Returning Home

Trips to Columbus, Ohio are always confusing to me. I never know which direction should be referred to as “going home.” I once wrote that home is where your bed is. By that criteria, I guess Chattanooga is our home destination. However, having spent nearly 40 years living in Columbus, the paltry 3 we’ve lived in Chattanooga have not been enough to erase the feeling of returning home when we head North on 75.

This last trip North ended the longest stretch I’ve gone to date between trips to Columbus. It’s been long enough that I can’t actually remember when my last trip up was, but I know it wasn’t in this calendar year. With my remaining family all living elsewhere these days and many of my friends having moved away as well, it sometimes catches me off guard how much Columbus still feels like home. When I think about what makes it feel homey, here’s what I’ve come up with:

  1. I know how to get to every place I want to go without using GPS. If one route has traffic, I know another route, also without GPS.
  2. I can come up with restaurants I want to eat at based on style of food, quality of adult beverages, particular favorite dishes, or outdoor ambience. (I confess, I did have to check with several restaurants on whether they allow dogs on their patio or not–Tisen came along on this trip.)
  3. I know where the “bad” parts of town are.
  4. I know where the best camera shops in town are and which ones carry Canon gear.
  5. I have a doctor and a dentist there.
  6. I know where to go for a safe pedicure without an appointment.
  7. Graeter’s Ice Cream is available just about everywhere–even Costco.
  8. The biggest problem is trying to fit everyone we want to see into a few days and realizing we’re not going to be able to get to see many of the people we’d love to catch up with.
  9. We have a place to stay where there is a room just for us and our dog is welcome (and offers from several other friends to stay with them)–I guess we do have a bed in Columbus.

This trip was timed around the Columbus Guitar Show. It was my first time working a show (although I’ve attended a couple before). Manning the booth and giving away T-shirts to people who participated in my marketing campaign turned out to be both fun and exhausting.

One of the best things about our timing was that we were in Chattanooga for the beginning and end of the Riverbend Festival, but missed the middle of the 9-day event. This means we didn’t get tired of the extra people and traffic in the downtown area. And, we were home in time for the fireworks–out of all the fireworks in Chattanooga, the Riverbend fireworks are by far the best and longest display.

Why I Don’t Bake Christmas Cookies

Hello.  My name is Dianne and I’m a sugarholic.  I went for two years without sugar.  Then, a colleague showed up with a box of Thin Mints.  It was so humiliating.  I ate half the box in 15 minutes.  I had to ask her to lock her cookies in a drawer, all the while hoping she would just hand me the other half of the box.

I’ve since learned that total deprivation leads to massive binges.  I try to include healthier indulgences like super dark chocolate and fruit smoothies sweetened only with a little honey.  Occasionally, we buy ice cream, but I only trust myself with a pint at a time.

I once consulted with a nutritionist who had me do an experiment with “limited supply foods.”  She had me choose a snack and portion it into small servings that totaled the number of calories a day I was willing to spend on junk.  Then, I stocked a cabinet next to the fridge with about 2 weeks’ worth of baggies.  I could eat 2 baggies a day and no more, but I had to look at the baggies every time I got a craving and tell myself, “If I run out, I’ll buy more.”

The first day, it was torture.  All I could think about was that cabinet full of goodies calling my name.  By the second day, I was doing better between snacks and didn’t find it so difficult to concentrate on other things.  By the third day, I only remembered to eat 1 baggie.  By the fourth day, I forgot to eat them both.  Those baggies suddenly became a nice surprise when I remembered to open the cabinet instead of a looming fiend trying to corrupt my good intentions.

This was an important lesson that I have since failed to apply:  when I think something is a limited supply, I will eat every bite as fast as possible.  The nutritionist described this as a survivalist response and said it’s common among people who grew up in homes where a particular type of food was restricted.

But how to apply this to holidays and Girl Scouts?  These truly are limited supplies.  My mother-in-law sent Pat and me a box of goodies last week.  It was a large assortment of homemade and German imports.  My half lasted approximately 2 days.  My husband took pity and shared some of his half with me.

Similarly, if I make Christmas cookies, I have a problem with the dough.  Frequently, the dough never makes it into the oven.  And, realistically, me making cookies more than once a year is so far-fetched it’s comical.  So, how do I convince myself that I can get more?

The thing is, I really enjoy these things.  The tradition of celebrating friends and family through indulging in delicious food is one I don’t want to give up.  I just want to be able to enjoy them a little at a time.