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28 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Mitch Hooper

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Coming from a small town, I am baffled whenever I hear someone say they are bored in Columbus. Are you serious? Do you know what we did for fun in my hometown when winter time hit? We did laps around WalMart and drank $2.29 PBRs at the local Applebee’s. If we were lucky, they’d hand us the AUX cord after 10 p.m.

I won’t take it any longer, Columbusites. Sure, it’s cold out, and getting anywhere in this weather adds an extra 15 minutes to your drive, but there’s only one way to beat these winter blues and that means distracting yourself until warmer weather returns.

North High Brewing: Brew Your Own Beer | 1288 N High St.

This is a hobby that is best done with friends, and with patience. North High Brewing offers a brew your own beer event where you and your friends will be using a recipe from North High Brewing to craft your own beer. The cost is in the $190 to $240 (plus taxes) range plus an additional $90 for the bottling process, but that’s per batch, not per person, so load up on friends so the price per person drops significantly. After three hours at North High, and a three week waiting process, you’ll be looking at about 15 gallons of beer (roughly a keg) that can be bottled with your own customized logo!

Studio 614 | 2487 Summit St.

All the crafty people on Pinterest create the illusion that these DIY projects are quick, simple, and fun for the family, that is, until you sit down and spill your glue on the carpet. Don’t let this discourage you. You just need some assistance, and with Studio 614’s myriad of DIY classes, painting courses, and anything in between, you’ll have the skills necessary to start crafting your very own decorations for your home.

Omega Artisan Baking | 59 Spruce St.

Columbus, let’s get this bread! Better yet, let’s make this bread! These classes offer a variation of breads from flatbreads to sourdoughs, and it offers refreshments midway through as the bread baking business is a lengthy process (about three hours in total).

Bareclay Pottery Classes | 734 E Lincoln Ave.

Whether it’s Monday afternoon or good old date night, Bareclay Pottery Classes is probably hosting some sort of pottery class. Here you will learn how to use the pottery wheel which is visually satisfying alone, plus instructors will be on hand to dish out tips for glazing and the addition of other art media to your creation.

The Seasoned Farmhouse | 3674 N High St.

Isn’t it weird how our day revolves around our eating schedule, but when it comes time to whip up a meal in the kitchen, we hardly venture from the norm? At The Seasoned Farmhouse, each class is a chance to learn how to cook with seasonal ingredients so you can go home with the knowledge on how to wow your guests at your next (and potentially first ever) dinner party, or simply add a new recipe to your wheelhouse.

Planthropy: Public Workshops and Private Planting Parties | planthropy.co

Living in the city doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your green thumb; it means you have to get creative. Luckily, the interior designers and “plant people” at Planthropy are here to help an urban gardener in need. With their private parties, you and 12 friends can dive into the world of planting and maintaining succulents. Alternatively, the public workshops offer classes at places like The Candle Lab.

The Candle Lab | thecandlelab.com

The Candle Lab hosts tons of events each month pairing different things with candles. Events include the aforementioned succulent and candles class, or the Lights and Flights events where patrons can create an 8 oz. candle in addition to enjoying a flight of wine. There’s also chances to get active while you’re here where you’ll pour your own candle, and while they harden, you’ll spend time practicing yoga.

Glass Axis | 610 W Town St.

It’ll take a little time and lots of patience, but once you get the hang of it, glass blowing could be the most satisfying crafting hobby on this list. From learning the basics to venturing into sculpting and flamework, Glass Axis offers an extremely comprehensive course load to flame your glass blowing fires.

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The Nest Theatre Improv Classes | 894 W Broad St.

SNL has streamlined the improv comedy bit, but an insider’s view shows it’s much harder than it looks. Reigning in from Chicago is Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto who are here to help a potential improviser. Courses are broken up into four levels, and each one is a prerequisite for the next so don’t worry about being in over your head with more experienced improvisers.

Sew To Speak Sewing Classes | 752 High St.

Sew a man a shirt, clothe him for the day. Teach him how to sew, and he’ll be clothed for life… probably. Sew To Speak hosts sewing classes for anything from knitted stocking caps to medallion quilts to roll rugs. And if your sewing skills are subpar, they offer a general sewing class to stitch together your loose ends.

Columbus State Language Institute | 550 E Spring St.

