Maybe you were raised in a similar family (but probably not). If so, your Grandfather was a farmer from the old country who utilized nearly every square foot of his plot of land for flowers and vegetables. To him, horticulture was a science that required no teaching. It just came natural. So well in fact, his house was shown in Better Homes & Gardens magazine in the 60s. True story.

So let’s take it to the next generation. Your father would have what I call “landscaping OCD.” Not quite an illness, but an all-consuming urge to make the lawn look like Yankee Stadium and the flower beds look like the Botanical Gardens. I’d imagine this would be what nicotine addictions for smokers are like.

So where does that leave me? Shit. I can’t top that. But what I can do is try, and if lucky enough, I can get recognized with a Buffalo in Bloom designation, something my suburban family members can’t get – no matter how hard they try. Each year in the city, a troop of garden scouts troll the neighborhoods looking for well-manicured streetscapes. Standout front yards are given a B-I-B tag to proudly accompany their garden art. It’s like wearing the Captain’s “C” or getting a key to the city. I wonder if Terrell Owens ever got bloomed?


2012 was our first full summer in our new house.  Call it our inaugural planting/gardening season.  After removing layers of bark chips, I began to cultivate the unfruitful beds by adding a solid mixture of top soil, Michigan Peat, compost and 5-10-5 fertilizer. 48 impatiens, a hosta and a daylily later, we had enough curb appeal to earn the coveted tag.

This year, it’s on. It was an active offseason for me, as I was scouting potential additions to the front and back yard. Beyond the return of perennial performing flowers, new prospects include a Japanese maple tree and a purple rhododendron. Time and the landscaping salary cap will tell but Vegas has us at 3-1 odds to repeat as Buffalo in Bloom recipients.

48 impatients 2012


The Anatomy of “The Mike”

I’m all about the a.m. eats.  On the weekends, I like to opt for something hearty to kick-start my day right into AWESOME. On the home-cookin’ menu that usually translates into omelets, French toast or the occasional banana pancake (who doesn’t love a Jack Johnson reference early in the morning?).  On the other hand if I wake up and decide it’s WAY too early to even consider putting effort into feeding myself, then it’s off to Spot Coffee on Hertel Avenue for one thing and one greasy thing only – The Mike.


Let me break it down for ya.

The Bread – while you probably have little to no desire to make decisions in the morning, this one is important.  What kind of carb-tastic bread are you going with to sop up all that creamy, eggy, cheesy goodness?  The everything bagel. That’s the answer.

The Egg – Packed with protein and pan-fried to perfection (that’s a lot of p’s)

The Cheese – Is it provolone? Is it American? Is it something really cool that I don’t even know about?  It doesn’t matter.  It’s cheese and it’s melty.  (Oh wait, it’s provolone – they just told me)

The Smear – (a.k.a. the cream cheese (and maybe a little mayo added but that’s only speculation)) Quite possibly THE most important layer on the entire leaning tower of Mike-ness.  This is what separates this breakfast nosh from the drive-thru down the street.

The Meat – This is optional but if you’re looking to pork this sandwich up, bacon, ham or sausage are the choices.

The Heat – Frank’s. Obviously.

Champions? Nah. Breakfast of Hertel-ans.

BuffaLOVERS Unite!

Buf-fa-LOVE [buhf-uh-luhv]


  1. A profoundly passionate affection for the City of Buffalo.
  2. A feeling of warm and personal attachment for the people, places, traditions, culture and history of Buffalo.
  3. A Western New York city toward which love is felt; beloved city.

Ex) Thousands proudly show off their BuffaLOVE by wearing t-shirts branded with a buffalo and heart logo.


Circa 2008. 42.8864° N, 78.8786° W. American English, Buffalo Slang. Early appearances of the word BuffaLOVE came on facebook posts and twitter hashtags, and of course, on clothing, turning the theme into an apparel sensation. Regretfully my research couldn’t trace ownership of the word to any individual or group.  My tip of the hat to the creative mind or minds behind it. It’s a pure and relevant way to convey the meaning of our local pride and state of mind.  A beer on me should our paths ever cross.


BuffaLOVE has widely become part of many people’s vernacular, but now that I’ve formally documented the definition of the word it’s time we celebrate it and its meaning with a festival. It’s Buffalo, what else would we do? On May 31st, BuffaLOVERS will get an opportunity to break bread (and tacos) at the Buffalo Zoo as it hosts the BuffaLoveFest; a collection of all things Buffalo.

This inaugural festival came about through a good friend of mine, Tom Muraca, who concocted the idea during one of his many inspirational daydreams.  Through his involvement with the ProZoo board, the idea quickly turned into reality, as the zoo was not only a great venue, but they were eager to partner on the initiative. The BuffaLoveFest will feature everything from Buffalo music on two separate stages to a celebrity dunk tank!


I’d be remiss for writing this blog without planning to attend. I’m thrilled we have yet another reason for the masses to herd to North Buffalo. I expect to overindulge in food truck food and locally brewed beer (don’t worry, it’s a short walk home to Hertel), scream many incorrect answers to Buffalo Trivia questions, and just bask in the goodness that is a Buffalo festival.

So logistics. May 31st. Party starts at 5:30 p.m. and for those who wisely buy in advance, tickets are only $20 as opposed to $30 at the door. If you’re into adult beverages, NOTE, you will also receive two free drinks with your ticket purchase. HEYO!

Visit for more info and to purchase tickets. See ya there!