Monday, January 30, 2012

Jelly Head

Alright everyone, let’s start a rally chant:

Kelly’s! Jelly! Kelly’s! Jelly!

Today a giant box of Kelly’s Jelly arrived at the Canary office. 12 jars of melt in your mouth, heaven-infused, deliciousness. Kelly walked in as a celebrity in our office… we could not have been more thrilled if the ghost of Elvis Presley graced us with his presence, swinging hips and all. Well, maybe the swinging hips would have been exciting (remember that next time Kelly!).

To make the day even better, Kelly brought along a fun-pack of ecstasy, a few mini jars of Habanero Jelly that she said I could “keep in my purse or at the office.” Also included were a couple of samples of her Pine-A-Pino Jelly…. Pineapple and Jalapeno. It is as if she reached into the far crevasses of my jelly-delusioned mind and brought forth the inner wishes of my heart. Pineapple. Jalapeno. Kelly’s Jelly. Apparently, Kelly is trying to fuel my addiction. Someone should report her. (Just kidding, she’s very nice.)

So now that I have a case of Kelly’s Jelly, along with super cute mini jars of Kelly’s Jelly to inject into my system (you know, for just whenever), I can now work myself into a sweet and spicy coma and life can going on ticking by with a slow chant of “Kelly’s! Jelly! Kelly’s! Jelly!” intertwined in my thoughts following me throughout my day.

If I go missing, check under my desk at work. I will probably have turned into a drooling, shaking, pepper-crazed Jelly Head.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Pumpkin Who Lived

You may remember me telling you about our two pumpkins that we grew in our garden and harvested back in September. But then again, you may have more important things in your life to remember like ATM pin numbers, passwords to your Facebook account, and your wedding anniversary, and the status of my garden is probably pretty low on your totem pole of memory. In which I will remind you- we grew two beautiful pumpkins last fall.

As a whole, our first garden was a pretty good success, with enough zucchini, squash, and tomatoes to stock an entire farmer's market for a month, but then again we did pick the easiest possible plants to grow and had a really great plot with a lot of sun. We can't take too much credit... but the pumpkins, we are proud of. We have several gardening friends, many of which with a much more earthy green thumb than we possess, however none were able to produce pumpkins this year. I don't know if it was an off year for the pumpkin or if we just picked the little lucky starter off the shelf, but our pumpkins grew fast and large. By the time we went back to NC for the wedding, we were able to cut two perfectly shaped 8lb pumpkins from the vine. Ross tried to convince me to make something with them, or at least carve them for Halloween, but for some reason, I couldn't bear the thought of cutting up the two most beautiful pumpkins I had ever grown (or the only pumpkins I had ever grown).

For two months our lovely pumpkins moved in various placed around the house. Pumpkins on the kitchen table. Pumpkins on the antique chest. Pumpkins by the TV. Pumpkins next to the couch. Our beloved pumpkins were the stars of the living room and the topic of conversation for all of our guests. "Did YOU REALLY grow these?!" Everyone was as amazed as I was.

On Halloween night we finally banished one of the pumpkins to the front porch. I was hoping parents would see how pretty our pumpkin was and think "wow, they have such a lovely pumpkin, I will take my kids Trick-or-Treating there!" Alas, not a single custom-wearing child graced us with their presence on Halloween night. But I don't blame our pumpkin for that.

As Halloween came and went, and Thanksgiving too, our pumpkins still flourished... one on the front porch and one in the house. Christmas came, and we got a tree and decorated the house in garland. The pumpkins remained. I considered adding silver glitter to them to make them feel appropriate for the new festive season, but in the end decided against it. While other people had wreaths, lights, and blow-up snow globes on their front lawns, we had a pumpkin.

It was not until we took down our tree (2 weeks after Christmas) that the outside pumpkin took a turn for the worse... the neighborhood slugs finally found it, and we added it to the compost pile, to hopefully go towards creating a new pumpkin next year.

But... our indoor pumpkin still lives. I don't know if we have the perfect inside temperature or if it has some kind of hybrid mega-genes that makes it immortal, but our pumpkin is still as bright, fresh, and orange as it was the day it came from the vine.

So, I need your help. What do I do with it? Let it live in my house, season after season, and decorate it according to each passing holiday? Find some obscure recipe and hope it's insides aren't toxic? Or simply, just let it be The Pumpkin Who Lived. (If you read and/or watch Harry Potter, I apologize for the corny reference. If you have no idea what I am talking about... then stop reading my stupid rants and go read Harry Potter.)

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Love Affair with Kelly's Jelly

For a wedding gift one of my coworkers gave me a nice bottle of wine and a jar of Kelly’s Jelly- a delicious sweet and spicy habanero jelly made just minutes from downtown Portland in a little suburb named Lake Oswego. Kelly’s Jelly is made in numbered batches in a residential kitchen, and is hand delivered free of charge by, you guessed it, Kelly herself.

