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  • Writer's pictureJOHN OSLER'S UPBEAT Admin



As the holidays loom and undone tasks build. it would be easy to slip into grumpiness. We will have to make space and plan to feed a lot of our family again after having it all to ourselves, or try and find a convenient affordable airfare and get out of town.

We are at a time of year when things pile up, and we are up against a very real deadline of December 25. This is a difficult period with its unspoken demands that this coming holiday season should be a constant joyous celebration of life. Starting in December it seems that everything is stacked against us. We will have little sunshine and more darkness in Michigan. We are asked to shop at a time when stocks of goods are running short and the only parking places are at the other end of the mall. Exiting the shopping center your spirits probably won’t be lifted by the gloomy bearded guy by the cauldron eying with disapproval your donation of what was left in your pocket.

You should be watching your weight and your alcohol consumption exactly when you  need it the most. There will be little solace and understanding drifting your way from your nearby family and friends who don’t really have time, what with all their shopping. It seems that understanding, merriment and glee won’t be back in our lives until probably after Christmas dinner, right after we have had a chance to chat with that contrary uncle. if we live that long.

December sweeps in and challenges us all to remain civil and supportive of others. and we are inclined to go into our protective mode. We add layers of clothes to protect us from the chill early winter winds and pad ourselves against our inability to get everything done in time.

This is the season for decorating, forgetting, procrastinating, and neglecting.

Every year we are starting to decorate for the holidays a little earlier. Shops and front yards have had strings of lights strung, new bangles have been dangled and a lot of green  and red objects have suddenly appeared. This is intended to lift your spirit but can sometimes just remind us that we should be doing more.

What we need most at this time of year is some support and comforting smiles

Finding peace while getting all your shopping done.

At my darkest moments of falling behind in my assigned holiday tasks , I am often lifted by observing a kind act or friendly word. It happens when someone offers to help me carry my purchases to my car at Eastern Market. It happens when I get a card in the mail with a message from someone that I had lost touch with, and it happens when I listen to some carols and hear the joyous message. It happens when I hear the silly songs that remind me that we sometimes take life too seriously. It happens when we see the glee in children’s faces.

At times like this I try to be around creative people who welcome challenge and confront obstacles as part of their gig. I have noticed that so many relaxed jazz musicians who slide out of the cold and into the Dirty Dog seem thrilled to have this gig added to their busy schedule. This makes me wonder what is it about musicians that they can shake any  anxiety and just get lost in their music.

To play jazz you must carefully listen to one another, and you must be free to focus on the task at hand. Jazz musicians are remarkably good at clearing their heads. It could be that they just know how to enjoy and relish the moment. This allows them to smile their way through December.


Some people like the idea of having a more tranquil holiday. They would choose to seek out a peaceful place where they can think deep thoughts. The Dirty Dog Jazz Café would not be  that place. Not that there isn’t any deep thinking there, but just that there is a lot more frivolity than quiet.

Break the cycle and take someone with you for a night out for some good food served as if you deserved the best. Top it off by getting lost in some jazz.

Each week the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe hosts spirit lifting live performances from the greatest jazz musicians across the country.

This week the Dirty Dog will be prepared to help you celebrate this glorious season. Forget about all the anxieties that tend to well up at the holidays. They will make sure that once you pass through into this cozy and comfortable place you will find a genial staff, a kindly bartender, tasty food and good fellowship.  Shahida Nurullah and her band  will chase the loop of bad seasonal jingles out of your head.

We hope that you will join us for an evening of good will and good fellowship at the Dirty Dog, and that you find peace and comfort in your home all through the holidays.

John Osler


December 19 – December 22


Put your snow shovel aside and  discover what Shahida Nurullah is up to. Sometimes we overuse the word resilient . Whatever, resilient is the first word that comes to mind that best describes Shahidah. Hers has been a life of bouncing back and then being asked to bounce back again. The bumps in her life included a serious accident that left her challenged to speak. Well, her beautiful voice is a testimony to the recuperative power of music. Don’t miss Shahidah. We are blessed to be able to hear her inspirational voice which will be on display Wednesday through Saturday.


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