The Big Party!

Patricia and Matt were married on August 19, 2021, in Tacoma, Washington, and they are having a big party to celebrate!

Celebrations in the time of coronavirus…

…are tricky. We planned this party before the Delta variant started surging. Because it has, and because there is still a global pandemic going on, we will follow CDC guidelines and ask everyone to wear a mask indoors. 8/26 update! Oregon guidelines require masking outdoors if six feet of distance cannot be kept. Please wear your mask outdoors if that is the situation.

We’ve switched some activities planned as indoor activities to the back yard and we will change things up as things develop. We are fully vaccinated and hope that, if you are eligible, you are also fully vaccinated. With that said, let’s get into the details of the Big Party!

When: 9/11/21

Where: The Orange Door (Patricia and Matt’s house)

Time: 2:00 p.m. onward

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

We planned a big party on the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. Not ideal, but that’s what we did. As the New York Times said in 2005, “Sept. 11 is a strange, unclassifiable presence on the calendar. It is not an official holiday, and yet it is a day that arouses emotions far more powerful than the half-remembered sentiments behind Columbus or Labor Day.” September 11, 2001 was a big deal in the US, and we will have a way for people to share their memories of that day, if they want to.

Read on for the rest of the run of show!

The Prize Drawings

We have a party passport ready for every attendee. Each activity you take part in earns you a stamp in your passport and one ticket to enter into one of four different drawings for a gift card to one of our favorite Portland places. Plus, there are other opportunities to earn tickets. Gift card drawings will take place throughout the party. You need not be present to win.

  • $50 gift card to New Seasons. Drawing at 4:00 p.m.
  • $50 gift card to McMenamins. Drawing at 6:00 p.m.
  • $50 gift card to Powell’s City of Books. Drawing at 8:00 p.m.
  • $50 gift card to the Portland Game Store. Drawing at 10:00 p.m.

Activities

Ongoing Activities:

Available from 2:00 p.m. onward.

Trivia (indoors or outdoors)—Answer 20 questions written by Patricia and Matt about random (though mostly person-specific) minutia. Much like Patricia’s 10 Years in Portland Pub Quiz Party.

Art (indoors)—Make art with a variety of supplies. Much like Matt’s Graduation & Birthday Art Party and the Art Party.

Photo Scavenger Hunt (indoors and outdoors)—Search the Orange Door and the surrounding block to find and take pictures of a variety of items. Much like the scavenger hunt party Patricia had back around 2004 before she owned a digital camera, so there’s no record of it.

Hanging out (indoors and outdoors)—We’re not drill sergeants. You can just chill. You don’t even have to stand. We’ve got chairs and everything.

Time-based Activities

3:00 Bingo! (outdoors)—Bring your quarters! Use them to buy game boards (25¢ each) and play along as the numbers are called. You get a passport stamp for playing, and Bingo winners get an additional ticket. Much like Bingo at Rosefriend (predigital camera) and Patricia’s Birthday Bingo Party.

5:00 Bring a Song (indoors)—Are you ready to sing? Bring a song. Or a piece, if you are good at music and have a piece ready to perform. You can play your solo piece, sing a solo, sing a sing-along song, or sing with a group of people. Bring your own instrument, or we’ve got a digital piano and a TV that can pull up Karaoke songs on YouTube. If you need a CD player, tell us ahead of time and we’ll rustle something up. Much like our Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sing-Along Party, or Patricia’s 40th Birthday Karaoke Party (and all the karaoke gatherings since.)

6:00 Shakespeare (outdoors)—Either perform or watch Act V of Wm. Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors. We will have scripts and links to access PDF copies of scripts for all performers/readers. Everyone watching gets a stamp, and everyone performing earns an additional ticket. Much like our Soup and Shakespeare Party.

7:00 Board Gaming (indoors)—We’ve got gamer games like Dead of Winter, Spirit Island, and Marvel Champions; social games like Medium, UNO, and Skip-Bo; and a few trivia games. You can also bring your own games, too. We will have multiple tables available for players. Much like the regular game night we’ve been hosting forever. Everyone who plays a game earns a stamp.

Other ways to earn tickets

  • Scavenger Hunt, find all things
  • Trivia 18/20 correct
  • Vote for which anniversary we should celebrate
  • Previous attendee of 5, 10, 15, 20, or 25 past parties
  • Known Matt for 5, 10, 15, 20, years
  • Known Patricia for 5, 10, 15, 20 years

But What Will Sustain Us Through This Party?

It’s a long party, so we have choices.

Drinks

  • Tap water, and even ice to put in it! (I know! So fancy!) (Also, Patricia’s favorite beverage.)(Though she likes it without ice.)
  • A variety of sodas.
  • Homemade lemonade and limeade.
  • A selection of beer picked out by a New Seasons employee who is good at that.
  • Red and white wines.
  • A signature cocktail: the Whisky Buck.