Kelly’s Jelly is nothing less than a delicious, heaven-sent concoction. I wouldn’t be surprised it was infused with angel’s kisses, summer sun rays, and a hint of crack cocaine. Because honestly, I’m addicted.

I eat Kelly’s Jelly on everything. Grilled cheese sandwiches with Kelly’s Jelly. Toast with Kelly’s Jelly. Crackers and cheese with Kelly’s Jelly. Tofurkey (“turkey” made from tofu) sandwiches with Kelly’s Jelly. Bagels and cream cheese with Kelly’s Jelly. It has gotten to the point where every time I eat I think, hmmm I bet this would be better with Kelly’s Jelly.

We ran out of Kelly’s Jelly Wednesday night. We had grilled cheese sandwiches (with Kelly’s Jelly) and finished off our jar. We didn’t have a replacement jar. No back-up plan. Nothing to eat in substitute of Kelly’s Jelly… because there is only one sweet and spicy nectar from heaven. Kelly’s Jelly. And we are out.

So yesterday I placed an online order. I ordered 12 jars (don’t worry, a majority of them were for coworkers in my office who also love Kelly’s Jelly. But no, none are as obsessed as the Bowdens). Our total was $64.80. I wrote a check and right before I stuffed it in the envelope and licked the yucky sticky strip, I added a quick thank you note… just a simple THANK YOU! on a sticky note, but I think Kelly will understand that by my brief “thank you” I really mean “Thank you for creating the most delicious life-sustaining condiment in the world- I would eat it with a spoon if I knew my husband wouldn’t think I was a freak… well more of a freak.”

I am waiting in anticipation. Kelly should be here any day now.

(Oh and if you want to buy some, Kelly will ship it to you if you don't live in Portland. Do it. Your life will be forever changed.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Gangster Wannabe

Today I wore a flat-brimmed hat to work. You know, the “gangsta” style hat. “Gangta” is street talk for gangster... I also wore furry boots and a mini skirt. I am straight thug. Ok I need to stop.

About half way through the day I got a migraine from my sweet flat-brimmed hat. I decided to take it off. Then I remembered why I wore a hat in the first place…. I haven’t washed my hair in a couple of days. So now I am walking around the office with matted, greasy, hat hair with a red line across my head from where the hat was too tight.

I’m clearly not cut out for the gangster life...

... or am I?

Friday, January 20, 2012

To Cali and Back

I traveled to San Francisco for work this week, leaving early Tuesday morning and landing back in Portland late Wednesday afternoon. It was a quick 36 hours in California, and my first trip to the Golden State. Although I have traveled to (or at least through) a large majority of states, California was not on my radar until this week- and I loved it! Sunshine, cool breeze, views of the Pacific ocean and mountains at the same time… I could be a California girl! (If the cost of living was not atrociously high, and it was not such a materialistic culture… ok maybe I’m not cut out for California.)

Because the trip was so short I really didn’t get to see that much of San Francisco. When we flew into the city I was on the “wrong side” of the plane to see the city scape, Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz. I stayed in meetings and trade shows for the vast majority of my time in downtown, and then scooted out to the East Bay area to spend Tuesday night and work in our headquarters office on Wednesday morning. Ross and I are hoping to plan a California road trip for some time in late Spring or early Summer and if all works out according to plan, I will get to see more of the city then!

Confession: I didn’t ride my bike to work this week. Monday morning it was snowing, I was in California Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday was a torrential downpour, and today, well, I just didn’t feel like it. I promise that the next week there are multiple pretty days I will catch up on lost commuter days!

Look what I came home to last night:

I was feeling as bit under the weather, and my sweet hubby created the night’s menu and fixed me dinner while I got to relax.

Our weekend plans include a date night tonight, followed by running errands and doing TONS of laundry on Saturday and Sunday. Catch ya later!

Monday, January 16, 2012

A Day in the Park

Ross has the day off from work (I am not as fortunate), so he took the Little Girl to Forest Park to hike in the flurries.

Isn't she the prettiest?


Portland is known for its winter rain fall, not snow fall, so when the forecast for yesterday and today was light snow, I got super excited.

Unfortunately, this is Portland's version of snow:

However a little over an hour away, Mount Hood has plenty:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Copy Edit

My husband became a fabulous copy editor overnight and pointed out my mis-use of break vs. brake in my most recent post about commuting to work. Have no fear, my grammatical error has been resolved... you know just in case I get a random offer to be a big wig Editor somewhere and they want to read my previous work.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Goal #2: Ride my bike to work

I rode my bike to work today… you know, part of those lovely New Year’s Goals. The low for the day was 25degrees, so it was probably around 32degrees when I left my house at 7:48 and wasn’t a whole lot warmer when I pulled up to my office door at 8:04. I wore 2 jackets, 1 pair of shorts, 1 pair of fleece lined pants, gloves, wool socks, and a hat, and thankfully the only thing that was cold was everything that was exposed to the air. So… my face. And my toes and fingers probably would have liked to have a second layer of warmth, but I can’t complain too much.