Learning a language is tough, and it’s nearly impossible to break your native language habits on your own. That’s why Columbus State’s Language Institute is a great way to keep you learning week-in and week-out, plus the camaraderie of a classroom helps you grow with other like-minded individuals!

Westerville Public Library: Meet The Authors | 126 S. State St.

Book worms are probably invested in many groups, forums and clubs for reading, but the Westerville Public Library gives readers the opportunity to meet some of their favorite authors. Each session is a chance to hear more about a book, ask the author questions, and get your book autographed.

House Wine: Wine And Cellar Club | 644 High St.

Oenophiles have the option of two different clubs here. The first is the Wine Club where members pay $30 per month to be apart of a revolving door of two bottles of red or white wines that are delivered to House Wine at the first of the month. The other club, Cellar Club, is a bit more expensive, $60 per month, but you’ll be sipping exclusively red wines—sometimes two bottles of the same blend, other times it’s different blends.

First Choice Music Studio: Learn An Instrument | 25 North St.

It’s cliche, but at some point in our lives, we’ve probably uttered the phrase, “I wish I knew how to play an instrument.” First Choice Music Studio has a staff of qualified music instructors to teach you anything from piano to guitar. Courses are offered at $115 for one 30 minute private session per week, or $240 for one 60 minute private session per week.

Seabolt & Co.: Makeup Classes | 225 E Fifth Ave.

At this point, makeup is a master’s work of art when it comes to contouring and other makeup trends which is why it’s best to learn from an expert. With Seabolt & Co.’s three-hour makeup and cocktail class for $120 per person, you’ll learn how to do anything from smokey eyes to what skin care products work best with your skin type. Plus, you know, cocktails!

Wine & Canvas | 132 Graceland Blvd.

Bob Ross makes painting on canvas seem like the easiest thing in the world, but anyone who has attempted to follow along with his painting tutorials knows it’s hard as hell. Your beautiful nature scene looks more like something your three-year old whipped up with his fingers. Instead of getting frustrated, check out Wine & Canvas with their public and private workshops where talented artists will walk you through step-by-step on how to create on canvas, plus you’ll be sipping on wines at places like Camelot Cellars.

Idea Foundry | 421 W State St.

When it comes to the Idea Foundry, you’re only limited by your own imagination. Looking to get into welding and sheet metal work? There’s a class for that. Want to learn how to create your own mini speaker? There’s a class for that too. There’s even lectures, guest speakers, social nights, and just about anything you can dream up.

Columbus Scuba: Open Water Certification | 4680 Indianola Ave.

Sure, scuba diving in Ohio doesn’t exactly sound like an exciting hobby with our lack of beautiful beaches, but this is more of a long-term hobby. With an open water certification, you are certified to scuba dive for the rest of your life, so book that cruise vacation whenever. This course will teach you everything you need for $399, or you can dip your toes in the water with their $49 trial run of scuba diving basics.

Columbus Dance Center | 1000 B Morrison Rd.

People always say dance like nobody’s watching, but with the viralness of social media these days, you can never be too cautious. At the Columbus Dance Center, you can remove all those fears of being embarrassed on the internet with their private lessons that will teach you anything from the Waltz to the Tango to the Foxtrot. Best of all, you can dip your toes into the waters of these private lessons without shelling out some money as the first lesson is free!

Parkour Horizons | 7020 Huntley Rd.

Parkour might look dangerous on the surface, and well, that’s because it is. It’s best done with experts who have taken many of bumps and bruises to perfect their craft, and that’s what you’ll find at Parkour Horizons. Their classes will work your entire body from head to toe with strength, endurance, and flexibility training. I won’t lie to you—you’ll probably get a few bruises during the learning process, but being able to seemingly scale walls like Spiderman seems like a fair trade-off.

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Crossfit Grandview | 880 Kinnear Rd.

Alright, Crossfitters of the world, you win. This is clearly not just some fad in fitness that will go by the wayside once a newer and trendier workout routine comes into play. Crossfit is a great way to work on all the core muscles in your body, and the beginning prerequisite courses here are affordable, $10 per class, while also making sure you don’t venture into a more experienced form of crossfit that could cause you to hurt yourself.

Bikram Hot Yoga | 937 W Third Ave.

