Friday, September 21, 2012

Last game of the season

Back to New York, New York tomorrow for the last game of this season-- Marlins at Mets.  I can empathize with Mets fans, with the Bucs needing to go 8-5 in the last 13 games of the season to eke out a winning record and avoid a 20th losing season.

(On a side note, I've been feeling old lately with my birthday and all, but it really drives home the point when I think that the last time the Pirates had a winning season, I was in eighth grade.)

Our games in Baltimore, DC, and Philadelphia all featured boy scouts.  Which was just fantastic, because Nick was an Eagle Scout, so there's nothing like being surrounded at baseball games by kids my brother would have judged mercilessly on behavior, merit badges (or lack thereof), OA regalia (or lack thereof), and so on.  Trust me, I know-- he did that every time we saw a boy scout troop, including at the last game we attended together.  And then, at the Yankees game-- without a doubt the hardest, most emotional game bar the Pirates/ 30th birthday-- there weren't boy scouts, but there were blood cancer awareness hats and swabbing to join the bone marrow donor registry.  Which was just awesome, because we never had enough time to even try a bone marrow transplant with Nick.   Just when it looked like I was going to dodge a weird emotional coincidence, it hits me again.  I checked the Mets schedule.  I don't see boy scouts.  I don't see any kind of disease awareness.  But, great-- it's a Bark in the Park fundraiser for an animal shelter and there's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle wristband giveaway.  I swear I'm not making the latter up-- and it certainly wasn't there when I bought the tickets-- but I should note that like virtually all kids of that age my brother freaking loved TMNT.  To the point where mom actually bought the terrible cereal so that Nick could get the promotional cereal bowls.

Yup.  Looks like the good old family luck is doing its thing.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

We're DEFINITELY going to need a bigger shelf

Taking stock of my mementos from the games/ stadiums visited so far. My O's crab is pretty cramped now.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sailing into the sunrise

One last shot from New York Baseball Trip #1: Parrot on the Staten Island Ferry just after sunrise.

We're returning for New York Baseball Trip #2 next month (to see the Mets on September 22). While every game has had a certain amount of emotion associated with it (which I expect to continue), I'm kind of glad that I have the two big minefields out of the way. Not that I expect that a visit to, say, PNC Park will ever be NOT be fraught with emotion, but I cling to a tiny bit of hope that it won't be as bad in the future.

Maybe. At some undefined point in the distant future. Very distant.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Five down, twenty-five to go

Yankee Stadium

Well.  This happened.  We spent 27 hours away from home, during which we must have trekked at least six miles plus untold number of stairs in the subway stations plus the 6+ hours on the Megabus, so we've been recovering all today.

It was indeed as expected-- really, really, REALLY fricking hard.  I couldn't even look at the tickets without tearing up, so you can only imagine how it felt to be there.  We first got intimately reacquainted with the subway system (feces and vomit and urine, oh my) and did a little silly touristy-on-the-cheap stuff (like the Staten Island Ferry back & forth), but then there was the main event.

Hall of GreatsThe gate staff were super nice, even more so when they saw the Parrot and we told our story.  Our coincidence stream continued.  But his time, instead of the boy scouts making an appearance, it was a blood cancer awareness/ bone marrow donor registration drive (for those of you following at home, blood cancers include lymphoma & leukemia--Nick also developed leukemia in addition to Evans syndrome), and we now have hats to that effect.

The stadium itself is really nice-- and REALLY big!  The climb to our peanut heaven seats was really, really long-- and oddly not ventilated really well, as the ramps are completely enclosed with cinder block (very unpleasant on a hot and extremely humid day), but the levels were nice.  The food & beer were about as expensive as I expected, but too far off from ball park prices we've encountered elsewhere (and the garlic fries were fantastic!).   I couldn't get to Monument Park (it's only open for about an hour and closes at least 45 minutes before the game starts, which is a little tough to make), but the team store's air conditioning was blissful.  Instead of pierogies or presidents, there was a subway race (but seriously-- live mascots are far better than animated condiments or subways on the scoreboard!).  No vocalist for the national anthem, and they used Danny Kaye's version of God Bless America-- really odd, as I'd have figured that there are PLENTY of aspiring vocalists in New York.  They also sang "Root, root, root for the home team" instead of "Root, root, root for the Yankees" during the seventh inning stretch.  The bleacher seat folks were raucous and the large group of folks that sat near us were nice, but the sun and heat and humidity were brutal.

ScoreboardView from our seats

Not to mention the emotions.  It was too much to stay for the entire game without constantly thinking either that I need to tell/show/get something for/ call Nick or how much I wished that he was with us, or how I needed to find him the in the team store or in a crowd.  Luckily, my companion on the adventures thus far is extremely supportive, able to provide hugs faster than a speeding bullet and wipe tears in a single bound.

