Bye-Bye Buddy

Yesterday, a Facebook memory punched me in the face, as they sometimes do.  This particular one was a photo of a dog with a woman I met once, who came one afternoon and took him from me.

It was six years ago yesterday, and it was a very bad day.

We had been evicted from The Dump, as I so lovingly called it, and with that relief came also bitter disappointment as I was turned away from apartments time after time, due solely to breed restrictions.  I had cash in hand and good references, but I also had a pitbull.  His name was Buddy, and we had been together for a year when the word came that we had to leave.  It was one of the hardest years of my life, and without my pup I truly do not know how I would have gotten through it.  And then, when it just kept getting worse, he was ripped away from me.

Buddy and I had a lot in common, the main thing being anxiety.  But when I was in bed crying, he would nuzzle under the blanket and curl beside me.  And when he was having a panic attack over loud noises, I would climb into the closet where he would hide and he would put his head in my lap.  We were each other’s comfort.

Then, I had to give him up.

The woman, a friend of a friend, ran a group that rescued animals, and she certainly rescued Buddy.  She took him to a doggy day spa and the vet and got him all shiny and clean for his foster, but then they fell through.  There was a mad scramble to find him a home.  The post about Buddy was shared on Facebook over 20k times.  Then, a woman in Allegany, I believe, came and saved the day.

So yesterday, this picture shows up in my memories, and I cry, and then I send a message to the woman who rehomed him for me, thanking her for taking care of my dear little friend.  I told her that I always imagined him running in a field with a friend somewhere, as that was his favorite thing to do with me.  She thanked me for the kind words and said “You are right about running in fields.  He had his huge backyard and mountainside to roam and enjoy.”

…had.

I did the math.  Dogs don’t usually live for thirteen years.  I don’t know what I was thinking.

So, while it may not have technically been yesterday, I’m claiming it.  Yesterday is the day my dog died.

Buddy, An Obituary:
Known by many names throughout his life, this dog was nothing if not your friend, and so we called him Buddy.  A brown and white pitbull with floppy ears and a clipped tail due to an accident in youth, he never let his disabilities get the best of him.   Lover of rolling in the grass and peanut butter; enemy of car rides, fireworks, and the mailman.  He was the proud brother to four beautiful little kiddos.  On Friday afternoons, you could often find him waiting at the window for their arrival.  He protected and played with them, as though they were his pups.  Dear friend to Mark, he was always ready for a midnight play date after Mark got off the night shift. Constant companion of Brigid, always by her side, Buddy dedicated his existence to her comfort, and she to his.  His big brown eyes and sloppy smile will be missed by everyone.  (Her, especially.)

Football Sunday

I haven’t been around for a variety of reasons, none of which I feel like delving into, so let’s talk about football.

When I got married, my husband and I made an agreement of sorts.  He would listen to a bunch of Canadian rock and folk pop music that he never heard before and I would learn the game of football.

Let’s just say he’s taken to the music better than I took to the game.

Sometimes I’m involved, because I get the basics now and can follow it all, but I also get distracted a lot when they aren’t making plays.  So, I like to tease.  As one does.

Sunday, I decided to make some comparisons between the football game and live theater.  Just for funsies.  Just to get on Hubs nerves a little.  But oh, my goodness…it became so easy!

First of all, there’s merch in the lobby.  Nothing I could find in the way of a Playbill, but you do need a ticket to get in, so there’s that. Then you get your snacks and find your seats, and the preshow starts…usually they send you a band or an organ player or maybe a comedian, but here we have some people singing and cheerleaders dancing, and some folks make the house announcements…the signal for the start of show.  Except no one tells you to turn your cellphones off.

Then the opening scene, the coin toss!  Filled with drama and suspense right off the bat as they decide which team will get the ball first, and then the dance begins!  I say dance, because if you think about it, this is all carefully choreographed.  They follow plays that are laid out in the locker room and on the field, and while there may be some variances in execution, they have a game plan when they head out onto the stage…I mean field.  The “live stream” shows the coach, who is, for all intents and purposes, the director of the piece.  They show the quarterback, our leading man!  Then the supporting players are on the field and they are running and kicking and throwing and catching and how elaborate this performance is, truly.

