be the ticket. I read that a great beach was only a ten minute walk from the ferry dock, and that if we wanted to go to town, a shuttle could take us there for $10. So yesterday, that’s what we did.

It was easy to buy ferry tickets on http://go-lanai.com a couple days beforehand, and then boarded the top deck for a 6:45am departure. Once we took off, we caught the sunrise and immediately spotted several whale pods.



The ride took about 45 minutes and we quickly unloaded at the Manele dock. It really did feel like we were in the middle of nowhere. Hotels and condos did not litter coast line (in fact, there were none at all), and the dock was just big enough for our boat.IMG_6873.JPG

Right down the road, we found Hulopo’e Beach – not exactly super private, as many locals were camping and the Four Seasons guests had fancy lounge chairs set up – but it was still a far cry from our crazy busy Napili Bay beach. The sand was powder fine and the snorkeling was the best of our trip. There were even bathrooms and a shower.IMG_6874.JPG

We spent the day lounging, and even though we could have eaten at the Four Seasons, we packed sandwiches and Hawaiian Suns and lots of water. When it got too hot we found shade in the grass and watched wild turkeys roam the park until it was time to get back on the ferry. IMG_6878.JPG

Upon further investigation, it would run you about $2000 a night to stay at the Four Seasons in Lanai. Bummer. But I still enjoyed watching the 1% be waited on hand and foot (the beach valet literally set up their lounge chairs, umbrellas, towels, paddle boards, etc).

I totally crashed out on the ferry ride home, and we still had plenty of time. For us, it was a good way to get away from the crowds (these spring break families are killingvme!) and get some really good snorkeling in. Thor even said it was his favorite day of the trip (until today where he vegged out endlessly).

More info about Hulopo’e Beach can be found here: http://www.gohawaii.com/en/lanai/regions-neighborhoods/south-lanai/hulopoe-bay-lanai/

#5 – Hike the 30-mile Wildwood Trail. Check.

Per my previous post of listing My Top 11 Goals of All-Time, this was originally posted in 2017.


Early October in Portland is one of the most pleasant times of the year. It’s sunny and crisp; that perfect fall campus weather for being outdoors without freezing or sweating. As we had today off from work (statewide inservice day), Courtney and I decided to tackle our last leg of Forest Park’s 30.5 mile Wildwood Trail. Back in July, I posted about our experimentto see if we could do the entire 30.5 miles in one day. We discovered that 22 miles was about all our bodies could handle and agreed that we would finish the final 7ish miles on a separate hike.

But 7 miles sounds a bit weak after both a 14 and 22 mile hike. As we’ve always finished  at Skyline Tavern (as the view and the pitcher of beer are a critical element of success), we decided to start and finish at the same destination, rounding out at 14 mile hike again. This way, we’ve covered all 30.5 total miles of the Wildwood trail in respectable chunks.

Skyline Tavern is right where Waterline and Skyline meet (see below).

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The morning was great. We filled up at Taco Bell for breakfast (guys, you really have to try to Naked Egg Taco) and hit the trail.


Like I said, a crisp and sunny morning. It was so warm that I had to strapp my light rain jacket onto my backpack, and pack away my gloves. We made our first 7 miles in almost exactly three hours, and took a short rest.


Once Wildwood officially ended at Newberry, we doubled back.

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At this point, the story takes a bit of a turn. The clouds rolled in, the rain began to fall, and we saw a questionable pile of bear scat. Within a mile, we heard a roaring sound in the distance, upon which a massive hail storm unleashed upon us. I threw on my pathetically light rain jacket and we picked up the pace, but really when you have six more miles to go – none of that matters.


One of my Danner boots began to fill with water and my iWatch was so wet it began butt texting everyone with wild abandon (sorry, everyone). While the hail occasionally let up, the rain did not, and then new mountains of hail were pelting us among claps of thunder. For reference, KATU Weather did not predict this storm when we checked in the morning.

We trudged through it, and the weather cleared close to the end. While we knew we should stretch a bit before sitting down, our wet and cold bodies just wanted to hunch over mugs of hot water.

The goal was never to knock out all 30 miles in one day (although that would be sweet), but through this process we actually covered 50 full miles, which is considerably more than originally intended. We can now successfully check this 30 miles off the bucket list, and think about what other hiking feats we might consider when the weather clears…in nine months.

