#2: Throw a Summer Beach Bonfire Party. Check.

Ok, I’ll admit this one was really easy. It’s not exactly the physical and mental fortitude of a burpee mile, or the long term dedication and commitment of getting a new job, but it’s something I wanted to do – so there!

Last summer over Labor Day weekend, a few friends and I thought we would venture out to Sauvie Island and have a bonfire. Technically, you’re not supposed to be there after dark, or have a fire, so we were a little nervous. But if you ever go to the island’s beach, you’ll see plenty of evidence that others have had nighttime fires. And back in the fall when we were in the midst of our Sheriff’s Citizen Academy, we asked one of the deputies if they cared about river fires, and the looked at us with a raised eyebrow and said, “Uh, we have better things to do.” Thus, with a little more planning, I figured I could finish out the summer with my best buds.

For those not totally familiar with Sauvie Island, it’s pretty much all farmland and wildlife preserve. 


The first thing people ask me when I tell them that I like get my bronze on at island’s beach is, “Do you go to the naked beach…??” To which I reply, “Yessss…but fully clothed.” It’s true. A very large section of the beach is “clothing optional” and you’ll see people out playing beach volleyball and bocce ball and partying on their boats completely au natural. Clothing, no clothing, or a little bit in between – it’s your choice; like my friend, David, who dons his speedo. Welcome to Portland.

Several weeks ago I invited some friends to join me, toasting one of the last days of summer (yeah, I know summer technically goes till late September, but for those of us in education, it ends when the school year begins). The weather was perfect and we had the entire beach to ourselves. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire (built by my eagle scout husband, Thor), kicked back a few beers, and did our thing. 



IMG_2726In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m someone who like seasonal traditions, so hopefully this becomes an annual outing. 

Don’t be sad! Summer’s not over yet! You, too, can still do a bonfire of your own! Here was our checklist for guaranteed fun:

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This weekend I was talking with a friend about my progress (or lack thereof) for my list, and yet I don’t feel guilty in the slightest. In 2012, my list was soley based on getting over my mind-numbing frustration of blowing out my knee and not getting to participate in the things that make my life fun…so I made a list to FORCE myself into new experiences regardless of a physical handicap.

Even though I really do still have chronic knee pain and can’t do ALL the things I used to do, I’ve made some serious progress and I don’t feel like my daily life is hindered at all now that my knee surgery is a good year behind me. 

My list is still very relevant. I think about it daily. I have several upcoming plans to cross some items off my list. But in the meantime, here are some rad things I have done in the last month that prove I am living the dream.


1. Rode business class on the train to Seattle to go to the Emerald City Comic Con. Ballin’.


2. Had a giant lamb shank at The Dahlia Lounge with my highly fun and talented friends, Devon, Liz, and Jon.

3. Had the absolute BEST private karaoke experience at Voicebox with my friends Courtney, Kristin, Steve, and Tiffany.


4. Drank the best pina colada ever made on the beach of the Mauna Kea Hotel.


5. Ran a minimum of 3 miles every day of my vacation in Hawaii.

6. Hiked the trail down to the Captain Cook Monument, which is only accessible by hiking or boating.


7. Saw whales and turtles on our last day at the beach, also on the Mauna Kea.

8.  Ran more laps than any of my students at a Run for the Arts fundraiser…proving I still got it.


9. Started a new weekly boot camp class, hosted by my trainer Rachel.

10. Stayed at the Oxford Hotel in Bend with my friend, Kerrie, where we exploited the fancy mattresses, pillows, and room service.



21. Dig My Own Clams…not quite yet…

This last weekend I accompanied 12 other ladies to Rockaway Beach to hang out and, well, hang out. There wasn’t much of a plan (which I appreciated since I’m not huge on itineraries) but the possibility of digging clams was thrown out there. We started out by eating, drinking, hot tubbing, walking on the beach. 

While everyone else was sleeping off their hangover on Saturday morning, I got up bright and early for a sunrise run on the beach and then had a leisurely breakfast as the rest of the crew slowly roused themselves awake. However, by the time we looked up the low tide schedule and then investigated what we might need to actually DIG the clams, we has essentially missed our window. 

At the marina, a very nice woman was explaining how we would dig the clams and where we would need to go, but she was trying to get us to rent a boat for $65 and, frankly, my boat experiences have not been the best (explained in my next post) and the whole point of digging clams (in my mind) is having some cheap fun. For $65, I could buy a gaggle of fresh Dungeoness crab instead…so despite my friend, Frances’, pressing to just do it, I said no.

Instead, we went back to the beach house, Frances whipped up some mobile bloody marys, and we drove to Nehalem State Park to investigate where we were theoretically supposed to dig clams. We wandered and enjoyed the incredibly unseasonable January sunshine, and drank our bloody marys on the beach. We may not have dug any clams (yet!) but we still had fun! Oh yeah – and we also saw a baby deer…definitely a win.Image