At some point Mark was getting annoyed with me, but then one of the players made a touchdown and took AN ACTUAL BOW, and he hung his head in shame.  I was rather disappointed by what appeared to be a lack of climax followed by little to no curtain call, but overall, it was a lovely little Sunday matinee.

I don’t know if I will ever be a true football fan.  I have no problem telling you that I am bandwagon hopper, even though I was born here in Buffalo, which comes with it certain inalienable rights, such is that you are, first and foremost, a Bills fan.  To be other in Western New York is to be an outsider.  I don’t know what to tell you, that’s just how it is.  So, thinking to myself that it’s also a little like church, what with the Sunday of it all and the community connection and weird veneration of things, and I’ve done church, so I could do football, right?  Then to my surprise, to find it so much like theater!  Yes, I may annoy my husband during the game with my commentaries, but at least I’m trying.  Like I said, he cam belt out some Ani DiFranco and Marianas Trench with the best of them, so I had better pick up the ball…har dee har har.

Also, the snacks are usually good.

20 as 20

To start, I am 38 years old, in case you were unaware. 

I have very little problem with aging.  In fact, I embrace it.  I felt very awkward and weird until I was about 30, and I am loving this stage of my life far more than I did the previous few decades, likely because I have found a well of confidence in myself, due to things like feeling secure in my writing.  I have grown as a person more in the past 8 years than I did in the previous 20, and I am, frankly, very proud of myself.  So, aging does not scare me.

Terrifies the crap out of my husband, though.  He threw his back out not long ago and couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that he just cant lift 150 pounds anymore.  Kevin also has an aging issue, hoping that he is long gone before he ends up in a nursing home or something.  I personally think nursing homes are going to be rocking when were older.  I mean, it’s not like you turn 65 and have to take up knitting and backgammon.  Were gone have Xbox tournaments in our nursing homes, guys.  But I digress.

So, being 38 and aware of my health and such, I am usually comfortable with my limitations.  However, this weekend, there was no time for limits.

Let me tell you briefly about Nick.  Nick and I went to school together since PreK, and he was Kevin’s other best friend when we were kids.  We grew up together through Kev, and by high school, we had become very good friends.  Nick’s greatest talent is music, specifically the drums.  He has been playing since he was a kid, and sometime around the turn of the century he started his first band, Lurid.  I was a fan, though their music was a little heavy for me, but I went to dozens of shows.  Later, they disbanded and he formed Mad Yellow Sun, a band I liked much more, so I attended most of their shows.  After a while, Nick needed to progress, so he packed up his things and moved to Hollywood.  Ever since, he has been teaching music and performing with various groups and touring the world playing his favorite instrument.  I could not be prouder of my friend.

Anyway, a few months ago, Nick sent out a Facebook invite to a show he was doing near Buffalo.  He was going on tour with one of his bands, and I was of course excited to see him.  Thing is, it fell on Friday night…the night before the suicide walk, which was at 8am.  “I can do it,” I tell myself.  “I’ve done it before!”

Yeah, at 20, you idiot.

First of all, I woke up Friday morning and immediately made myself throw up.  Why, you ask?  Think of it as a preventative measure.  I wasn’t about to have some crap sitting in my stomach all morning only to flare up and make me sick on this, the day of days.  I took some Zofran and some Xanax and drank some coffee and was fine.  It was a good sign.

Around 530pm, Kevin and Johnny came over to pregame.  I went and got ready, taking a shower and getting dressed and putting on actual makeup.  I learned who my true friends are when I applied new foundation and Mark and John said I looked great, but Kevin told me “I cannot let you leave the house like that.”  Always got my back, that one.  As I reapplied, I thought of all the nights spent on someone’s kitchen floor getting ready for a “Nick show” back in the day.  I was momentarily grateful that it no longer took me two hours to get ready, though, even with the makeup reapplication. 

Eventually I was on the road, but, as it is when you are trying to be 20, it was one damn thing after another.  First, my sister, who was supposed to come, lost her ID.  Then my cousin decided to stay home.  Then Bern found ID, but didn’t go because Erin stayed.  Then my lighter died, so I had to get a new one.  Then, I had to go to the bank.  Then, I had to drive to flippin Tonawanda, which is a good 30 minutes from my house in South Buffalo.  By the time I got there and found parking I was terrified I was late.  Alas, no.

I saw him standing there talking to a group of people I don’t know. I waited for a lull in the conversation, and then said “Hi, Nicki.”