It’s cold outside and finding a way to stay fit and warm is always a challenge. But with Bikram Hot Yoga, you can get your stretch on while you get your sweat on with their studio that’s heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Just make sure you bring a towel and water because you’re going to work up a serious sweat by the end.

Cycle614 | 1636 Northwest Blvd.

Ah, cycling. All the leg-burning fun of running without having to deal with the unpredictable weather. Just like the Columbus Dance Center, don’t worry about sinking too much money into something because your first class is free here. Clip-in shoes are recommended and not provided, but obviously if this is your first time, rocking the some good old running shoes will get the job done.

GOLFTEC | golftec.com

When it comes to improving your golf game, heading to the driving range and crushing a few with the driver really isn’t going to do much. At GOLFTEC, they take the coaching aspect of golf to a whole new level. I’m talking iPads that tell you why your swing sucks. Coaches that will also tell you why your swing sucks. Hell, they even have clubs that will break down statistically why your swing sucks!

REI Rock Climbing Classes | rei.com

If there’s anything on this list giving parkour a run for its money for “Hobby Best Done With An Expert,” it’s rock climbing. With rock climbing, there’s not a lot of room for error so getting educated is an absolute must. With REI’s rock climbing classes, you’ll travel to an outdoor location where an expert will provide you with the know-how as well as the gear to get you off the ground.

Columbus Recreation And Parks: Sports Leagues | Varies

The weather outside is unpredictable. Is it going to snow today, or will it be sunny and 55? That might put a damper on outdoors sports, but the Columbus Recreation and Parks Sports Office has the solution. While the weather is still not ideal, they offer indoor leagues like basketball or volleyball (sign ups end Feb. 15 so don’t hesitate!), and once the weather gets back to being warm, you can put together squads for other sports like softball.

Orangetheory Fitness | orangetheoryfitness.com

Orangetheory takes the idea of “keeping up with the Joneses,” but makes it fitness. At Orangetheory’s fitness classes and courses, your heart rate is monitored and quantified into five different stages of effort with the goal that you’ll enter the “orange effect” zone where your body is operating at optimal caloric burning. These stats are displayed on a large board in the class to keep you honest, and creates a mild competition to have the most time in the “orange effect” zone.

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Liven up your green space for Earth Day

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The first few breezes of fresh spring air are reminders for how rejuvenating green is after a season full of snow, coats and blankets. Grand ambitions for gardens start to grow as well. But without a plan, many of the intentions for a yard full of blooms can fall into neglect.

To help any aspiring plant parent make the most of their budding green thumbs, Franklin Park Conservatory Supervisor Win Fox shares his wisdom for how to nurture plants both inside a living space and out in a garden.


Think about space and lifestyle

When thinking about what kinds of plants are most suitable for a living space, the first consideration is the window location. Plants need certain amounts of light, so northern or eastern-facing windows are better suited for low-light plants, while southern or western windows can sustain plants that need a bit more sunshine.

Photos by Brian Kaiser

Second, think about the actual amount of space available; the fiddle leaf fig—a crowd favorite, according to Fox—isn’t going to fit on a table, for example. “You’ve just got to make sure you have space for it because that’s a tree,” Fox said. “We have one at the conservatory that fills up our whole Palm House practically. It’s 60 feet tall.”

Finally, Fox says thinking about how much care you are willing to dedicate to taking care of plants is important. There are plants, like the ZZ palm, that only require watering every now and then. But he says that once someone starts working with plants, they’ll only get more involved. “It’s one of those hobbies that, once you get the ball rolling, you can’t really stop.”

Be an attentive, but not a helicopter, plant parent

Although some garden centers will advise plants be watered at specific intervals, say, once a month, Fox says knowing when to water is more based on what the soil looks like. Soil should never be bone dry, but if you stick a finger into it when the top layer is dry and feel some dampness underneath, you can probably wait a day or two to water. Alternatively, the plant’s soil shouldn’t always be wet because then it could rot or even drown.

Fox recommends keeping plants on top of a saucer in a ceramic planter, which allows the plant to breathe, with a drainage hole on the bottom. A decent rule is that in the winter when plants aren’t growing as quickly, they need less water, whereas in the summer they might need more. 

Additionally, first moving a plant from the store to a home can cause the plant stress. Garden centers, for example, tend to be more humid and have more light, compared to the dryness and darkness of a house, particularly during the winter and early spring. 

