summer rules

Last weekend marked one of two weekends this summer that found us with no commitments and I was determined to make it count. Especially because, as promised, we woke up to a gorgeous morning. The one catch was that, as happens every now and then, I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a Mac truck. Though I’ve been “diagnosed” with fibromyalgia twice in the past five years, I’m not buying it. But on this morning I felt like a classic fibromyalgia patient, at least from what I’ve read. Every ounce of me wanted to crawl back into bed and let my body lay there for the rest of the day. But mentally, I was having none of it.

I was having that familiar feeling of summer when you are suddenly free from the commitments of regular life and enticed to take advantage of the Pacific Northwest summer before it disappears as quickly as it came. Following some calls and exploration of an impromptu afternoon and overnight at the coast, we decided that an afternoon drive out to the Gorge best suited our situation. So off we went. First stop was lunch at Shirley’s Tippy Canoe, which offers casual outdoor seating along the Sandy River, and surprisingly kind of awesome lunch. By the time we got to Shirley’s, I was feeling better already.

After Shirley’s we headed up to Larch Mountain with the iPod sharing our favorite tunes. As a colleague later asked, “Oh, can’t you hike up there?” Um yeah, you can, but you can also drive to a parking lot and then venture out on the shortest “hike” known to mankind. And that’s how we roll, I don’t mind saying.

So here we are, on our “hike” to Larch Mountain and reminded of how awesome summer is here:

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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.

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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quality time at the p. patch

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Well, it’s that time of year again…when we traipse out to Sauvie Island in search of the Great Pumpkin and hope it doesn’t decide to pour rain on us. Lately we’ve been so preoccupied with shoving our poor children into the car on weekends in search of the perfect home that we decided that we at least owed them a trip to The Pumpkin Patch. And yes, I mean literally, The Pumpkin Patch. That’s what the place is called. Clever, right?

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