On my way down the big hill on Greeley (you know, the MONSTER hill I have to climb on my way home from work), I realized that Ross’ gloves were a bit too big which slightly inhibited by ability to change gears. And use my brakes. Thankfully, I pretended I was Ross and coasted down the hill like a pro, no brakes needed. When it was time to change to an easier gear to get up the next little hill, my fingers got stuck between the brakes and the gear shifter. I flailed my little sausage/pig in a blanket/pastry-puff feeling fingers around until I got them free. By the time I reached the Broadway Bridge I was sweating and shivering.

But the view was amazing. The sun reflected off the river and the windows of the high-rise buildings. A freight train crept along beside me (I was FASTER!) giving a nostalgic feel to the morning. I could smell the hops from Widmer Brewery.

I coasted down the back side of the bridge and into the Pearl District. Up a few blocks to my office and checked the time. From door to door, it was a 16 minute commute. When I drive, park, and walk to work, it is about 25 minutes. When I stuffed my gloves in my pockets on the way up the office stairs (carrying my bike on one shoulder and my back pack on the other), I found $14 in cash. I have no idea where that $14 came from, but I am not complaining. Not only did I save time and gas riding to work, I also MADE money.

I need to start biking more often.

P.S. Portland is having a very off winter this year… which means very cold and surprisingly dry. While you East Coasters are getting pounded with rain, we have had a fairly dry season. But don’t worry, it is supposed to rain all weekend… and next week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

That's a lot of T-shirts

People do weird things in Vegas. They sit for hours putting quarters in a machine just to watch rows of lights brighten up. They eat $65 slabs of meat (I can assure you I didn’t do this). They pay $10.00 for a beer (I may have done this). People strip, watch people strip, sing and dance, watch people sing and dance, gamble, flirt, and make memories that will hopefully stay in Vegas.

While I was in Vegas I witness something pretty profound- I watched a world record being set. For something very UN-Vegas. No stripping, no drinking or gambling. Actually for putting ON clothes rather than taking them off. At my industry-wide trade show a South Carolina man set the world record for most number of t-shirts worn at once (249 shirts!). That equals over 200 pounds of cotton. Geeze!

Other than that, Vegas was not too crazy. I saw cool products at our trade show, made some new connections with industry vendors, had dinner at some very expensive restaurants, and lost ONE WHOLE DOLLAR on the slot machines. It took about 5 seconds. Seriously. I put in a dollar, pulled the trigger and walked off, $1 poorer.

We are now back to the grind at work and enjoying getting back into a schedule. Ross, Eisley and I have been running a little bit in the evenings and I am planning to ride my bike to work tomorrow. So far, the New Year’s Resolutions are off to a steady start!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 Things to do in 2012

We had a wonderful trip to NC but I definitely cannot call it a “vacation.” Between two 12-hour plane days, over 11 hours of car travel, four Christmas celebrations, handfuls of delicious meals, and lots of wonderful visits with family and friends, we stayed super busy every minute we were home. Thank you to each and every one of you for making our week hectic (in a good way) and jam-packed full of fun!

We got home at 11pm last night and it was back to the grind first thing this morning, each of us heading to work bright and early before the sun came up (which isn’t hard to do in a city where the sun doesn’t come out at all on most days!). Today we are playing catch up at the office and plowing through our never-ending email inboxes. In case this week isn’t busy enough, I am getting back in the air tomorrow, heading to Las Vegas for a work trade show until Friday night. You may remember my trip last January when I vowed I would never go back to Vegas again. Well, the industry calls and as a good employee I listen, and I plan to quickly unpack and repack my suitcase this evening for the trip. I am sure the sights, sounds, smells, meals, and people of Vegas will give me plenty of entertaining posts to come.

As we celebrate a close to 2011 and welcome a new year, I want to share with you my goals for 2012. I don’t want to call them resolutions because most of them are not things that can be crossed off, but rather goals I hope to work towards and accomplish, starting in this year and continuing into the future. Except maybe the first one.

1. Run my second half marathon. This time, with Mom. (Go to and help us choose which one to do. Want to cheer us on? Tell me which ones you can attend and we will try to make it work!)
2. Ride my bike to work at least one day every week.
3. Start focusing on my novel and actually get words on the page.
4. Make a real effort to cook a new recipe every week. Bonus points if all ingredients are within a 400 mile radius of Portland (deeming it “local”)
5. Make a budget, planning for the future, and stick to it.
6. Figure out which candidate I am going to vote for in the upcoming presidential election and WHY I chose them.
7. Visit somewhere I have never been. Work trips do not count.
8. Stop living to work. Start working to LIVE!
9. Call a friend on the phone or skype at least once a week.
10. Make one new friend.
11. Volunteer once a month.
12. Fall more in love with my hubby and nurture our growing relationship.

Feel free to hold me accountable and ask how these things are going! And once we get the race on the calendar, feel free to ask Mom how her running training is going too!