Stopping to smell roses: 13 acres of beauty

A honeybee, her pollen baskets full, works the open blossom of Carrousel at the Park of Roses. (Cindy Decker photo)

Columbus’ Park of Roses isn’t just a glorious romp of color and fragrance with 12,000 rosebushes on its 13 acres.

The park is also a memorial to many, an homage to others.

Walking the wide paths, I spend almost as much time wondering about the people named on the rectangular green plaques as I do about the flowers themselves. Every person honored had a story, someone who loved him or her.

After my father died in 1998, I adopted a rose bed in honor of my parents. My mother, who had died years earlier, loved roses, and I still remember the names of ones she grew. read more

Visiting the parks: Blacklick an urban retreat

Native wildflowers attract bees and butterflies to Blacklick Woods Metro Park.

Just like the citizens of central Ohio, Metro Parks are a wide-ranging lot, offering everything from herb gardens to strenuous hikes for the 8 million people who visit them annually.

In its 19 parks, Metro Parks boasts 200 miles of trails on more than 27,000 acres of land in seven counties.

But people tend to have their favorite parks, the ones that draw them for afternoons out. (My favorite is Highbanks, but more on that another day.)

Realizing that I’ve explored only eight of the Metro Parks, I put visiting all of them on my list of goals. read more

Playing with kitties: A great way to relax

Blake, the cat almost renamed Crush, climbs into one of the cat trees.
Key recorded blackmail evidence that I must hide from my own cats.

My friend Key and I decided three things after a visit to Eat, Purr, Love, central Ohio’s first cat cafe.

No. 1. An hour really is long enough to play with kittens and cats.

No. 2. If you find a cat that you might want to take home, don’t dally with your decision. The cat might be adopted before you act, even if you have picked out a really cool name.

No. 3. The coffee and tea might be a little expensive, but the money goes to a good cause.

The cafe on Indianola Avenue in Clintonville is open six days a week, letting visitors meet cats from the Capital Area Humane Society that are available for adoption.   (The cafe is closed Mondays because, according to the website, “Cats do their laundry and get pedis on Mondays.”) read more

Big band sounds: A lesson in social norms

Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra gets ready to perform. (Cindy Decker)

What I expected to be a simple night out a few weeks ago – a one-and-done kind of activity – took an unexpected turn into discussions of audience behavior, expectations, and, well, what constitutes fun.

The performance by Vaughn Wiester’s Famous Jazz Orchestra at the Clintonville Women’s Club fell into the category of “things I didn’t know that I don’t know” (which is a large category indeed).

Evidently, I went into the event with one gigantic misconception.

I thought that because the orchestra performs weekly in a social club   – an event that has been going on 20 years – the atmosphere would be somewhat casual. Food is served, and guests may bring in alcoholic drinks. I expected the music to be dominant, of course, but I also expected talking, laughing and perhaps even some dancing. read more