Dance Like Nobody’s Watching?

Sometimes you see something so cool that you just have to stop and thank the universe that you’re even freaking alive.

And then you hide behind a lamp post on Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo just so you can video-stalk the most adorable kid in the universe without getting dirty looks from her dad. Or the police. But I just had to share this with you! Not the best quality video but it zooms in after a minute or so. Check it out.

I really admire her. I hope she stays like that forever. 🙂

Spring in Buffalo: Not an Oxymoron!

It’s finally spring in Buffalo, as evidenced by the daffodils lined up outside our porch and the mass exodus of former shut-ins pouring out of their houses for the first time since Halloween, all chanting the same thing:

“The sun! The sun!”

It’s been in the high 60s and 70s for almost a month, and recently my husband Alex has taken to motivating us (read: standing at the end of the bed and pulling on my feet, bribing me with coffee and sweet-talk, and generally cajoling me in the nicest way as he can manage) to get up and walk every morning, right after coffee and a light breakfast (that was my rule) but before diving into work.

I’ve got to hand it to him. He’s persistent. He doesn’t cave in to my irrationality. And I can be quite a challenge *cough* stubborn pig-headed pain in the ass who would have been the last one standing on the Titanic deck just to prove a point if someone told me to jump before I felt like it *cough*, especially pre-coffee. Seriously, I pretty much whine about it every time. I’ve got work to do! I’m tired! I’m dizzy with starvation! My knee hurts! My eyebrows have bedhead!

But he persists, and I go along with it. Partly because I’m afraid one morning he really will get the ice water. Mostly because I don’t want to cause him any more stress than living with me already causes *grin*… but the funny thing is, as soon as I get outside, I STFU, because I realize I’m super glad to be there. Yep. It’s all very “Sunshine! Oh how I’ve missed you!”

So I’ve been appreciating these little walking tours for exposing me to sunshine and *gasp* exercise and allowing us to more fully explore the neighborhood we inhabited just before winter set in last year. After spending like 6 months under a blanket of snow and slush and ice, shut in with the rest of the crazies in this city, I was beginning to question our judgment (hey, it happens, okay?). But now that it’s spring, it’s like someone has breathed a whole new life into Buffalo — and into me!

*Runs barefoot through the meadow for effect*

Elmwood Village Fangirling

Can I just take a moment to give a huge shout out to our neighborhood? Specifically:

  • Delaware Park, with its green grass and weeping willows and rose garden and lake! Next up: touring Forest Lawn cemetery, which is part of the park.
  • Dolci, a sweets and bakery place I almost wish I hadn’t discovered. Try the fudge covered macaroons or the Mexican wedding cakes. *Drools*
  • Victorians. The homes around here are old (like over 100-120 years old) and beautiful, with crazy features and windows and woodwork and probably secret passageways. Some are even bright pink or purple, because when you have an amazing old Victorian, you can get away with stuff like that. I love walking up and down random streets and checking them out.
  • Gardens. Many people around here participate in Garden Walk Buffalo at the end of July, so we get to see all of the colorful gardens coming to life around us, right in front of those big old Victorains. ❤ Flowers! *Must remember camera on tomorrow’s walk*
  • Trees. In October of 2006, Buffalo was hit with a freak snowstorm before most of the leaves had fallen from the trees. Snow and ice coated the trees, and the leaves got soaked and made it all much heavier, causing many limbs to snap under the weight. The city, including Delaware Park and the streets of our neighborhood, suffered loss or damage of 90% of its trees. You can still see the broken tree limbs on the survivors, but the good thing is, there were survivors, and new trees have also been planted along many of the sidewalks. So I love seeing the trees in spring, all of the new growth, and the pink and white blooms on all of the flowering trees around here. ❤ Trees!
  • Ethnic food. I love India Gate, Saigon Cafe, Mythos — and they’re all just a few minutes’ walk. We haven’t tried Wasabi yet, and I’m still on the lookout for a great Italian place close by, but we’ve got our faves covered for now. And yeah, don’t even get me started on those bakeries and coffee shops and other dangerous dens of food iniquity!
  • Puppies and babies. Altogether now… “Awwwwww!” Yep, wherever we walk, puppies and babies abound, both equally happy to be out in the sun. They’re all so cute, so adorable, so much fun to ogle from a safe and non-responsible distance. 🙂
  • The farmer’s market. The Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer’s Market starts up again soon. I can’t wait to check it out. I could never seem to wake up in time to catch it last year. Now that Alex has appointed himself commander of Operation Get Wife’s Ass Out of Bed Before Sundown and Make Her Walk, we might actually stand a chance at scoping out the zucchini and blueberries before the farmers pack them up for the day.