So, here's to you, Nick.  I'm sorry I couldn't make it past the 8th inning, and I'm sorry the Yankees lost, and I'm sorry that the hall of monuments was closed and I couldn't recreate your picture.  And I'm sorry I didn't do this with you when I had half a chance-- I always thought there'd be more time.  But I hope that, in some small way, you'd approve of what I did manage.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

New York, New York...

We made it. We're also exhausted physically & I'm exhausted emotionally. More later.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

92 hours and counting...

We're Megabussing (if that isn't a verb, it is one now) it to New York for a very long but still whirlwind day Saturday. I mean it-- we arrive at 5am and depart at 10pm for a 1pm game.

There is a method to this madness- I never feel like I have enough time in that oh-so-big city, plus (and even more importantly) I'm hoping to mitigate the inevitable pain from visiting Yankee Stadium by doing a few fun things. Nick was a HUGE Yankees fan in addition to his devotion to the Pirates. Yes, he was somehow able to maintain simultaneous fandom for a pair of polar opposite teams. It may have been my fault- well before he became a fan, I bought him a Yankees hat as a souvenir on a high school trip. And the obsession grew from there- including some ill-advised accessory choices.

So two years ago, when Megabus came to Pittsburgh and made such a trip semi-affordable on my teeny grad student budget, I took him to New York so he could finally see a Yankees game at Yankees stadium. It was a trip on the extremely cheap- think hostel on 103rd and eating cheap pizza cheap- but he actually hugged me when I told him we were going. It was cool because we did some things on our own- I hit MOMA & Chinatown, he did the Intrepid & the game- and it worked out perfectly. Then.

Of course, now I regret not going to that damned game with him in ways I can't begin to express. Which is why I really need that cushion to do lighter, more fun things-- because I'm already in tears, and I have no idea how I'm going to bear being in the vicinity of that stadium, let alone watch that game.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Special delivery!

Look what the UPS guy just delivered-- Yankees tickets! Because apparently Will Call isn't an option for US billing addresses (but it is for Canadian billing addresses), the regular mail option takes 10-14 business days to print (oddly enough, half that for Canadians), and I have to have the real tickets like Nick, I paid another $16 to have them shipped.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Now batting fifth, the New York Yankees

It's a little hectic in my life right now.  Weekend before last, I was in Pittsburgh.  This weekend, we had Baltimore (and Batman) business, with a day trip to Philadelphia.  This coming weekend, we're doing a quick trip to Rhode Island on the super cheap.  And two weekends after that, we're in Pittsburgh (well, Butler) for the Bantam Jeep Festival.

Which meant that, when looking at the calendar, our window for squeezing in a New York game-- either Mets or Yankees-- was closing fast.  So I ordered Yankees tickets for August 4th today.  Less than two weeks away from what's arguably the second most important stop after PNC Park in terms of Nick's baseball fandom.

And I just ordered Mets tickets for September 22.  I think that'll be the last game of the season, and officially put me at 1/5th of the way through... of course, that was the easiest 1/5th because it's literally the 6 closest teams, all but Pittsburgh doable as a day trip.  The remaining 24 teams are going to require a lot more planning, a lot more coordination, a lot more vacation time, and frankly, a lot more money with travel and hotel on top of tickets.  Using Megabus could help with the midwest swing, but I still need to start saving and budgeting for airfare and the like for next year.  Years.

Ugh.  Time to start evaluating hostels and similar options for travelling on the cheap.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Squeeze play?

We're gonna need a bigger shelf.  Only four parks in, and my O's crab is getting crabby for lack of space.

Citizens Bank Park

Today was a strange day-- the first time visiting a park I probably wouldn't have ever visited in the normal course of things were it not for this little endeavor.  The resultant emotions were a bit... heady.

We managed to leave our apartment in the west Baltimore suburbs (in Unfinished Business World Tour shirts, natch), make a fuel and breakfast stop, marvel at the tolls on 95, get gassed by the chemical plants in Delaware, let me breathe a hesitant sigh of relief at being in my native state (though on the wrong side), and managed to get to the park by 11am-- a full two-and-a-half hours prior to game time.  Which was okay-- we snagged a decent parking space and had plenty of time to scope out the place-- including the giant inflated Phanatic outside.

It was a little tricky to get a picture with the inflatable and NOT the insides of our nostrils.  And I kind of like how he's standing on R's head.  Sadly, we didn't encounter the real Phanatic in the stadium, either (he didn't seem to make the same kind of random appearances as the Pirate Parrot or the Presidents in DC), so we made do with his cardboard doppleganger.

The park was nice enough, though even pricer than Nationals park.  I'm not sure Nick ever got to visit this one.  The last time he-- or I-- were in the city proper was in 2004 for my Jeopardy! tryout.  I remember that he took a ride out to see it, but I don't think he actually saw a game there.