Repost: #13 – Fly international first class. Check.

Per my previous post of listing My Top 11 Goals of All-Time, this was originally posted earlier this year.


Last year at this time, Thor and I spent our spring break in Paris and Barcelona. A couple hours into our 20 hour trip home, I began throwing up violently. It reigns one of the top worst moments in my life, with my face repeatedly hovered over an airplane toilet seat, heaving up my European breakfast, and then later twisting and turning in my tiny airplane seat as my kidneys shriveled up. When Thor asked the flight attendant if she had any medicine, she rolled her eyes and handed him a ginger ale…which I proceeded to throw back up.

I swore to never again fly economy international.

This year, we cashed in thousands of miles for FIRST CLASS tickets to London and Prague. “Now you can casually stroll to the first class bathrooms when you need to puke,” Thor said. Ha.

Before I go further, I want to travel back a good ten years. Good old 2007. The Apple iPhone was gaining traction, and friends around me were beginning to declare the “life-changing” effect it had upon them. But I waited and waited and waited (years, even) before getting my first iPhone. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe them – no. It was that I was so convinced it would forever change me that I wanted to hold out as long as possible – savoring the last bits of an analog life. I was not yet ready to turn away from the cave wall. Once I beheld my first iPhone, it was over, and I could never go back.

I tell this story because I knew this would happen with flying international first class. Dudes, I can never go back. Plato has spoken, and I have turned away from the cave wall and found fire.

First Class Fact #1: I already have TSA Precheck so skipping to the front of the security line is no surprise for me, but skipping to the front of the Delta check-in line on the first day of spring break was an added bonus. This skipping in front of the plebeians became a theme for the entire first class experience.

First Class Fact #2: After a simple 8 minute check-in and walk through security, we were invited to the Delta Sky Club Lounge. We nibbled on on the breakfast bar while lounging amongst other high end travelers. This included a very clean, very VIP bathroom.


First Class Fact #3: After skipping past the commoners at the gate, we began settling in the first class cabin. The flight attendant introduced herself as our burser and offered mimosas, champagne, or any other cocktail we might prefer before departing while also browsing the menu for our desired main course later on.

First Class Fact #4: I spent time orienting myself to the vast amenities and personal space. My seat reclined in every possible direction while I was given a full-sized pillow, comforter, and TUMI travel case stuffed with things like slippers, Kiehl’s lip gloss, and an eye mask. Just around the corner was the first class bathroom, where there was never a line.


You guys, these grilled peaches with mascarpone and bacon is just the first course.

First Class Fact #5: After departing, were immediately served with another drink and a warm snack, which was followed by our first course. Already full, I was then given my main course (grilled salmon served on a cedar plank with seasonal asparagus).

First Class Fact #6: Feeling so full and so comfortable, I had no wants or needs. But wait! The burser rolled over a dessert cart, complete with an ice cream sundae bar. I chose the cheese plate.



First Class Fact #7: Now fully satiated, the cabin lights were dimmed and I fully reclined my seat, situated in its own little pod so I couldn’t even see other passengers.

First Class Fact #8: Hours later I awoke and was immediately offered a snack, and then a choice of breakfast, with hot pastries and coffee or tea service.






Oh look – it’s 10 hours into traveling and I don’t want to die!

First Class Fact #9: As if all of our needs weren’t already met, we were given a Fast Pass for use at customs once we landed. We breezed past all the passengers and long customs lines, and quickly picked up our baggage.

Having landed at 7am London time, we were able to generally wander around the city with energy, rather than the usual fogginess of jet lag.

Naturally, I caught some sort of European bronchitis and was miserably sick for our trip home. Unlike the hellish flight back from Barcelona, I was able to stay hydrated, relax my aching body, and watch an entire season of Game of Thrones in relative comfort.

Now that I’ve sold you on this experience, you’re probably asking, “How much does an international first class ticket run?” (Keeping in mind, we used miles and kicked in a few hundred dollars).

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OUCH. That much?! Save your miles, people, it was worth it.

Repost: #21 – Learn how to build a snow cave. Check.

Per my previous post of listing My Top 11 Goals of All-Time, this was originally posted in December of 2015.


