Matt visited his brother in Indianapolis earlier this month. He sent me pictures of him standing in front of a bullseye painted on wood next to a hatchet wedged deep into the wood.
“What is this?” I asked him
“Ax throwing,” he replied. “It’s a thing here.”
“I’m surprised we don’t have that thing here,” I typed
Turned out, we did.
We threw axes at Jack Axe, which is located in the Tiki Family Fun Center in Gresham. We arrived 20 minutes early as requested, heard the safety information and the lesson and then were set loose on the range with four other people.
Our four other people turned out to be great fun, inventing different ways to throw an ax (on one foot; with your eyes closed!) and providing challenges such as affixing a $5 bill to the target. It made our 60 minutes go by quickly.
I was able to hit the target several times. It’s a very satisfying sensation when the ax sticks. Jack Axe wets down the wood, though, so I’m not sure I would have such good results out in the wild.
At $20 per person for 60 minutes, this wasn’t fun enough to meet that high money threshold, but I enjoyed myself and am glad to have done it.
After breakfast and presents, we had a Fun Christmas Activity. This consisted of a variety of activities one could partake in. Here are some pictures of what we did.
Linda made a New Year’s scene from a purposefully limited supply of colored paper.
Matt attempts the blind Christmas tree tear.(After first cheating and folding a Christmas tree.)
His two results.
Linda’s blind Christmas tree.
Chris works away at the Christmas packet, consisting of trivia questions, a crossword, a word search, and a cryptogram. Aunt Pat cleaned the kitchen. (Cleaning up was a category, as was taking a nap.)
Mom made a New Year’s scene.
I attempted a Blind Christmas Tree tear, and was better at the Christmas tree then taking a picture of it.
Aunt Pat’s cat Roo takes a break.
Aunt Carol’s New Year’s scene.
One of our activities was reading a poem aloud. Inside one volume of the Book of Verse, I found my grandmother’s transcription of “Thanksgiving Day.” This was a great find. I so rarely come across her handwriting.
And here are the final standings of all who participated.
It’s been a long drought of theater and then I get to see two shows in two days. My Aunt Carol was too busy to take advantage of her Broadway Rose ticket, so I got to come along to A 1940s Radio Christmas Carol.
This was a fine Christmas production which told the story of a 1940’s radio broadcast where the players combine song and story (and radio commercials!) and run into some problems with their radio version of Charles Dicken’s classic Christmas story.
Also, I always enjoy watching the radio sound man, and this play delivered on that front.
I haven’t been back since the first one, but this year it was time again to sing in the square with Pink Martini.
I went in 2013, and this was not very different. It was still lead by Thomas Lauderdale, China Forbes and members of Pink Martini. (No Storm Large this time.) There were still free umbrellas. There were still free songbooks. This time, there was free Salt and Straw ice cream. And this time my friend Tara came with me. We had a great time singing.
Also this time, there was a woman wearing a full-on wedding dress. The man with her was wearing a t-shirt tuxedo and so were the two boys.
Partway through the singing, a cluster of buff and shirtless young males wandered in and observed the proceedings. They did not sing.
Turnout was smaller than the first time I went. I’m not sure if that’s a general trend or a just a this-year thing. I enjoyed myself immensely and hope to sing again in the future.
I believe I have found another of the classy graffiti artist’s work. It’s the phrase “Do you believe life is fair? No. that is why we must work to make it so.” The words were superimposed around a curb cut in Northwest Portland. I stood in the middle and turned in a circle to capture every side.
As I walked away, I noticed that it had also be stenciled leading up to that cub cut, though most of the lines had faded.
I still haven’t seen a name to go with the art and Googling the phrase didn’t get me anything.
The Portland Streetcar put on a scavenger hunt and we participated. There were clues (that rhymed!) and they led us to different spots along the Portland Streetcar line. When we found them, we took a picture, posted it on Instagram and received the next clue. Here are all the places we went. Of note: I learned that I have no selfie skills. None. I’m usually laughing in these photos due to my sub-par skills. I take self portraits all the time with my camera, but it’s much easier to do than using a phone.
We started at the Spirit of 77, where we checked in and got a brochure with all the clues. This was handy as our last few posts got lost in the shuffle and we didn’t get our clues via Instagram.
Also, it was the rare summer rainy day! Here we are just outside our first destination The clue “Working out this clue/Gave us quite a fit/Mostly because/Nothing rhymes with it.” Matt knew it was “Orange something,” and a bit of googling showed us the location.