“Your plant might start to exhibit some signs of stress right away, and you think you’ve done something wrong,” Fox said. “Then you changed the environment again, and it’s still not doing better, and you kind of lose hope.”

When people ask him what’s wrong with their plants, Fox says his frequent advice is to be patient. “[The plant] has just, you know, been through a lot right now.”

 Want to start a garden? Many of the same rules apply

As in picking a house plant, deciding on a concept for a garden also means factoring in lighting. Summer annual vegetables have high light demands, so Fox says the garden needs southern exposure and at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. 

Soil is the next consideration. Here in Ohio the soil has a lot of clay, which means people tend to amend theirs with compost or other organic material to ensure it has enough nutrients for the plants to thrive. With that in mind, Fox also said new gardens will tend to have enough nutrients in the existing soil to grow. 

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Start seeds early, and keep them hydrated once they’re outside
Fox says plants available at garden centers starting in May are typically good options for a beginner garden. Tomatoes and summer squashes like zucchini are great for the warm season, but Fox even recommended trying out fall squashes like pumpkins and butternuts. For those wanting to branch out a bit, Fox says at the conservatory they like to grow okra and beans, though those are prime target for bunnies and groundhogs.

If you want to start with your own seeds in the future, early spring is the best time to get those planted and growing in a sunny windowsill. Starting seeds early gives them time to germinate, sprout, and grow a few inches before it’s time to move them outside in May, once the chance of frost has passed. In contrast, cool season vegetables like cabbages and broccolis can go in the ground in March. 

Unlike house plants, the transition from inside to outside won’t cause as much stress to garden plants. They’re less finicky and tend to be happy in the ground, says Fox. 

The key to a successful planting, though, is to water immediately after the sprouts go in the ground and every day for a couple weeks until the roots expand into the surrounding soil, while monitoring for wilting, Fox said. 

“You’ll be tending to them in their little pots, and they’ll have nice roots down in your potting soil, and they’ll be happy all the moisture’s going to be trapped in there.” Fox said. “Once you get them in the ground, that will stress them a little bit…. Your soil is probably going to draw moisture away from the root zone.”

Keep the animals away

Gardeners have a wide range of innovative strategies to keep their plots animal- and bug-free. Fox says small fences work for rodents, groundhogs rabbits, and a bigger fence, if possible, will also keep away deer. 

There’s also a strange variety of repellents. Some use garlic and other spices and oils like cinnamon and clove. Some people use products that contain dried blood, which elicits a fear response in animals. Others hang aluminum pans that clang when the wind blows, or they’ll snag hair clippings from a local barber shop or salon, stuff those in pantyhose and make the garden area smell as if people are around.

Figuring out how to keep plants alive can seem like a daunting task, especially for those with a dismal history. But Fox says he and the horticulture team at the Franklin Park Conservatory are ready to give advice on keeping plants healthy and happy. 

“If you’re looking for inspiration to anybody who’s looking to get into gardening, we’re a great place to stop by and our horticulture staff will be […] happy to answer any questions that you may have.”

The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers gardening classes for kids and adults and several plant sales throughout the year. Visit fpconservatory.org to more information.

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TBT: CPD didn’t “Take it Easy” on Eagles’ Glenn Frey

Mike Thomas

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The Dude may not be a fan, but the fact remains that the Eagles are one of the biggest rock acts of all time. How big, you ask? Their greatest hits album was the best-selling album of the 20th century in the US, and is certified 38x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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If you found that figure shocking, you might also be surprised to learn that Eagles frontman Glenn Frey was once hauled in by Columbus Police on charges of drug possession and public intoxication.

Knowing the dim view that “the man” took toward marijuana in 1973 (the year of the arrest) we can assume that Mr. Frey was probably shackled for little more than a puff or two on a backstage doobie.

Happy 4/20 and rest in peace, Glenn! Sorry our city’s police force harshed your mellow way back then, and thanks for all the “peaceful, easy feelings” your tunes have given us through the years!

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Arts & Music

Serenity now! 614 interviews Jason Alexander ahead of Cbus performance

Mike Thomas

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If you’re expecting a stand-up comedy routine from a frumpily-dressed Jason Alexander full of jokes about soup and shrinkage and Festivus, move on.

