Columbus Jazz and Ribfest

I highly recommend that anyone living in the Central Ohio area to put the Jazz and Ribfest on your calendar for next July.

Saturday evening was a humid 89 degrees in Columbus, but in the shade with some cool jazz music coming from Funky Worthy on the Main Stage, I didn’t notice the heat.

After the sun went down, I stood in line for about fifteen minutes for my BBQ Brisket and cornbread which I enjoyed at a picnic table while listening to the Squirrel Nut Zippers, a band whose name confounds and amuses me.

I know the point is to listen to jazz while enjoying ribs…it’s all in the title, but even those of us who do not eat meat on the bones can enjoy the event, brisket, saxophones, and all.


Are you a Cindy Lou or a Clark?

When it snows in December, I hear a song playing in my head…it’s on an endless loop.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
Take a look at the five and ten, it’s glistening once again
With candy canes and silver lanes that glow
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door
A pair of hop-a-long boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben
Dolls that’ll talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen
And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Everywhere you go
There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel, one in the park as well
It’s the sturdy kind that doesn’t mind the snow
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Soon the bells will start
And the thing that will make ’em ring is the carol that you sing
Right within your heart
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Toys in every store
But the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be
On your own front door
Sure it’s Christmas, once more
I’ve already begun my Christmas tradition of watching a different Christmas movie every evening, the multi-colored lights of our 30-year-old tree illuminating the near-dark living room. A mock-up of Scrooge’s small town graces the three-quarter wall around my kitchen, bookstores, candy stores, churches lit with a single small bulb. And of course, there’s Baby Jesus in his creche surrounded by shepherds, kings, and barnyard animals. Who would’ve imagined that guest list?
But there’s something in the way I think…and write…about Christmas that seems a little odd…or maybe not odd as much as not as ideal as I’d like.
Ideally, I want to be a bit more like Cindy Lou Who and a bit less like Clark Griswold, but did you notice that I started by describing the tree? the lights?
Sure, Clark gets to the point where he admits it’s more about being with family, sharing moments with those you love and less about light displays, presents, and perfect meals; but not until he drives himself a little mad.
What do I know for sure about the meaning of Christmas?
  • I know it isn’t about the presents, making sure everyone has the same amount and that you spent enough on each of them…it’s about giving the gift of time, love, laughter to the people you love.
  • I know it isn’t about the tree lights, the neighbor’s gorgeous light display, or the number of inflatables in your front yard; it’s about what shines from each of our hearts to illuminate the path of connection we share.
  • I know it isn’t about the perfect meal, getting everything to the table on time, baking until your back hurts; it’s about the communion that only happens around a dinner table.
And how do I behave to show that I know these things?
  • I keep meticulous records about how much I spend on each person so that no one is short-changed.
  • I make lists, check them twice, forget where I put them, make new lists, find the old ones, combine the lists, share the lists with someone who can help me remember what it is I forgot to put on the list, because God knows, if I forget to do something on that list, CHRISTMAS WILL BE RUINED!!!!
  • I plan meals, cocktails, desserts, snacks; finding recipes for home-made cranberry sauce, Christmas bread, new types of cookies that require hours of decorating, chilling, baking, or mixing.
  • I climb into the crawl-space to pull 100-pound Rubbermaid containers of decorations from their parking spots and spend three days putting everything out on display…even if the ground is too frozen to secure the Christmas dog and his reindeer friend.
When your actions don’t follow the edicts of your authentic self, stress follows.
You’re out of alignment.
Ever drive a car that was out of alignment? It pulls you around. You fight the steering wheel to stay in your lane and sometimes, you bounce a lot. By the time you get to your destination, you’re too exhausted from the conflict to really enjoy yourself. And you’re dreading the drive home.
I wish upon the Christmas Star that I could say I’ve got it all figured out…that I’m always in alignment, living a stress-free life and enjoying every NOW that I have.
But see, chasing that would just add stress.
I’m only human after all. I’m not perfect.
I’m better than before, though.
This year, I’m not worried about the meals that I’m cooking. They WON’T be perfect, but they’ll be very good! And we’ll enjoy them all because we’ll be together…my entire family: parents, sisters, niece and nephews, children and grandchildren, husband and even Mika…and I KNOW she won’t be perfect either!
This year, there are several 100-pound Rubbermaid containers still parked in the crawl-space and the things that are out on display may actually stay out on display till Easter.
I’m enjoying THIS NOW.
And I’m sending my Christmas wishes to each and every one of you to enjoy your NOW too.
I’m claiming for you the laughter you so richly deserve; the connection of friends and family that will warm you for the rest of the year; the unconditional love that surpasses all understanding and stays in your heart forever and ever…longer than a DeBeer’s Diamond.
Merry Christmas Season Friends!