A summer at our house is a lot of work. My daughter Alice does a great job with maintenance, but certain activities like remodeling bathrooms and sorting out 30 years’ worth of clutter can only be tackled by me and Andreas. Not our idea of fun. So it’s no real surprise that when booking June tickets these last few years, extended tours of Scandinavia, Central America, and Great Britain have won out over holidays spent tearing out old carpet and overseeing garage construction.
Three places that were better than my basement in Medford:
But you can only put these things off for so long, and if we eventually want to sell that place we’d better get started on some long-deferred projects. So this year we will spend four weeks of our longer-than-usual break in Medford, Oregon.
At first it sounded like an unpleasant chore. But now that we’ve made the decision, I have to admit the plan is growing on me. We just have to make time for some fun.
Here are 10 things that I am looking forward to.
1. Family and friends
Yes, we have Facebook and Skype, but nothing makes a mom happier than spending real time with her kiddos. I am hoping that at least some of them will be able to gather at the old homestead while we are there. Also excited about reconnecting with friends I haven’t seen in much too long. (Note: if you don’t see yourself in the slideshow, it’s because I couldn’t find a good picture of you in the 10 minutes I devoted to the project)
Medford is just up the highway from Ashland, Oregon – home of the the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a wonderful regional repertory theater. We used to see a lot of shows when we lived there and it’s my plan to secure tickets to as many as we can this season.
Last summer my-son-the-actor Nik was in an outdoor summer Shakespeare series in Portland. If he does it again we’ll have an excuse to spend a weekend up there, plus we’ll have the bonus of visiting favorite haunts like Powell’s Books and the original Voodoo Doughnut.
3. Northwest food
We eat pretty well in Egypt, but we don’t have the variety or the freshness of southern Oregon’s local produce. Berries. Apricots. Asparagus. PEACHES! (I have not had a peach since we lived in Syria). Alice’s backyard garden will be in full swing by late summer. Homegrown tomatoes! And fresh salmon… I can’t wait. A visit to our favorite restaurant, New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro, will certainly be on the calendar as well.
4. Britt on the lawn
One of the very best ways to enjoy a hot summer night in the Rogue Valley is to pack up a picnic dinner and a bottle of wine and head out to Jacksonville to hear some excellent music at the Britt. Last year’s season included Smash Mouth, Chicago, Willie Nelson and Alison Krauss, The Decemberists, Brandi Carlile, The Devil Makes Three, and the Gipsy Kings. The classical season this year already looks good; I’ll buy my tickets as soon as they announce the rock/pop/jazz lineup on April 7.
5. Going for a drive
Last summer Andreas and I replaced our 12 year-old van with a new Honda Fit for Alice to use. I haven’t set eyes on it yet but I hear it’s pretty cute and I am looking forward to taking it out for a spin. We don’t have a car here in Cairo but I do occasionally drive in foreign countries. It is not as much fun as driving at home. Alekka and I (and her boyfriend, for part of the trip) survived three weeks last summer with me driving on the left side of the road in Cornwall and Scotland, but I never really got completely comfortable with it.
I look forward to wide streets, stoplights, rules I already know, and freeways with no potholes. And no single track roads.
6. Lakes, rivers, ocean, and trees
If you don’t already know how beautiful Oregon is, just google it. I will be combining this one with driving goals (#5).
7. Public radio
Oh Jefferson Public Radio, how I miss thee! The weekend lineup on Rhythm and News will make cleaning out the file cabinet seem so much more pleasant. I just hope our visit doesn’t coincide with pledge week.
8. New clothes
More specifically, new underwear (sorry if that’s TMI). I am well past the age where lingerie shopping is any kind of fun, and the prospect of spending the day looking for what I want in Syria, Ethiopia, or Egypt it is just so far removed from fun that I won’t even consider it. In the US I know exactly what I want and in what size. After four years it’s time for some replacement foundations that I can purchase quickly, privately, and with no haggling over the price.
Andreas rides his bike to work and back and around town almost every day. Andreas is crazy. The bicycle I bought from a teacher friend in Ethiopia sits in our spare room, waiting for us to move to a place with proper bike lanes and sane drivers. Medford has those things, mostly, and I look forward to dusting off the old road bike in the garage for a pleasant morning cruise on the greenway.
10. My own back yard
Summertime, and the living is easy. What could be better?