Nick’s reactions to seeing someone he misses are intense.  He is a hugger extraordinaire, and has the ability to make you feel as though you are the most important person in the room.  Which, I suppose is a good quality for a performer, but when you’re his friend, it truly is a genuine moment.  He tells me his mother is inside the bar.  Now, let me tell you about Joanne.

As there has always been me, Kevin, and Nick, there has also always been my mother, Sharon, and Joanne.  Sharon is Kev’s mother and I have always thought of her as my aunt, and another maternal presence in my life, as she helped raise me up as much as my mother helped raise up Kev.  Then Joanne, whom I because close to during my very tumultuous teen years, and a time when I felt like I couldn’t express things to my own mother.  She stepped in and filled that role whenever I needed her to.  She always was there for me, and for Kevin as well should he need her.  She still calls us her “babies.”  A while back, Jo got sick.  She has been battling some vicious cancer for a couple years now, and I haven’t been able to see her because she lives in North Carolina.  So, to hear she was mere feet away at the bar was incredible news, just as good as seeing Nick play again.

After greeting everyone and freaking out over Joanne being there, I ordered a drink and posted up by the window to take in the scene.  I need moments like this in crowded places, so as to keep myself grounded and not panicky.  An older gentleman sidled up beside me and started chatting me up.  After a little conversation he tells me that he hopes I’m not “weirded out by the old guy hitting on you.”  I tell him I’m not, and I’m flattered, but taken.  He smiles and tells me to have a good night and is on his way, and it makes me realize that this never would have happened if I were 20.

First of all, I didn’t have the confidence then that I do now and probably wouldn’t even have registered that the guy was interested.  Secondly, he never would have spoken to me because that would mean breaking me away from the pack I traveled in once upon a time.  If I’d had half a brain back then, I would have got a drink and stood alone for five minutes.  Could have met a guy instantly!  Again, I digress…

Eventually Nick goes on and plays better than I’ve heard, because it’s been like ten years since I saw him perform last.  I started to feel woozy mid-set, however, and went out for some air.  Jo was also outside feeling icky, and I told her I had to go.  I felt bad leaving early, particularly because I would have liked to spend some more time with Nick and her, but I couldn’t risk illness.  My attempt to relive my 20s wasn’t over yet.  I drove home and took my meds and went to bed…eventually.  I was weirdly amped up and tossed and turned all night.

I don’t know how I woke up at 7am feeling well, but I did, and it was a miracle.  8am found us out the door and headed downtown, and I thought of things like how I used to go party all night and then work a shift the next day.  How crazy!  I was so tired, and a little hungover.  Two beers might not be much for most people, but I am a lightweight who barely drinks, and I was feeling those Blue Moon’s from the bar that morning.

The walk was lovely.  It was bigger than last year’s experience which was significantly downgraded due to the pandemic, but it was still fairly small.  They spaced everything out nicely, and staggered arrival times for participants, so it wasn’t too crowded.  I raised 710$ this year, and was congratulated by the registration lady.  They gave me a t-shirt, they took our picture, and we walked around and looked at the info tables and basket raffle and such.  Then, we took a little walk, not as much as I would have liked to but as previously stated I was hungover and also my leg was killing me for some unknown reasons; probably the boots I chose to wear the night before.

Then, back to the car and home again and change of clothes and pack a bag and time for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  What’s that you say?  Its’ September?  Well, that means we are halfway there, so let’s do it up right!

Except they didn’t.  I’d like to say it was fun, and I guess it was to see people out and to be out myself, but the parade itself was lame.  Usually the best one (when held on actual St. Paddy’s Day,) this was just kind of sad.  It was a handful of families, a couple of bars with floats, a single pipe and drum band, and 4 politicians (and not even the one I’m voting for.)  Add in three fire trucks and a weird procession of Jeeps, and you have the entire parade.  No real music, no dancers, nothing.  Yawn.

Speaking of yawns, by the time I got home it was around 2pm and I was exhausted, I watched a little tv and then passed out on the couch.  I spent 20 hours acting like I was 20-drinking and partying and not sleeping and overexerting. 

And it was a blast, but, as I stated in the beginning…I like my 30s.  I like the pace I’ve got going here, and I hope it continues into the next decade.  As much fun as I had in that 20 hours is also as much exhaustion as I faced.  I have to face it-I am a one event per 24-hour period person now.