Alexander’s still getting laughs. But, they’re a different kind as he returns to his roots as a Broadway show performer, taking his singing, dancing, piano-playing, storytelling routine across the country with a pops-style show that will arrive in Columbus this month. Alexander will join the Columbus Symphony Orchestra to tell the story of his life on the screen and stage.

(614) recently had the delightful opportunity to speak with the Tony Award-winning actor about the show, his love of poker, and the influence of George Costanza on our culture in 2019.  

(614): “An Evening With Jason Alexander” comes to the Ohio Theatre on April 27. What can our readers expect from
the performance?

JA: (Chuckling.) I’m only laughing because I’ve been doing this for about three years, and that’s always the first question! So “An Evening With” is a pop show that I’ve been doing for about three years all around the country. I know most people may not immediately think of me as a singer if they know me from my roles on television, but it is a more-or-less autobiographical journey through my love affair with music from the Broadway stage.

Some of it is things that I’ve performed on Broadway, some of it is not. A lot of it is very funny. A lot of it is just great music. It’s a slightly different show in that, although there’s a symphony orchestra up there, it does feel like an intimate evening. There’s lots of storytelling, and at one point in the show I bring about seven people up on the stage—and they are truly not plants, I pick them at random—and they wind up performing a number with me.

How does preparing for a role like this where you’re appearing as yourself differ from a performance where you’re appearing in character?

The preparation is all emotional. I went into performing because I was a really shy kid, so I was able to hide in plain sight. I could be with people, be out in front of people, and I was always more or less hiding behind some character. I’ve always said the five worst words for me in the English language are, “Ladies and gentlemen—Jason Alexander.” That usually scares the hell out of me! That means I have to go out there and be myself. 

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The beautiful thing about this show is the preparation was all in creating the show. If you’re going to go in front of people and take their time and present yourself as an entertainer, what story or stories do you want to share, and how do you want to play with an audience so they have a
very full and very rewarding time? That was all the hard part. In the actually getting up and doing it, I’ve been pretty lucky that I’ve been playing with some of the best orchestras in the country, so when I’m up there I’m generally having a pretty good time. If I’m not, something’s gone terribly wrong. 

You’ve made a name for yourself in the competitive poker world, even appearing in the main event at the World Series of Poker. How did your interest in poker begin?

Almost everybody in my business bumps into poker at some point, because if you do theater and movies, there’s a lot of down time. More often than not, somebody will say, “Hey, let’s play some poker.” But it was around the time that the celebrity poker shows started in the early 2000’s that I remember being invited to be a player on a televised poker thing, and my publicist represented [professional Poker player] Phil Hellmuth at the time, and he said “Hey, I represent this professional poker player, would you like a lesson?” And I said, “What the hell. The guy calls himself a professional poker player. Let me go see who he is.” After about ten minutes my head was spinning. I realized there was so much about this game I did not understand, never knew, would never understand. But I became fascinated with it. 

It is such a rich game in that there are so many ways you can play it. You can play it as a mathematical player, you can play it as an instinctual player. It is an actor’s game because you are always making impressions about yourself at the table, always trying to understand the impression other players are making. I’m so fascinated by the game, but my fascination does not, unfortunately, mean that I am good at it. I am entertaining at the table, I generally know right from wrong, but sometimes right doesn’t work, and even knowing wrong I have proceeded to do the wrong thing time and time again. It’s kind of like life, you never stop being surprised and learning more about it. 

I also meet amazing people at the poker table, fascinating people that I would never otherwise meet. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 30 years and I work in the entertainment business, so I don’t often meet guys who are driving buses in Cleveland, Ohio, or work in accounting firms in Wyoming, but at the poker table you meet people from every walk of life.

For nine seasons in the 90s, you played the iconic role of George Costanza on the classic sitcom Seinfeld. What lessons can George teach us in 2019, or where in our modern culture do you see the character’s influence?

Well, if I am to believe social media, the president is making a lot of George-isms. The one that keeps being tweeted at me is, people believe the president may be subscribing to the Costanza philosophy of “it’s not a lie if you believe it.” I am afraid, unfortunately if you want to be serious, that the sort of selfishness and short-sightedness and narcissism that George Costanza was certainly guilty of may have infected a lot of our modern culture right now, and to nobody’s good, I’m afraid.

Jason Alexander will perform at the Ohio Theater on April 27th at 8 p.m. For tickets information, visit columbussymphony.com/events.

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