Yeah, I think we’re going to be okay up here in Buffalo, now that things are thawing out. I’ll bring the camera out next time so I can show you what I’m talking about. I know, I know… without photographic evidence, all you non-Buffalonians totally don’t believe me when I tell you we really do have nice weather here. But we do! Just not from October to April. Other than that, it’s perfect!

So tell me… what’s spring like where you live? What do you love most about it?

Giving Up Television: Books are Better

I’m back in surprisingly-sunny Buffalo after more than 2 weeks in New York, where I did lots of fun authorly things and some not-so-authorly things like watching too much television that I hate but can’t help getting sucked into whenever it’s near me.

As many of you know, I don’t have a television. This is actually a good thing, though most people give me the does not compute stare when they hear it. Despite the pull of the blue glow, giving it up isn’t as hard as it sounds. Think you could tune out? Visit me at AuthorsNow to see why books better than TV, and to see if you’re up for a fun challenge!

Top 10 Reasons Books are Better than TV

First Snow in Buffalo

First Snow

There’s always something magical about the first snow of the season — something that makes me nostalgic for winters passed. Something that makes me long for pink cheeks and sledding and hot chocolate with little marshmallows.

Something that makes it okay to go outside on the front porch in the middle of the night with my husband in fuzzy pink snowflake and blue polar bear pajama pants (mine, his, respectively) to take pictures.

The snow crept up on me this year. I’d been expecting it since September — this is Buffalo, after all, home of the Lake Effect and the Blizzard of ’77. But the weather has been relatively calm since our early October arrival. Balmy, even. Last week we were still in the 70s, sunny, happy, nary a cloud in sight. So I found myself both surprised and delighted when Alex (yes, Alex of the polar bear pants) interrupted my evening procrastination to tell me about the first snow. And it’s a good one, too — perfect crystal snowflakes floating and twirling to the ground like a thousand tiny ballerinas.

Frozen ballerinas with chapped lips and runny noses whose mothers should have made them wear pants under their pink tutus like mine would have done, but ballerinas nevertheless.

Winter is coming — my first in Buffalo in 11 years. And I can’t wait!

Top 10 Things I’m Most Excited About for Winter in Buffalo, 2008 Version

  1. The annual driving ban when we can enjoy the neighborhood on foot (snowshoes optional) as all traffic is suspended due to 4 feet of snow with nowhere to go.
  2. Aforementioned hot chocolate, now with ginger, spicy hot pepper, and other secret ingredients for an added kick. Bailey’s may or may not be one of the secret ingredients, but since it’s a secret, I can’t tell you! Shhh! *hiccup*
  3. Our first ever family Thanksgiving hosted in our home. By us. With family members attending. Extra Bailey’s — check.
  4. Annual Thanksgiving weekend Lord of the Rings trilogy extended version movie marathon, in which Alex (yes, Alex of the polar bear pants) and I watch all three films back to back, eating nachos and drinking wine the entire twelve or so hours.
  5. Watching kids in the neighborhood fall down in their puffy, immovable snowsuits, which I’m pretty sure Buffalo invented. The snowsuits, not the falling down. Speaking of falling down, bartender, more Bailey’s?
  6. Silk Soy Holiday Nog.
  7. Christmas carolers — a singer I am not, but I do hope we get some. Do people still carol? If not, could someone please come to our house, ring the doorbell, and sing?
  8. Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider. In New York State, they use real apple cider and not just apple juice that they heat up and call cider.
  9. Saving a snowball or two in the freezer and not looking at it again until summer, and of course —
  10. Christmas music! I loves my Christmas music! It drives Alex (yes, Alex of the polar bear pants) crazy, but not me. I love it. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Etta James do Silent Night.

What are you guys looking forward to this winter?