There's nothing like the wild beat of the Oregon surf to calm the nerves and welcome the advent of another year on this earth. Our fantastic, beautiful and brilliant friends Brian and Nancy invited us to join them at the little slice of heaven known as Gleneden Beach. There they had rented a very fine house on a low cliff, and it was there under the cloudless sky and against the softly tufted sand hills that I turned 41. My daughter and their two sons treated me to a gorgeous, hand-decorated birthday cake, and the waves showed off their finest summer colors of aqua and deep-blue. Formations of Pelicans flew low over the water, and a seal slapped its flippers in pique from the breakers. Loyal friends and gorgeous nature, dolphin kites and angel-food cake, pelicans and riptides, it was an aquatic birthday dream come true.