Still, it is joyous to grab those little moments where you can remember yourself in your youth, and I felt that this weekend, particularly on Friday night.  For a moment while I listed to Nick play, I’m sure, that in the right light, you could have sworn I was only 20 years old.

Inking

When I was 15, my mother told me that I could dye my hair any color I wanted, but I could never get a tattoo or piercing. (PS this was pre-crazy colors.  She would later eat her words when I dyed it purple.)  Her logic at the time was sound; she had worked as an HIV counselor at the Red Cross and was understandably wary of tattoos, especially back in the day when there weren’t as many sanitary precautions in place.  Also, I recall her saying something about only sailors, soldiers, and prisoners getting tattoos.

Then one day I was watching an episode of The Nanny, and Fran was debating getting a tattoo.  Her mother forbade it because it meant she could not be buried in a Jewish cemetery, which I thought was bonkers, of course.  Still, it certified in me that tattoos were not something that I should aspire to. 

Then came 18.  Many of my friends ran out to get tattoos and piercings, but I declined. My mother’s words echoed in my head, telling me that I would have it forever, and what if I regretted it?  Still, I picked one out: drama masks. 

Cut to today, at 38.  I never got that tattoo, and I’m sort of glad I didn’t, because my stint in theater wasn’t as lifelong as I had hoped at the time.  I mean, I could have adapted the meaning.  Mark has a similar tattoo, after all.  Alas, I’m glad I never got it.  But, I am furious I never got anything.

I let all those old fears hold me back, worried about what my parents would think.  I am damn near 40 and I’m WORRIED ABOUT WHAT MY MOTHER WILL THINK OF IT??  My sister got a tattoo when she was like 19 and hid it for years.  I even knew a guy once who got a white ink tattoo so his mother wouldn’t notice it…I mean what is even the point there?

Also, now that I am older there are several tattoos that I want that I don’t think I will ever regret.  The first is a St. Brigid’s cross.  Preferably with a flame behind it, to represent the goddess as well, and I’d like it on my wrist.  The second is one I want to get with Bernie, a Celtic sisterhood symbol, which would be large and colorful and on my shoulder.  And if I mange to go though with those, then I’m going to get a crown tattoo on the back of my neck, which I surmise will hurt the most.  Alas, they all represent things about me that are never going to change.  So how could I regret them?

And why am I so held back my old stereotypes and concerns?  Almost everyone I know has a tattoo nowadays.  I recall being petrified bringing Mark home to meet my mother, because of the ink on his forearms.  In the end, she didn’t care, just like she didn’t really care when Bernie got hers.  Which is probably the same reaction I will get. 

The way I figure it, I have been poked and prodded so many times during this illness, what’s a little pinchy-scrape feeling?  I think I’ll be fine.  And I think I will love what I get, because the more I age, the less I give a crap.

Idk whose knee this is, but I love the work.

Witchy Women

I never had a bachelorette party.  Some ideas were thrown around between me and my Maid of Honor, Jaime, but we never came to rest on anything and the year surrounding my wedding was so crazy that it just didn’t seem feasible at the time.  So, I never had a night out with my girls.

Not that I really have girls.

In grade school, I had three girls I hung out with, Christina, Sabine, and Jamie (a different one.  Note the spelling.)  But my best friend remained Kevin, and I hung with him and the boys as much as I did with the girls.  In high school I was surrounded by women, and had a group of about ten that I spent my days with.  Of course, now, that group has dwindled to two that I speak with regularly, Jaime (my MOH) and Chelsea. 

Recently, Sahar’s sister posted some photos on Instagram of her and her girl group out on the town, and I felt a twinge of jealousy.  I never had anything like that, and it turns out, I want it.

So, I decided to plan a girl’s trip.  I enlisted the help of my cousin Sarah who is a travel planner (check out her page here) because I am just nonsense when it comes to hotels and reservations and tickets for things.  I picked a place, Salem, Massachusetts, and a date: Sept. 15 2022.  I compiled a list of my nearest and dearest, as well as my sister and her nearest and dearest, and I think it will make for an excellent group excursion.  I have already made a list of things to do, and am super excited to share it all with my friends.