Food

  • 2:00—We’ll have platters from New Seasons including the seasonal vegetable platter, the Mediterranean platter, the charcuterie platter, and the brie and fruit platter.
  • 5:00—Casa Maya will bring us all we need for a taco/burrito bar.
  • 8:00—If people are still hungry, we’ll order pizza from Fino.

Dessert

Patricia loves cakes! So much so that she’s making three of them. Patricia doesn’t love wedding cake traditions involving two-person slicing and feeding/shoving, so there will be none of that.

Here’s what we’ll be slicing up:

  • 4:00—The Pink Cake. Chocolate cake with raspberry-tinted buttercream frosting
  • 6:00—Watergate Cake with Impeachment Frosting. Pistachio cake, pistachio buttercream, and candied pistachios.
  • 8:00—Goober Cake. Peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting, plus a few layers of chocolate ganache.

Should I RSVP?

Yes!

Yes, you should!

It will help a lot!

You can RSVP by posting a comment on this post (Patricia will need to approve the comment, so you won’t see your RSVP instantaneously), phoning, messaging, texting, or emailing Matt or Patricia, or mentioning that you are coming the next time you see either of us.

Are you registered?

We have no registry. We own a lot of stuff already. If you are coming to the party, your presence is present enough. If you are not coming to the party, good wishes (sent via vibes, text, email, or the USPS) are also wonderful.

If you are a person who really likes to celebrate things with money, you could make a donation to:

Are you coming to the party? Cool! We can’t wait to see you. Don’t forget to RSVP!

Are you sending us good wishes! That’s awesome! Thanks so much!

Door Before Becoming the Orange Door

One thing about our house, the Orange Door? It doesn’t have any doors that are orange. The front door is white and the box built around it is orange, so that’s why we call the house the Orange Door.

But that’s about to change. When they repainted the house a few years ago, they didn’t consult us on color, so we ended up with this light mint color. They also didn’t paint the doors, so you can still see the original green. The second of these things always bugged me more than the first, though I do like the original green better.

I have procured a very bright orange paint that will make these doors orange. The goal is to have them done before the Big Party.

Spartan Race 2021 in “Portland”

We headed to east-of-Vancouver, Washington, so Matt could do a Spartan Race. Here he is on the way to the start.

Here was my first glimpse of Matt after the starting point. As you can see, they get muddy early. He usually wears a blue shirt for races and it was much harder picking him out of the crowd with the black shirt.

And here he is at the finish time. The clock is a general time clock. It didn’t take him three hours to finish.

The victor with all his spoils.

We were at the end of the day—I think the very last race, and you can see the many people who came before Matt grabbed a lot of protein bars.

There were a ton of people. More than I anticipated, and I felt a little uncomfortable. I wore my mask, even though we were outside. Not many people had theirs on.

We parked in a big field and I noted where the American flag they had flying was, so we could find the car after the race was over. But by the time Matt was done, they had taken down the flag.

And this guy was collecting all the tape that corralled people.

When You Randomly See Your First Bike

I was walking home from birthday dinner with friend Kelly when what should I see but a Trek 820 mountain bike.

Okay, this wasn’t my first bike. My first bike was a banana seat with two much pink and streamers. But the Trek 820 was the first bike I bought myself. It was also the bike that got me into bike commuting. I felt sturdier on the knobby tires then the 10-speed skinny tires on the bike I had been riding. (I wouldn’t figure out the commuter tires thing until the third bike I bought.)

I loved my little green Trek and I’m surprised to find I can’t remember what happened to it. I might have sold it after I got my next bike. But I’m pretty sure we parted in Massachusetts.

So this isn’t my bike. But it’s exactly like my bike. Good memories.

Books Read in July 2021

Picture Books

Fox at Night
Corey R. Tabor
Read for Librarian Book Group

Fox finds a lot of things scary. In the meantime, readers get to guess what things are are scaring Fox.

Tag Team
Raúl the Third, Elaine Bly
Read for Librarian Book Group

El Toro and La Oink Oink get (as my father would say: you don’t have to, you get to!) to clean up the Caliseo after their big match. This is all thanks to Mal Burro and Peeky Pequeño who have skipped out on their obligations. This book was mostly written in English, with Spanish written in purple. Sometimes the English or Spanish was repeated, sometimes phrases were used alone.

I was mostly annoyed that El Toro and La Oink Oink cleaned the Caliseo.

Training Day
Raúl the Third, Elaine Bly
Read for Librarian Book Group

El Toro isn’t up for training until Kooky Dooky finds a way to motivate him.

Middle Grade

Finding Junie Kim
Ellen Oh
Read for Librarian Book Group

I had a goodly amount of whiplash as the book flipped back and forth between Junie’s story of a depressive episode and her grandparents’ time in Korea during the Korean war. But ultimately enjoyed details of all the stories.

