Thursday, October 13, 2011


There comes a time in every rightfully constructed mother's life when she just has to pack her bags and get out of Dodge for a few days. A friend, a good friend, a family friend came to me with an interesting proposition. She had two tickets to see three plays in Ashland, a hotel room booked, and a husband who was opting out of the whole thing. What’s a friend to do? I had to step up. I am a good friend to have around, I suppose.

And so we skipped out on work and drove south on a sunny Friday morning, bags packed, coffees in hand, a small arsenal of snacks in waiting, and an empty back seat. A roadtrip with no kids? Wow. It is a glorious thing. It’s amazing how quickly you arrive at your destination when you don’t have small-bladdered and overly demanding passengers to contend with.

If you don’t already know it, Ashland is a beautiful little city with a bustling downtown, a huge city park, and of course the famous Lithia water, which I am sorry to say is utterly disgusting. We spent the weekend shoe shopping, poking around the used book stores, admiring the trendy home d├ęcor window displays, sampling delicacies at the candy store, stockpiling inexpensive souvenirs and early Christmas presents for the kids, and then there were the plays.

We saw August: Osage County, The Pirates of Penzance, and Ghost Light. Each play was radically different from the rest and as I exited the theater each time I wondered how the next play could possibly live up to what I had just experienced. I am embarrassed to tell you that this was my very first Ashland theater trip and I say embarrassed because people tend to assume that all English teachers have spent most of their lives reading poetry by the fireside, eating crumpets and attending Shakespeare performances. Then again, I suppose I am not your average English teacher.

I have, however, walked up the official Shakespeare Stairs. So there.

Rotten Egg Water! (They say this is healthy?)

Wine Tasting!

Art Galleries!

Historic Ashland!


And then I found the play kitchen. It's a bit of a diamond in the rough, but I am telling you that by Christmas morning this thing's gonna shine like the top of the Chrysler Building! Did you know that I've been looking for a play kitchen for the kids for oh, say TWO YEARS now? TWO YEARS of trolling Craigslist and slamming on my brakes while driving past garage sales and waiting for that perfect play kitchen to fall out of the sky and whack me on the head. And there it was, patiently waiting for me in Ashland.

All it took was $29 for my play kitchen dreams to come true. You get to see the before picture now, because like I said, this thing will be totally pimped out in time for the Christmas tree. I'll keep you posted.

(The only negative was that when I lugged the thing up to the counter to pay, the store owner smiled sweetly, "Oh, this must be for a little girl!" and I had to inform her that in fact not one but TWO boys would be receiving this as a gift because IN FACT boys play with play kitchens, too, you know because it is 2011 and BOYS NEED TO KNOW HOW TO COOK TOO, DAMMIT. In hindsight I may have read a bit too much into her innocent comment, and perhaps I am a bit sensitive to the fact that I have no daughter for whom to buy a play kitchen BUT STILL. My boys do love to cook. So there.)

There were many, many, MANY other noteworthy highlights from the trip including makeshift swimwear and an epic fabric store shopping spree and the most comfortable princess beds of all time, but alas, duty calls. And by duty I mean laundry and fatigue and my warm bed on this cold October night.

And tomorrow we get out of Dodge again. More on that later.


  1. That play kitchen is awesome. We had one for our kindergarten class and the boys were totally into it. What was really fun was that the school "stocked" the kitchen with empty spice containers that still smelled like the spices they had once contained - we all wanted cinnamon. Your friends and family probably have old spices in their cupboards and need an excuse to clear them out. Just a thought!

  2. Oooh, I love that idea! Much easier than the felt foods I was dreaming up. Plus, what a great way for kids to learn how to identify spices by smell. Win win!