I went to Salem as a kid and had an absolute blast, but I do recall many things I wanted to do that my age had restricted me from.  Now I can go see a psychic and the satanic temple and go in the magic shoppes!  Very exciting.

I asked Twitter if they had been on girl’s trips before and the results were mostly positive, save a poor girl who lost her wallet shortly into her excursion.  Most chicks seem to want to travel to beachy areas, and I love a good beach, but Salem in September is more my speed. 

And so, like I did when I had a year to go until the cruise I took with my sister, I will start saving my money now, because I don’t want to worry about it down the road.  I told Sarah I didn’t want anything fancy, but I definitely want fun.  I’d rather spend more money on attractions than lodging, y’know?  I mean, we’re only going to sleep there.

Alas, I have never planned a major trip before, so this should be fun.  And I am fortunate to have an awesome planner in the family, too.  I am very excited, even though it is a year away.  Something to look forward to; something to work for.

.com

Hello again, my friends.

I was terribly ill for about a week, resulting in a hospital overnight that was, in the end, exactly what I needed all along.  The combination of meds and a saline drip did wonders for my disposition.  The docs think I caught a bug that aggravated my gastroparesis that caused dehydration and exhaustion.  I thought I had Covid, and freaked out, but my test was blessedly negative.  I went home Thursday morning feeling much improved, better than I have felt in weeks, actually. 

Then came E.  She spent her week with us and we had a lovely time together as always, and she continues to amaze me and make me proud.  She is turning into this beautiful and fun young woman and I am just in awe of her.  We went out to dinner and to the beach and hiking and to the farmer’s market and the family reunion and last night we had dinner with my parents and played Nightmare, this game from the 90’s that Kevin and I loved as kids.  Kev won the game, the first time in our history that ANYONE has won the game before the clock ran out.  It was great fun.  She headed home this morning and now I am sitting here, playing catch-up.

Another thing that happened is an angel came to visit me.  They gave me something special…a sponsorship of sorts.  While I was stressing about where to get the funds to run my website another year, not to mention buy my domain for my blog, fate moved as it does and the angel came and gave me a gift. Brigidhannon.com soldiers on for another year, selling books and connecting me to the world.  And now, hamneggs716.com, my baby, my darling, my little pumpkin-faced peanut, finally!  20 years I have had a blog, and I never bought her a domain.  Now, we exist.

So, that’s what has been going on.

Now, I have to write.  I have to finish this blog and start on one of the other three I have up and coming.  I have to work on content for my Patreon account, and plan out a video poem that I am going to use to raise some funds for the AFSP.  Then, I have to pray St. John Bosco, the patron saint of publishers and editors, that my editor will email me soon.  Also, I guess I should do the laundry?

On Money and Brainstorms

I remember my grade school English class, when we learned about thought bubbles, or whatever they are called.  It was a way to teach us how to brainstorm, which was something I had already been doing but had no word for.

I brainstorm A LOT.  Likely because of my anxiety and the fact I am an overthinker.  I use it in my writing life, of course, as I am supposed to, but I use it for other things as well.  Today, we are brainstorming.  We, being me, Kevin, and Sahar, as they are the two friends I have spoken with already this morning. 

See, I need about 200 bucks.  $250 would be better, but I can cover some of it.  I need money so I can make money, which is a sad truth that I hate but alas, here we are.

My webhosting is up on brigidhannon.com at the end of the month, and I also need to host this blog, which is something I could actually monetize in the long run.  But that means about $250 due at the end of August.  Since it is unlikely that I will sell 40 books this month, I must look for other avenues of income.

Sahar suggests a “Mommy Day Package.”  She says I should charge $150, take care of kids all day, and provide a meal prepared for when mom returns home.  I could do this easily…and honestly all I would need is two takers by the end of the month.  Though it would be better if I could say I was CPR certified…sigh.  Another instance of needing money to make money.  Still, I am considering it.

Kevin and I talked about Patreon.  It’s a platform for creators to share their work with subscribers, and I think I might give it a go.  I don’t know if I could make my goal, or anything really, but it might be worth a shot.  You get subscribers to pay a couple bucks a month, and each month you put out content just for them…so I would post stories or essays or poems a few times a month that would be solely for the viewing pleasure of my subscribers.  It could earn me a few bucks and use my talent to make money, which is the dream, y’know. 

