I just returned from the diner down the road for a hearty omelet on a damp, chilly Sunday morning after sleeping less than 7 hours.  An unplanned outing to various saloons in Hamburg resulted in an arrival home to bed after midnight.  I did remember to let my neighbor’s dogs out last night before laying down to sleep, otherwise I would have likely faced a pair of messy crates when letting them out this morning to do their business.  I also had picked up the plants yesterday for a small landscape job on the schedule and unloaded them before heading out to breakfast.  A rainy day ahead will provide sufficient watering before they go into the ground tomorrow.

My friend and business partner Ben had asked me to hook up with him for a wine tasting event in the village.  The night before he had called me shortly before midnight seeking some support as he’s been going through a difficult time with his live-in girlfriend.  He’s also not very happy with a part-time position working for the state in a group home, a gig he sought primarily for the benefits, health insurance and a pension further down the road.  Clearly he is unhappy with his lot in life and has been reaching out to me, as have many others in recent weeks.  My role as “vitality coach” is gaining some traction of late, even if purely on gratis terms.  I basically told him that if he is so miserable he needs to make a change, and while that may mean quitting a job or leaving a relationship, the change is internally generated through loving acceptance.  Whatever we do not embrace has power over us, and diminishes our vitality.

As we walked along the village streets passing quaint storefronts we discussed plans to grow the landscape business, and also a trip to Florida to scout out a possible winter retreat at his folks’ second home outside Tampa.  He admitted that whenever the going has got rough in his life he has “escaped” to Florida, as he’d done following a divorce several years ago.  Nonetheless, a change of scenery can spur growth provided one is not doing so as an escape, or a distraction.  Unfamiliar surroundings can set the stage for altering one’s perspective and tapping inspiration for a new adventure in this life journey.

Our first stop was at the Pour House where we enjoyed a couple of cold beverages served up by a lovely young blonde named Tonya.  However, she soon departed with the end of her shift and that was about the extent of beautiful scenery for a couple bachelors about town and so Ben suggested we mosey on over to another pub.  At Braymiller’s we only stayed for one round, Ben briefly striking up conversation with a pair of ladies adjacent to us at the bar, before migrating once again to The Rockpile where we ordered some grub.  There wasn’t much happening there and we scoped out JP Fitzgerald’s for a minute, determining that the older crowd was not our speed, before winding up at Coyote Cafe to close out the evening.  Ben knew the owner,  plus $3 Jack Daniels specials and a delightful young brunette bartender made for a fine reprieve.

Naturally I flirted with Jessica discovering what details of her life she was open to divulge, a 21 year-old college student born February 4th 1991 working toward a degree in Criminal Justice, living at home with mom and working her tail off in the hospitality business to pay her own way.  As we chatted in between her servicing other patrons it became clear to me that she was mature, and wise, beyond her years, at one point declaring, “Women are quicker to love, and men love deeper.”  She went on to explain that once a woman decides it is over, it is over, whereas men tend toward hanging on to the relationship.  This assertion I did not argue, instead agreeing as I could see it from my own experience, and that of many friends over the years.  I was intrigued, not just by a standard physical attraction, but by her spirit.  She had inadvertently closed out another customer’s bill on my card and handed me the receipt showing she had canceled the transaction.  So I asked her to jot down her phone number on the back of it, to which she clarified, “Only as friends.”  I smiled and nodded in agreement.

Earlier in the day before the bar hop I met up with some of my brothers and sisters gathered at Niagara Square to commemorate the 1 year anniversary of Occupy Buffalo.  It was invigorating to hear some of the founding members share the profound impact participating in the movement has had on their lives, feeling part of something special in an often cold and disenfranchised mainstream world.  I didn’t stay long as the cool winds whipped through downtown streets and I had simply wanted to connect with a few folks before heading back to the southtowns.  It was hard to believe an entire year had passed as I reflected back to a very different reality I’d been immersed in at the advent of the movement.  It seemed like another lifetime, as it often does on this path of transformation.

In common wealth,


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

― Socrates