July 30: Ashland trip report

If you’ve been paying attention you know that the 2007 Girls’ Weekend™ was July 20-23. Our destination was lovely southern Oregon, where we saw a variety of Shakespeare’s works performed. Here, finally, is the trip report I've been promising.

Friday morning April got to my house and we picked up Debi at the airport. We headed to Bridgeport for a delicious lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. (What, no more Pear & Gorgonzola pizza? They took it off the menu! Our server said people have been complaining so they might put it back but that didn’t do ME any good today. Bummer.)

Next stop was the Woodburn Company Stores. April had left her hanging clothes in Seattle so she needed to buy stuff to wear for the weekend. Debi and I just felt like spending money. We shopped for about an hour, made a Starbucks stop, and continued the drive to Medford.

We got to my mom’s house around 10 p.m. She wasn’t home. She was out partying with her homies at the Jackson County Fairapalooza. We waited around until she staggered in and then everyone went to bed.

Just kidding about the staggering, of course. But seeing Mom fully awake at 11 p.m. was a first for me.

Saturday morning Mom prepared a delightful breakfast for us. We weren’t in much of a hurry to get anywhere and it was nice to sit around and chat. Once we finally got moving, we went to Jacksonville for some shopping. Found a very cool toy store—in a brief moment of insanity I almost bought Jack an accordion—and some fun artisan shops. Ate lunch at Bella Union, where Uncle Paul performs regularly, and sat outside on their lovely vine-covered patio. We purchased some delicious souvenirs in the huge Harry & David store when we returned to Medford.

We went back to Mom’s to get ourselves ready for an evening in Ashland. Debi and her sharp eye noticed Jen’s idiot mistake: our play tickets were for 2 p.m., not 8 p.m. We had missed our show. While I checked the Internet for a solution, Debi called the box office and a lovely woman transferred our tickets to the evening performance. Hooray! However, even though she assured us there was another show that day, we started checking around and could find no evidence of it. We headed to Ashland, not sure how we would be spending our evening, but confident by then that we would not be seeing a play. Sure enough, “Distracted” was matinee-only on Saturday. I went to the box office as instructed and found that the lovely woman who transferred our tickets actually put us in a September show. Odd, hm? I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it back to that one—April and Debi almost definitely wouldn’t—but I took the tickets and decided to figure it out later.

We drove a couple miles further into Ashland and saw the movie “Hairspray.” There’s something wrong with going to a movie in a city like Ashland, especially in a cinema that looks like a supermarket, but at least our evening wasn’t a complete loss. Debi and I had seen both the original non-musical “Hairspray,” as well as the Broadway musical version, so we critiqued it from that snobbish point of view. Except for John Travolta, whose portrayal of Edna Turnblad nearly ruined the movie, we agreed that it was very well-cast. April (who was probably rolling her eyes in the back seat listening to our Siskel & Ebert-like review the whole way back to Medford) said she liked it too.

When we got to Mom’s around 11 p.m. she was still out. She had gotten her hands on Doobie Brothers concert tickets and staggered in soon after we got home. How on earth did my mom end up at a Doobie Brothers concert? I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.

During brunch Sunday morning I got a call from the Shakespeare Festival box office; the woman who had promised us tickets for the previous evening’s nonexistent show apologized profusely and refunded our $$. We thought that was very generous, as it was my own stupid mistake that we missed the show in the first place. Moral of that story: people in Ashland are nice.

Just before the play on Sunday afternoon we had a so-so lunch at Martino’s. “The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged)” matinee was fabulous. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys laughing. Here’s a spot-on review.

Shopping in Ashland was fun and walking through town was almost bearable in the heat. We found some nice little gift shops and purchased some souvenir goodies. We had dinner reservations at Cucina Biazzi. I had never tried flash-fried sage leaves before but April made us eat them and they were really quite tasty.

Our evening entertainment got off to a horribly horrible start (in my opinion) when we stood in the Festival Courtyard for the Green Show, a performance of renaissance music and dancing that made my ears and eyes bleed. While I’m sure that a lot of the people there enjoyed it, I was definitely not one of them. Fortunately things improved from there; “The Tempest” was very good. I had never seen anything on the Elizabethan Stage before. And except for the guy behind me that started snoring loudly during the second act, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Prospero was incredible.

Monday morning I woke up with a terrible headache. April and Debi both felt yucky too. The drive back to Portland was quiet-ish. We made a quick return visit to the Woodburn outlet mall and then took Debi to the airport. April and I went to the hospital where she was to meet her mom and sister, and I took off to Clackamas to get Katie to her swimming lesson.

For anyone that isn’t me, April, or Debi, it must suck to be you. So sorry. Our memories of the 2007 Girls’ Weekend™ will be of a marvelous few days full of entertaining entertainment and edible food. As you know, that’s what Girls’ Weekends are all about. FYI, they are not about pillow fights in panties or anything remotely like that, much to some husbands’ dismay. Although after all that high-brow entertainment of the Shakespeare Festival, we do have culture and sophistication pouring out our collective arses (to paraphrase a song from “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” not to imply we have food poisoning).



  1. Why, yes, it sucks to be me, because I was NOT INVITED to the 2007 Girls Weekend. Hmmm. How do I resolve that?

  2. It was a jolly time in S. Oregon. Top 10 trip list:
    10 - not attending the Doobie Brother's concert
    9 - no earwigs thanks to Ron's exterminating services
    8 - air conditioning in Jen's Passat
    7 - Dutch Brothers snickerdoodle (sucked - but fit with the supermarket movie theatre ambiance).
    6 - Christopher Walken - freakishly well cast in HairSpray
    5 - Debi sitting under the dancing pole at Shakespeare abridged
    4. committing a health dept violation - chicken chunks under the back table at Roseburg Applebee's
    3. Jen not breaking a foot
    2. Cucina Biazzi waiter. Oh, the food was good too :).
    1. our lovely and charming hostess with the mostest - Ms. Mary.

  3. If the adjective (or adverb) "swaggering" can be used on a retired (though freakishly early!!) person, I'd say that's something to express pride in!!

    A freakishly early retired person....


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