“For this basilisk vessel/Look above, not below/It’s hanging in a place where/You attend a conference or a show.” This one was tough. We had to figure out with basilisk meant (lizard). I guessed the location was the Convention Center and downloaded a brochure of public art that alerted me to the dragon boat. Then it was a matter of walking there. Matt wishes to point out that a dragon isn’t a lizard and thus, this was a sub-par clue.
“Dame says get your fun on/and be witty!/Be the “i” in the sign of / “__ __ __ __ __ __ __” We had to ask for a clue for this one. Luckily Instagram direct messenger made it easy. “Damian Lillard” was the clue and that meant that it was something over at the Rose Garden. I took a picture of Matt by this fountain because I’ve always liked this fountain. To solve the clue we took our picture in front of a clothing store that wasn’t open and it was pronounced good enough. Apparently there was a big “Rip City” sign out front and you could take a picture with yourself as the I. However, the sign wasn’t out on this particular day, much to the organizers annoyance.
“Be it dark, white, or milk/Design your own, smooth as silk.” Googling told us there were two options of chocolate stores, one on the west side of the river and one on the east side, where we were. I DM’d to see if we should cross the river yet, and the answer was that it wasn’t quite time yet. So Creo Chocolate it was.
We both got chocolate drinks as the rain had gone away and it had become a sunny day. They were chocolate, milk and club soda, I found mine funny tasting (I don’t love bubbly water, so I’m not sure why I ordered it) but very refreshing.
As we had done nothing but walk thus far, we had planned to take the streetcar across the bridge and into the Pearl. But the next car was not coming for 18 minutes and so we walked some more. I groused about it, but we did see some fun things like a group of guys playing around on the electric scooters.
From the Broadway Bridge. West side of the river:
East side of the river.
Union Station always looks so pretty.
“Head to the Pearl for your/Next treat/”Eat it! Don’t Bake it”/This dessert is sweet!” We discussed what kind of dessert place they might be talking about, but I remembered the Cookie Dough Cafe, where you can buy cookie dough to eat. “That’s right by my work!” I said, happy to have solved the clue. “We can stop by and use the bathrooms. And so we did.
We were told to go inside on this one and were rewarded with some cookie dough to go. Thanks Cookie Dough Cafe!
“This place is also/Swell, nifty, groovy, and cool/Find it and take a photo inside the ‘Better Takes Action’ tool.” While Matt stood in line for our cookie dough prize, I googled “better takes action” and was told about the shoe company Keen’s campaign. We headed down the street to Keen for this photo.
Keen had benches outside, so we rested while we worked out the next clue. Across the street Filson (of the overpriced flannel fame) was doing something with chainsaws.
“This awning is great/for a night or a bite/Find the sculpture inside/Of birds taking flight” We knew it had to be a hotel with a restaurant, but there are many, many hotels in that area. Matt googled “awning hotel portland” and it came back with Canopy which is a new hotel by Hilton. In fact, I have chronicled the block after the previous building was taken down, but before they had made much progress building it.
In other news, though I walk past this hotel regularly, I had never noticed this grand sculpture of the swifts!
“Public art in a park sure is neat/These make streetcar poles more/discrete.” Matt knew exactly what the clue was talking about. I had never noticed them, even though the bank where I deposit work checks is right across the street from these totem poles/streetcar pole camouflage.
People who spend time downtown know the signs of something being filmed nearby. RV, Penske rental truck, No Parking signs. Somewhere in the vicinity filming is happening. Strangely, they were spread out over three or four blocks. It appeared to be some sort of athletic gear ad.
We found our final place, the Tea Bar, and headed for the last clue, “You’re done!/Come celebrate and say YAY/At the brick home of/The original IPA!” That was Bridgeport Brewing. Matt got a burger and I got a hummus plate while we waited to hear the results of the raffle.
And Matt won! A basketball signed by last year’s Blazers. Thanks, Portland Streetcar!
On the way to take the streetcar back to the starting point we had a very rare summer downpour. That was fun!
Finally, we use our free streetcar fare!
This was a very fun way to spend the afternoon. Thanks, Portland Streetcar!
I used one of my free articles from the New York Times to access this information. It was totally worth it! Do you want to know how common your birthday is? I’ll give the answers to some birthdays of people I know:
October 26: 184 September 26: 27 February 10: 171 June 26: 112 October 22: 164 June 2: 121 October 13: 180 August 6: 46 July 22: 18