strawberry jam

It’s Oregon strawberry season!

While I could spend at least a paragraph – maybe even two – talking about how truly special Oregon strawberries are and why they are different (translated: better) than strawberries grown anywhere else, I figure – why waste my precious typing fingers when my friend Krista really said it best in one of her recent blog posts? Check it out here.

The season is so short that if you blink, you’ll miss it. And since more often than not, half the season consists of the crummiest of crummy (Wait, did I just make that up…crummiest of crummy? Why yes, I did!) weather, we usually miss the opportunity to go out and pick our own strawberries on Sauvie Island.

Not this year! Mother Nature served up a lovely u-pick opportunity just in time for Kruger Farm’s annual Father’s Day weekend “Berry Jam.” So, off we went for a couple of hours of working the fields with the sun beating down and Mount Hood watching over us as we labored.

It was ‘berry’ hard work, but hey, someone’s gotta do it.

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cheers to good culture

I very much appreciate that Jeff’s employer, Point B, puts great emphasis on cultivating a strong employee culture. Each year they go out of their way to host “culture events” not just for the associates, but also for their partners and sometimes, the whole family.

The past few years they’ve hosted a day of wine tasting and not surprisingly, Jeff and I are always happy to partake. The day includes visits to three wineries with private tastings, a private lunch hosted by one of the wineries and of course, some wine to take home. This year’s event was this past Saturday. We visited Soter Vineyards, Willakenzie Estate and ended at Solena Estate. All were fabulous, though Soter was my favorite; a gorgeous by-appointment-only glass tasting room on a hill overlooking the valley, that happens to double as the part of the owner’s second home. I was ready to move in.

The whole day is always a fun time…I’m already looking forward to next year.

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weekend (re)treat

Last week we had a nice visit from Grandma Jeanette and Grandpa Gene from San Antonio. With one of our two largest fundraising events of the year on Friday night and a member magazine that was just going to press, the beginning of their visit was the height of what had been a slightly insane May at work. (And preceded by an insane summer.)

By Saturday morning I was breathing a million sighs of relief at the thought of having at least a few days of reprieve – made even better by the fact that they had kindly agreed to watch Ian and Elena Sunday evening to Monday while Jeff and I spent a night away in Cannon Beach.

We love Cannon Beach. It’s such a quaint and pretty little town, and the fact that it’s a mere 1.5 hours from Portland makes it that much better. Of course, as much as I love the whole Oregon coast for its sheer beauty, the one thing I’ve learned for sure that you can depend on is that you can never depend on the weather there. We’ve had days where it’s 90 in Portland and clear as a bell until the last two minutes of the drive into town and it instantly turns foggy and chilly. All you can do is accept that it’s part of the charm of living in the Pacific Northwest.

But when Jeff and I departed the house on our little beach adventure mid-Sunday afternoon, for once we had no weather expectations. It was just okay in Portland and in fact, we fully expected it to be overcast and chilly at the beach. Imagine our surprise when we rolled into town with the sun shining and not a cloud in the sky. Even the locals always seem pleasantly surprised when this happens!

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a million bucks

In some ways we are still in recovery mode from our housing exploits of 2011. Still, it’s easy to forget how our whole adventure got started, particularly given that we ended up a mere 18 blocks from where we started and in the same schools – which was entirely not our original intention. Funny how real life happens that way, huh?

So, just what was our intention for those who may not remember or heck, even have cared? In our dream of dreams, it was to find a gem. A diamond in the rough, if you will. Yes, we had some very specific ideas in our head of what that might look like – lots of glass, light, built in the 60s, maybe, mid-centuryish, clean lines, something that was cheap enough to take and make our own. That was, well, as I just mentioned – our dream of dreams. The flip side – and this is where Jeff and I didn’t always agree – was that I’ve always personally really liked ranch-style homes – if not built in the 60s, then the 50s could work, too. (Jeff’s issue with many ranches was their long, narrow, closed in-feeling.)

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let’s talk about the weather

It happened tonight while I was on my way to pick up Elena after work. My first hint of frustration that over the next few months will more than likely turn into all-out anger and bitterness.

It’s actually been silently building all week. I was trying to suppress it, much like when I’m dying to make a little after-dinner trip to the yogurt shop across the street. It was Facebook’s fault, I think. All these so-called “friends” posting from DC about how warm it’s been. “Grilling season has officially begun!” posted one with a picture of her boys before dinner outside on their deck. “I should have never gone outside for lunch because now I just don’t want to go back!” posted another. Then a comment from my mother-in-law in Texas, “It’s been 80 here.” Followed by a picture of my nephew on the playground from my sister-in-law there…I couldn’t help but notice the bright sunshine and clear skies in the background. Of course, it’s central Texas. I mean, isn’t 80 like the annual low temp there? Still, it sounded nice.

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