Korean War books are few. Authors need to get on that, STAT!

Young Adult

The Box in the Woods
Maureen Johnson

We reunite with Stevie and it’s the summer after she’s solved the Ellingham mystery. She’s back at home and experiencing the comedown that is normal life. (I felt her deli-ham-slicing pain.) Luckily, she is whisked off to a summer camp where she is supposed to solve a 1978 murder of four teenagers.

Props to Maureen Johnson for the fun tech bro details and the many period details about the mystery.

I really love this series.

Aetherbound
E.K. Johnston

The versatile Johnston tackles sci-fi with the story of Pendt, who grows up on her family’s space cruiser. She’s the runt of her family and her life is shaped because of that.

Johnston is great at writing books that stick with me.

This is Not a Love Scene
S.C. Megale

Maeve is a powerhouse who knows how to get things done—including the student film she’s directing. This is an interesting and engaging #OwnVoices story about being a teenager. And also living with muscular dystrophy.

Our Year of Maybe
Rachel Lynn Soloman

Best friends Sophie and Peter have been close since they were children. But when Sophie gives Peter one of her kidneys, his world opens up and their friendship changes.

An excellent exploration of how relationships are formed and the personal growth that comes when they flex.

Goodbye Perfect
Sara Barnard

What happens when your best friend runs off with her boyfriend? Sara Barnard plumbs the emotions of friendship. I’m excited to read more from her.

Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen

Auden is saddled with terrible parents (they are currently winning the 2021 award for worst fictional parents who are not physically or psychologically abusive) and keeps to her studies and herself. When she flees to her father’s house, she spends the summer meeting her new sister, learning that people are complex, and that bicycles are freedom.

This is Sarah Dessen at her best.

The Truth Is
NoNieqa Ramos

There was a dark cloud over this book. That dark cloud was instantly recognizable when I finished reading and realized Ramos also wrote the Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary. Enjoyable and hard, that book was.

In this book, Verdad has boxed herself off and is lonely after her friend dies. But when she meets Danny her relationship with her mother goes south and her friendship world opens up. So many uncomfortable feelings!

Destination Anywhere
Sara Barnard

Payton takes a desperation flight from her home in Great Britain to Canada because it’s the only way she can think of to escape her parents’ insistence she attend school. Her attempts at travel are guided by a bunch of tourists she meets. As she gains confidence, we learn more about her lonely life and what happened the previous year.

Barnard goes hard into heavy feelings, and just as hard into the joys and miseries of of travel and forming friendships.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder
Sara Barnard

The U.S. of A. doesn’t tend to turn out a lot of selective mute children (we trend toward the depressed or the ADHD diagnosis) but Steffi (a Brit, not an American) has been working to overcome her selective mute diagnosis for years. When she’s paired up with Rhys because he uses British Sign Language and she has some passable BSL skills, her world changes.

I was interested in the way BSL was depicted in bold in the novel and wondered how someone fluent in BSL would feel about that. I think the author did it to show Steffi’s progress mastering the language, but I’m curious how others felt.

Young Nonfiction

The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art
Cynthia Levinson, Evan Turk
Read for Librarian Book Group

I think the art was supposed to make a point about the subject’s style, but I found it messy and off-putting.

Sunrise Summer
Swason and Behr
Read for Librarian Book Group

Spend the summer in Alaska, fishing for salmon on a small, family-owned piece of land. There were many interesting details and great back matter.

Twenty-One Steps: Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Jeff Gottesfeld and Matt Tavares
Read for Librarian Book Group

Who are the people who guard the tomb of the unknown solider and why do they serve? There are a lot of great close-up details and expansive views in this picture book.

Grownup Nonfiction

The Anthropocene Reviewed
John Green

I’m a bit of a John Green completionist (Vlogbrothers, Dear Hank & John, novels, the Anthropocene Reviewed podcast) so I’d heard Green reading versions of many of these essays on his podcasts. I appreciate the podcast version more, but the essays are fine in print form.

By the way, I’m writing this review while listening to a YouTube livestream from February where Green was autographing one part of the 250,000 first printing pages. I preordered, so I got a signed copy. It was a green signature, and the pen was clearly on the downslope. I gave my John Green autograph 2 stars.

Grownup Fiction

The Duke and I
Julia Quinn

A day at the beach and I had finished my book. What to do, what to do? Instead of downloading another ebook, I wandered into Seaside’s Beach Books and found a perfect beach companion.

Lady Whistledown—an excellent device for delivering backstory! And who doesn’t love a big family, romance between wealthy people, and the Regency period? Well, maybe not you, but I’m a fan.

I’m excited to see if I can beat the next season of Bridgerton and finish all eight of this series.

Kindling the Moon
Jenn Bennett

Bennett’s debut novel featured pacing that didn’t quite crackle along, but this urban fantasy had all the sexy romance markers.