The big chill: 20 Totally relaxing NON-EPIC things to do Memorial weekend


So it’s Memorial Day weekend. Suppose you have a little time off and you haven’t made any plans. You may be thinkin’ “Heck yeah I want to have a good weekend, but I’ve had a hellaweek and I don’t want to put much effort into it”. Maybe you’d like to say no thank you to the dreaded P’s – The Planning. The Packing. The Paying. The People.

So not everybody on the planet wants to embark on an epic excursion this weekend. Sure, Memorial Day weekend is the symbolic kick-off off to the summer season. That is a big deal – Huge actually, especially in Oregon following a long rainy winter. Still, that doesn’t mean you feel pressure to kill yourself trying to make fun and sun happen right?

Here are 20 totally non-epic ideas that just say NO to the E word: Effort. Sit back, relax, and daydream about embarking on the Anti-Adventure. Here we go.

  1. Take pictures. I took this one of the Yaquina while I was down fishing out of Newport one summer – Took the day off and sat on logs and shot pictures wherever I saw something I liked. I took the picture of the cow in the field not far from my house. Taking pictures is cheap, easy and takes very little effort for a sometimes huge reward. And it’s just plain life-affirming. That may be a tired cliche but it doesn’t change the fact that it is! Photos are like proof that you have one. A life, that is. Bonus Idea: Get the camera warmed up taking those pictures of your stuff you will need to show your insurance company when the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake (a.k.a. The Big One) swallows up your iPAD. Do it! Then store the memory card somewhere safe – You’ll sleep better. Kick back with the photos and reflect on your awesomeness in having accumulated soooo much stuff. After all, that’s the reason you are working so hard, right? Right. But seriously, there is nothing like taking and displaying beautiful photos for fun and relaxation.Oregon Water
  2. Go to the water. Keep it simple. Throw a cooler of drinks and food in the car and go to any beautiful body of water in Oregon. If you are looking for a great escape, go to one that is off the beaten path. Stunning rivers, streams, inlets, the ocean, fountains in the park, it’s all good when it’s Oregon water! Bonus idea (Warning! This idea carries the risk of turning into an epic adventure): Hike to the water! Make it a dual hiking/water combo thingy – Two great things in one day. Check out some beautiful waterfalls – There are literally hundreds of websites to show you great hikes that include great water. Here is one simple little Huffpost travel article:  The 10 most beautiful spring hikes in Oregon.

    Smith Rock
    Smith Rock Terrebonne OR
  3. Go to the casino! It takes next to NO effort. Just drive there and sit. You hardly have to get up at all. Gamble, drink, smoke, do whatever it is you like to do. While sitting. There are a handful of pretty cool casinos around the state, each one is a little different. Here is a website that has a list:
    Spirit Mountain Casino
    Spirit Mountain Casino, Grand Ronde, OR (Attractions: Casinos) I think they’re all pretty fun. I go to Spirit Mountain once in a while, mainly because it’s the closest and it’s big and the buffet has good food and my neighbor used to work there. Looks like Dana Carvey is going to be there Memorial Day weekend – How cool is that? Bonus idea: You could take a short drive down the road to Chinook Winds in Lincoln City and take a walk on the beach while you’re there. There is nothing like a walk on the dramatic oregon coast to totally invigorate you.

  4. Taste some wine! Look at all those cool wine glasses. Don’t they just make you want to get in the car, drive to the country and find some outstanding Oregon wineries? Good because they are everywhere. Taste wine, talk, taste some more, catch a buzz, why not? As long as you have a driver and don’t let on to any highbrows that you are tipsy of course (it’s just not done). Did you know that May is Oregon Wine Month? Check out the website for the Oregon Wine Board – Who knew there were so many events at wineries all over Oregon this weekend!
    Upcoming Events

    Here are some other websites that list literally hundreds of Oregon wineries where you can get outdoors, take some tours, do some wine tasing or eat some good food:

  5. Color. Yes, color. Have you noticed the craft stores have tons and tons of adult coloring things? Books and pens and pencils and pastels and OMG there are like mountains of adult coloring things to choose from for under ten bucks. Release your creativity! Make a pretty Tiffany stain glass coloring page that you can see the light through for next-to-no effort then give it to Aunt Mattie in a $5 Walmart frame. She will adore it! Did you know that coloring makes your brain age slower? For that matter, all the stuff on this list does. You are connecting nuerons in your brain cells every time you do and see new things. I read that on the internet – It must be true….
  6. Watch the Roots remake on TV on Memorial Day. It’s going to be simultaneously tragic and hopeful to go back in time (again) and see where we’ve been in this country compared to where we are now. I was around when the original mini-series aired. Watching that ground-breaking television series was nothing short of life changing to this white girl. If you didn’t see Roots the first time around, I can’t explain how it incredibyly (and painfully) broadened my understanding of the world. So I won’t try. Just watch the remake and judge for yourself.

    Roots: Official Trailer – Premiers Memorial Day 2016
  7. Release the guilt: Break down and call Aunt Myrtle. And while you’re are at it, call your old neighbor who you promised to keep in touch with – Fifteen years ago. And poor Uncle Bert, he’s given you up for dead. Hope his heart holds out when he picks up the phone and…Surprise! You resurrected! OK back to the guilt: Take a deep breath and repeat 3 times “ooohhhmmm” or some other meditative chant. Breathe out. Speak out loud confirming words “Guilt, I set you free – Release me now”. Breathe in. Breathe out again. Rinse. Repeat.. Ahhhh yes. Just…let…guilt…go…as you gently pick up the phone and… give Uncle Bert a coronary. Ya never know when it’s the “last time” right? Damn that guilt. It’s a sneaky snake.
  8. Go outside and grill some chicken. Don’t make a big deal of it, just throw a little seasoning on
    Photo credit: LifeSupercharger via / CC BY
    Photo credit: LifeSupercharger via / CC BY

    some chicken parts and grill them. Potato salad and fried chicken go good together. I like the gourmet deli kind (think Costo). And…

  9. Nothing says summer like corn on the cob! It’s early but it’s not to soon to start scoping out the roadside fruit and vegetable stands to pick up whats in season and to get ready for incredible barbecues and picnics this summer. I was lucky – I grew up on a farm where I got to eat corn right off the stalk. It was absolutely amazing in
    Photo credit: mallydally via / CC BY-ND
    Photo credit: mallydally via / CC BY-ND

    taste and texture. If you haven’t picked up fresh corn from the roadside produce stands, I highly recommend it. Drive out of the way if you have to. Ask the farms you visit when each vegetable and fruit crop will be in and ask if you can buy the same day it’s picked – It makes a huge difference in how other vegetables (and fruits) taste, not only corn. Bonus idea: Ask the farmer if you can have a tour of the farm while you’re there! Especially if you have kids, what an opportunity to get out of the city and expand their life experience. That right there is the kind of stuff that builds character. Yup.corn

  10. Plan your 4th of July epic adventure! Send invitations to your killer party, make reservations for your lodging at that fabulous resort, start getting
    Photo credit: ahisgett via / CC BY

    the camping gear cleaned up and ready, whatever it is you do! How fun is that? Planning vacations when there is plenty of time to do it. It’s gonna be the best one ever. I just feel it.

  11. Organize your playlist and download some new tunes. If you’ve got a playlist, I don’t need to tell you where to go or how to do it so I’ll just remind you: How often do you  get time to pay some serious attention to the quantity and quality of your music? Next week at work when you go to put your earphones in to tune out the noise of your co-workers, your boss, the machinery, winey customers, life, you will be sooo thankful that you took a couple hours or days getting all your soul-inspiring music up to date. It’s priceless.
  12. Meet a neighbor you’ve not met before. Better yet, do you have an elderly lady who’s got a messy yard? Go clean it up! A half a day well spent: Exercise, fresh air and sainthood. What a combo.
  13. Kill some zombies! I’m really far too sophisticated to play zombie games but I must confess there is just something about killing zombies that MAKES MY DAY. It makes me feel powerful. But more importantly, if one morning I wake up and discover to my horror that zombies have invaded my neighborhood, I want to be ready. I’m not kidding – I GOT this. Secret World, Dying Light, there are some really fun ones out there that are free to play! What a fantastic way to try to annihilate the entire zombie population (and the entire Memorial Day weekend). Here’s a list for ya: 50 games featuring people who were alive, are now dead, but are also sorta alive again.  And don’t tell anyone I play The Secret World – It’s a secret…..ssshhh….