Then there’s the option of selling things.  I don’t know where to even start there.  I have quite the bag collection, but truth be told, none of them are in resale shape.  I love my bags HARD.  I have one pair of rarely worn Kate Spade Ked’s that I adore but are slightly too snug on me.  They are about the only sellable thing in my house.  No…this won’t work.  I don’t even have enough materials for a garage sale.

(From the far reaches of my brain, a whisper: “you have Mulder and Scully Barbie dolls still in the box up in the attic.”  Me, louder: “NO!  My aunt Barb gave me those!  Also…Mulder.”)

Anyway, I’m off.  I’m going to research this Patreon thing.  I think that might be a solution, if not immediately, perhaps for the future.  More to follow…

Morningtime

This may have started out as something, but it ended up as nothing.

My schedule has changed again, hopefully for the last time for a while, and I am finding myself here at 630am with nothing to do.  I mean, not nothing; I have a blog to write, I have laundry to fold, and grocery shopping to achieve.  Alas, I have no people.  Mark is at work, and all my other people are asleep.

My morning usually starts with coffee at my mother’s house.  But she’s not up yet.  And then by 9ish I’m usually on the phone with Kevin or texting Sahar.  But no…they slumber.

.—

830am.  Mother called as I wrote that last line, so I went over to her house for coffee.  I came home and watched a little bit of the news, and thought about what I would do for the rest of the day. Not much is on the agenda besides some house work and shopping and I’d really like to work on my mini-chap a little…I wanted to go hiking but now it has started to rain and I am feeling forlorn.  But it’s later in the day now, and Kevin is awake so I can call him, and my sister may come by later.

Listen, I made my deadlines this week, for the first time in a while due to my crazy health issues.  So, I think that warrants a small post for today.

Happy Thursday.

Schrodinger’s Chapbook

Now, I know very little about science, but somehow, I know about Schrodinger’s cat.  For those who don’t, here’s the link to the Wikipedia page, and also I will try to explain the most basic principle of it in kindergarten language. 

Say you put a cat in a box with a substance that may or may not kill it, and seal the box.  Now, with the box sealed you don’t know if the cat is dead or alive.  It’s a thought experiment, like that one about the trains and whether to save one or 100 people.  It has something to do with quantum mechanics and again, I have no idea how this information got into my head.  Anyway…

Sahar was in town a couple weeks ago.  Seeing as how our favorite restaurant that we’ve been going to for 20 years just went vegan, and we are most definitely meat eaters, we have been on the hunt for a new spot.  This found us at Dog Ear Bookstore and Café.

I love that place.  I have been there many times over the years and have consumed a great many cups of chai tea with friends.  This is the place where I discovered the poetry readings that I used to go to…I do wish they would start those up again!

I ordered a delightful roast beef sandwich called the Charles Dickens and we settled into a table for some conversation.  There wasn’t much honestly because texting exists, so Sahar and I have managed to remain joined at the hip despite being a state apart.  So, we ate our sandwiches and lamented the passing of our old restaurant.

After eating, we went into the back, into the book shop, on a mission.  See, this is the shop where I dropped off a couple copies of my chapbook a few months ago.  Honestly, it’s not worth it to me monetarily to sell it in stores; I get the most cash from Amazon purchases, but it was important to me to get it into at least one shop so I could say I did it.  And of course I took it directly to Dog Ears.

We browsed.  I searched the poetry shelf; Sahar looked in local authors.  No book.

I was perplexed.  What does this mean?  One would assume, I suppose, that it sold out.  Yet, the proprietor told me he would call for more copies if that happene4d.  He has not called.  Still, I could not find the book.

So…if you put a chapbook in a bookstore, with people who could possibly purchase it or not, is the book dead or alive?

Now, had I backbone in that moment, I would have simply asked.  Flung open the lid of the box and found out if the cat was dead, so to speak.  But no, I’m chicken, so we left quietly and I wondered all day instead.  But now it’s weeks later, and I’m still thinking about it, because that’s the way my stupid brain works.

It knows very little about science, but it’s a pro at over-analyzing.

Buffalove

I couldn’t concentrate yesterday to work on the blog.  Usually I can’t find a topic; yesterday I couldn’t decide on one.  Midmorning I went on a hike with Kevin to the Owen Falls Sanctuary in East Aurora, which I was hoping would maybe clear my head a little but really only made me want to write about how pretty trees the trees were.  I felt very brave as I climbed down and over and up a creek.  I felt very energized and healthy and such too because I haven’t been smoking and it made the hike so much easier.  So, then I wanted to write about that, too. 