When I was 16, sitting in Driver’s Ed, we watched a really cheesy video where the camera was angled behind the steering wheel of a car and the driver (supposedly you) was faced with a variety of ridiculous obstacles: a child runs into the road after their toy, another driver swerves in your lane, a dog chases a cat into the street, a pile of wood falls off the back of a pick up truck, and so on. Akin to Nintendo’s Paperboyexcept really, really lame. The lesson of the video was, “Always leave yourself an out.” As in, always be aware that a murder of crows might swoop into your lane as you’re enjoying a Sunday drive – you better be prethinking which way you might swerve to avoid killing yourself and others.

The video was beyond corny, but the message remains. When I’m driving, I usually amleaving myself an out – to the extreme. Like when I drive over a bridge, will I roll down the windows as I fly towards the water? Will I shield my face from the airbag?  And so it goes into the areas of survival in my life. When I fly on a plane, I wear suitable footwear for escaping in dark, fiery madness.

But what if I were marooned in the snow, how would I find shelter? After learning to make fire with flint a few years ago (intensely laborious!), the assumption that I could just whip up a snow shelter seemed naive. I need practice.

Lucky for me, my friend, David, is about as crazy as I am. This morning we woke up early and headed for the mountain, finally packed with fresh snow. He kept asking, “What’s the plan? What’s the plan?” and honestly, I didn’t really have one. Step one: find snow. Step two: make a cave?

We ended up at Timberline Lodge, followed a short snowshoeing trail, randomly picked a hill covered in snow, and started digging. At first, David seemed to think we needed tools, but should we reallybe stuck someday, it’s doubtful that we would be lucky enough to have equipment. I insisted that we use our hands.

We both got to digging quickly, but after struggling to carve out an area for at least 30 minutes with my hands, I knew there had to be a better way. I saw David kicking snow out of his quickly evolving snow shelter so I developed a pretty successful technique of kicking at the inside of my shelter backwards(like donkey kicks) and then sweeping out the loose snow with my feet. David’s method what much more efficient, although I’m still not sure what he was doing.IMG_6080.jpg

Sometimes I would even lay on my back, shield my face and give some Streetfighter Chun-Li Lighting Kick action, then stand up and sweep out the snow.


On my back, looking in

But it was hardwork. I imagine that if I’m ever really stuck, I won’t be digging out my snow cave on a stomach full of crab omelet like today. That being said, it was still a fun challenge. We even built a little connected mail chute between our caves.


In the end, we spent about two solid hours making our caves, and mine could have used a lot more work. Thor told me that we should have light a candle to make an ice glaze, but it’s not like we were hanging out in them all day so we didn’t. But….I seriously could see making a sweet cave and roasting marshmallows for an afternoon in the future.


David will be making more appearances in 2016, since he claims he can teach me how to catch a fish with my bare hands…

Repost: #8 – Learn to Snowshoe. Check.

Per my previous post of listing My Top 11 Goals of All-Time, this was originally posted in December of 2013.


Finally! TWO YEARS I’ve been waiting to do this one. Last year, the snow sucked and my knee wasn’t as ready as I had anticipated after surgery, so I postponed my “Learn How to Snowshoe” goal to this year. Then last month, my friend, Frances, and I trekked to Sunriver, Oregon (a total mountain town) thinking that in late November, the mountain would be teeming with fresh powder, but it was dry as a bone.

This weekend it was now or never. Early this morning, Frances and our friend, Jennifer, headed with me to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. Last week it was like -2 degrees up there, today it was above freezing. Go figure. Lucky for us, that meant the parking lot had ample spots and we could easily take their snowshoe trail without a lot of people around.

A little history: I was a frequent skier from about 10 years old till my teens, wherein I took up snowboarding. I consistently had a season pass and even met one of my best friends, Julia, in a snowboard class in college. It wasn’t until my 31st birthday where I blew out my knee playing soccer that my mountain days suddenly came to a halt. I know that I will probably never snowboard again (my surgeon didn’t recommend it, and I’m not willing to take the chance), but not being involved in wintertime snow activities just isn’t an option. Today was a great because I knew I had officially found my new thing.