    The Secret World

  14. Farmer’s Market. One time I found this old boot filled with cactus. It was so awesome, I gave it to my daughter. I think she threw it away. I guess it probably stunk like an old boot with a plant in it from the farmer’s market. But I thought it was a work of art. I have this really goofy fish on a stick, it’s like a bloated bluefin tuna poking up out of my flowerbed (Yes really). I found it at the farmer’s market and it makes me happy – It reminds me of fishing. Where else could you possibly find treasures like these? And food! Real food! The stuff that comes straight outta the ground. I like to just pull off the highway at any old farmers market, score a big container of cherries or tomatos or whatever super healthy yummy goodness is in season and scarf it. If I eat too much so what; it’s good for me right? market
  15. It’s strawberry season! OK so that’s seriously EPIC if you love strawberries like I do. But if you control your enthusiasm (and your consumption) it could be relaxing.strawberry mouth I remember with total excitement and no small amount of gluttony the first time I went to the Lebanon Strawberry Festival (which is next weekend by the way, link: I could not believe there were all the strawberries I could ever eat. You work very hard. You deserve to take time out during Oregon’s short strawberry season and have a few minutes of bliss eating a REAL strawberry shortcake desert. Total yum.strawberriesAlso check out the U-Pick farms all over the state. You can go pick your own berries and have some fun doing it. The berries are usually fresh and excellent and reasonably priced. Here is one handy U-Pick Website that shows when and where different crops are available to U-Pick throughout oregon.
  16. Hang around some trees. Check out this beautiful specimen:TREEI like to call this my tree but he is really his own tree. But as self-sufficient and independent as this tree is, this is one of the trees I love. I have actually hugged this tree. (No snarky tree-hugger comments please). And I have yelled at it (I apologized later). This tree and his friends have become my friends. If you live in Oregon you better make friends with the trees – They are everywhere. And the funny thing is…the longer you hang with your tree friends, the better and more connected to the earth you feel. Things just seem more real. So go visit some trees this weekend. If you already live amongst them, touch them, hug them, talk to them and if you dare, climb them! Be one with the most awesome and awe-inspiring structures known to man – Oregon trees.
  17. Grind some really good coffee beans and brew them up yourself. Put some real vanilla and sugar or coconut oil or something super yummy that you like in your coffee but never take the time to do coffee beansfrom scratch. It might take 15 to 30 minutes but you are worth it and, what a fantastic start to a long weekend day. Then sit back and savor your concoction and the fact that you did this wonderful tasty thing for yourself! It can be like the coffee commercials say it can be! Picture fabulous you living your version of the perfect life, a dreamy faraway gaze, cradling a steaming cup of liquid motivation in your well manicured hands. Feel it. Become it. Whatever it means, make it happen this weekend…with coffee.
  18. You really gotta do this one: Get on Google Earth and look at neighborhoods in foregin countries! It’s crazy entertaining and something I keep meaning, and forgetting, to do more of. So far I’ve just gone to a few places in Central America. Why I haven’t made time to see more of the world, I haven’t a clue. But when I have, it’s fun and informative. I walk away with an awesome feeling of getting outside of myself and my little itsy bitsy world and that can’t be bad.

    Google Earth
    Google Earth
  19. Quit worrying about savings, retirement, whatever it is you worry about. Take five bucks and make a plan. Sign up for auto withdrawals at your job or at your bank or whatever it takes to say “NOW I have a retirement savings account that happens automatically” (or a fall back savings account or an emergency fund or whatever it is that the lack of keeps you awake at night). Just do it while you are not worrying! You’ll feel soooo stellar and responsible when you go back to work next week and try to make another 5 bucks….
  20. So here is an idea to cap your weekend: Pink FlowerVisit the grave of a war vet who you did not know when he or she was alive. Place a flower on the veteran’s gravesite. Say thank you. Ponder what life was like for that vet, during the time they lived, during the time they died. Go deep and cry a little. Hopefully you walk away with a greater appreciation of what you have. What we all have.

    And I hope YOU have a super awesomely non-epic weekend!

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