I also wanted to write about my interview that came out yesterday but you can just check that out HERE if you’d like.  Anyway, I never made a decision, so I never wrote a blog, so here we are today: Friday.

Deadlines were never my strong suit.

Today, I didn’t know what to write about, so we were back to the comfort zone.  Then I was watching the news, and Gabby (who does the community pieces on Channel 4 that I like) was talking about 716 Day.  So, let’s write about that.

If you don’t live here in Buffalo, you don’t know what I’m talking about.  See, 716 is our area code.  So, we have an unofficial holiday on July 16th called 716 Day.  I mean, really, it’s a marketing ploy.  Shops have sales and there’s this big “Give 716” charity initiative which is cool, but mostly it’s just a stupid little thing like Pi Day or Star Wars Day or Columbus Day.

(Sometimes, I wonder how my humor translates via text.  But I digress…)

So since today is 716 day, I will celebrate it by writing about the 716, where I have resided all my life.

I was born at Milliard Fillmore Hospital, named after our 13th president.  He is buried up at Forest Lawn Cemetery, where my mother would take me to feed the ducks when I was a little girl.  We lived first in the Riverside neighborhood which was, shockingly, along the Niagara River!  I lived on Tonawanda Street, named after a Native tribe of the area, across from the park.  It was idyllic to me, but not so much to my parents because the neighborhood started getting dicey in the late 80s.  We moved out to the suburbs…the “first suburb” of Buffalo, Kenmore.  I lived there for something like 17 years and I actually know tons of history about it because we learned it in school and such but I’m not going to tell you anything because it’s pretty boring, actually.  (Except for the part where three people were murdered in Kevin’s childhood home, but maybe that’s a different blog.)  

I went to school in Eggertsville, another suburb, much fancier than the one I lived in.  At least, the area where the school stood-I had lived in an inner-city neighborhood, a middle-class suburb, and now went to what me and the kids from Riverside would have called “rich kid school.”  There were many periods of adjustment, but my point is that the 716 takes all kinds.

Eventually we moved to Lackawanna, just south of the city, and then I moved back to Buffalo, coming to a rest in South Buffalo, the home of my father.  There are five sections of the city, see…the four directions and downtown, which is actually in the middle, sort of.  It confused the hell out of me as a kid…oh but how I loved going downtown!!

We would take the train, which is a single route subway that runs from University of Buffalo South in the Northwest corner down Main St.  It surfaces in the theater district, my favorite of all districts, then takes you down towards the Naval Park.  There’s big ships there that you can tour, and I even spent the night on them twice with youth groups.  The buildings along Main St. are tall and beautiful because Buffalo commercial architecture is unsurpassed, in my opinion.  On an early date with Mark many moons ago after he first arrived in the city, he wandered down the street staring up at the buildings in amazement.  It made me like him, the way he appreciated the city the same as I did.  To me though, the crown jewel of downtown is City Hall. My grandmother worked there when I was young and I have many fond memories of visiting her.  Yes…it does kind of look like it’s giving you the middle finger, but you have to go inside and see how amazing it is.  Much like a real Buffalonian, it has an attitude, but it’s still beautiful.

Downtown has changed.  In the 80s and 90s I got the distinct impression from adults that there was some sort of decline happening.  However, since the start of revitalization along the canal and river, things have been booming.  There is never not something to do…I have had actual hour-long arguments with folks who talk about wanting to vacation in Niagara Falls vs. Buffalo…OH MY GOD, WHY?! I mean, yes, I know, they are part of the 716 too so I should be showing them some love, but aside from the cataract and the casino there is very little to see this side of the falls.  All of which makes a lovely day trip, should you be vacationing in the real hot spot, Buffalo, NY.

Hm.  I’ve been rambling for two pages now so I suppose I should wrap it up.

Listen, I feel very deeply about my city.  Not only is it my home, but it is a part of me: it is a character in my story.  And I think everyone in the whole wide world should come and experience it, and maybe everybody feels that way about where they live, but…I’m right and you’re wrong.  Buffalos the best place on earth.

(Still hoping my humor computes.)