First off, my new snowshoes fit and I was happy that they strapped on much like a snowboard. Second, SNOWSHOEING IS HARD WORK! I guess I was imagining a gentle walk along a flat trail, but we hiked a little over a mile with a 1,000 elevation gain, not to mention the gale force wind resistance all the way up. It was exhausting, but in a good, safe-for-my-knee kind of way. We even got above the clouds for some sunshine.

I would say it wasn’t quite as fun as snowboarding (I mean, we didn’t get to fly down the mountain after our laborious climb), but it was still really fun. And snowshoeing seems to require very little skill, other than the ability to hike.

Silcox Hut at 7,000 feet

A major upshot of snowshoeing versus snowboarding is it’s WAY cheaper! Beyond the fact that I bought a pair of show shoes for $80, versus my snowboard set up which cost me about $400, I didn’t have to purchase anything other than a snow park. No lift ticket or annual pass. Hel-lo! Wayyyyy cheaper!

So who wants to go snowshoe with me now?

My Top 11 Goals of All-Time

Believe it or not, I have officially completed 103 goals since setting out on this weird bucket list adventure starting in 2012. I remember reading that if you set 20 goals a year, you could complete 200 in a decade … Continue reading

The Homestretch Part II

Earlier this week I wrote about the goals I was definitely not going to cross off this year, and now it’s time to talk about the ones I still have time to check off.

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4. Try six new types of massage

I’ll be honest – when I wrote this goal I thought it would be a creative way to sneak in some more self care, and  I CAN’T BELIEVE I HAVEN’T DONE THIS YET. In truth, I’ve gone to the same massage therapist for six years and the idea of doing something different feels like I’m cheating on him. I might try something different around the holidays, but cramming in six new massages is…unlikely…

6. Get my flute a professional tune up

Last year, Thor made a flippant comment that I couldn’t play the flute (which is factually untrue). My flute is desperately out of shape and out of tune, and I had this grand plan to get a tune up (which can run a few hundred dollars), practice the shit out of an advanced song, and then blow his mind with my flute skills. At one point, I even thought that I might just bust it out at a party and blow the mind of all my friends. I’m not saying this isn’t going to happen, but it’s looking less and less likely…


8. Take three art classes

One of the biggest voids in no longer being a classroom teacher is not engaging in drawing/art on a regular basis. I thought that taking a few classes would get me back into a routine, and I’ve identified several online classes that I can take at my own pace. This does NOT mean that I want you to invite me to a wine and paint night. I’m talking REAL art. This one is in the works…

10. Learn how to make a prime rib

I can bake one helluva turkey. I save this savory experience for late December and basically gorge until I want nothing to do with turkey. This year, I’d like to expand my holiday baking into prime rib. Now that we are in our new house with a Wolf Gourmet Convection Oven, it’s time to earmark an afternoon for the task.

11. Have a holiday night at the Crystal Ballroom downtown Portland

Last year, my friend, Kylene, told me that she and her husband have an annual tradition of booking a night at the Crystal Ballroom and having a holiday-themed get-a-way; they go to dinner, do something festive, and enjoy the holiday spirit. I immediately stole this and put it on my bucket list. When I went to book a room, I realized that Thor and I already have “our” place at the Hotel Monaco. We spent our wedding night at HM and also threw a penthouse pizza party on our 10th anniversary. It seemed appropriate to return. Stay tuned.

17. Learn how to make fortune cookies

Ugh – this stupid goal! I failed to check it off in 2016 and thought it was worth a revisit. When my friend, Darcy, recently told me a story about keeping her cookie fortunes, I convinced her to try this with me next month, which will inevitably make it way more fun.

19. Cycle 2000 miles

Ugh – another stupid goal! In reality, I’ve cycled over 1600 miles this year, but at this rate I’ve got to cycle about 70 miles a week in order to make it to 2000 by NYE. I have a feeling that I’ll be living on my Peloton bike during winter break – which is probably a good thing since I’ll have a million fortune cookies to eat.

Basically, what I’m saying is that December is going to be one busy month.


#14 – Create an emergency plan. Check.

Disaster preparedness is always on my mind. Whether I’m in the car, at my desk, or traveling on the road, I always have a few (or many) survival items on hand. Wayyyyy back in 2012, my bucket list included making … Continue reading