Note that this was NOT the view from our seats.  Contrary to popular belief, being a humble civil servant doesn't pay nearly that well.  Our seats were waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up high, in the topmost, lastmost, highestmost row in the park.  The actual view was more like this

And this

Definitely nosebleed seats, but not too bad all things considered.  And even better, we were under the cover in the shade and benefited from the near-constant breeze.  One thing that was a little weird was the complete lack of real soft pretzels-- all we saw were the same Super Pretzels that are in every ballpark, which was definitely odd for Philadelphia.  But we did find the "Pennsylvania Dutch" funnel cake concession, so we managed to get some kind of local flavor.  All in all, not too bad a day at the ballpark despite  my heavy heart.  But because we both have work tomorrow, we had to leave in the 9th (the Phillies eventually managed to scrape out a W in the 12th). 

I'm wrapping this up on a cutesy note, because I really can't share what R did on Nick's behalf in Philadelphia in this forum.  It's just our little secret, but I think he would have made Nick proud.  Or at least laugh.  We made pretty good time heading home, so we made a quick pit stop in Havre de Grace, to see the tiniest most adorable lighthouse on the Chesapeake.  

Look where we are today

Stop #4: Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. Let's see if I can get out of the city a little less battered than the last time I was here...

Monday, July 16, 2012

Next in the lineup....

Well, it took forever (and three failed order attempts) but I finally got the Phillies tickets reserved.  We'll be there this Sunday, July 22 in section 427.  Yeah, I know, crappy seats.  But despite popular belief, federal workers aren't paid that well.

I'm not sure how much of it is big huge new job with big huge learning curve and big huge new responsibilities (and the accompanying stress), or the big huge new life changes that involve a big huge boyfriend moving in (and the accompanying stress), or what, but things have certainly been a little rough lately with respect to big huge reminders of Nick (like the day my mailbox contained both the Civil War journal I now receive thanks to my donations in Nick's honor AND a Central Blood Bank postcard with his face on it), upsetting nightmares, and so on.

I mean, there have been a few really great developments in my life, but in this corner?  Things just continue to suck, and I don't know how they'll ever get better.  I desperately wish he was there to call, to bullshit about the Pirates performance as of late and how long this apparent miracle will last.  To see what he thinks about JoePa's fall from grace (the guy he frankly always felt was inappropriately idolized), about the campaigns (always funny when you actually got him to express a political opinion), about The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises and to crack wise about the Megadeth/ Rob Zombie show (and the, um, interesting audience).  It just... sucks that I never get to hear his voice, hear him crack wise, argue with him, have a mundane I'm-bored-and-stuck-in-traffic call or anything again.  I know I'm lucky to have someone willing to handle what's hiding in the mailbox when I simply can't handle it, to be goofy or as supportive as he can, and to hold my hand each time I walk into a baseball stadium and the tears start.  But it doesn't stop it from sucking, or mean that my grief has truly lessened in any way.

So, anyway.  Stop number 4 will be Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.

Monday, June 4, 2012


I just updated the little scrapbook my mom gave me for this little endeavor (filled with well-wishes from everyone who attended our kick-off/ Nick's 30th birthday party at PNC Park) with the stubs and notes from the Nats game.  I had the end of The Green Hornet (Seth Rogan edition-- it's a pretty awesomely awful travesty of a movie) on for background noise, when it hit me that this was the last movie Nick saw in a theater.

Sigh.  Oh, those precious moments of emotional sucker punches right in a spot already tender as hell.  Those moments when my desperate but tenuous grasp on my emotional control slips completely.  At least I was in private-- unlike those moments at Camden Yards or yesterday at Nationals Park where, surrounded by thousands of people having a grrrrrrrrrrrreat time.  Those are the times the grief likes to cling, the invisible anchor weighing me down.  It's almost like my own personal emotional humidity-- sapping my strength and occasionally erupting into a violent storm, after which it worsens as often as it eases.

I know, I know.  One step at a time, it's a process, etcetera, etcetera, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

At some point, I will actually write up each of the stadiums (can I say stadia?  I really want to use stadia, but I'm afraid of sounding pretentious).  But each visit is emotionally taxing-- heck, each time I update this blog, it's emotionally taxing-- so my write-ups will have to wait a little longer.

But it's okay, I think.  It's going to take a while to visit the stadiums (stadia!) outside of my metro area(s), so there will be plenty of time to catch up.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Nationals Park today!

We're at the first park Nick never got to visit today. He did see the Nationals at home-- when they played at RFK. We were supposed to come to DC to see Nationals Park, but our schedules didn't quite work out with the Nats' schedule that summer.  And then he was gone.

Very nice park.  Al & the Parrot enjoyed clowning around, as you can see.

Three down, 27 to go.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Made it! Kinda...

Tickets bought, at least?

Tonight: Stop #2

Things on the other side of my life have been a bit hectic (new job, that sort of thing), but today's the day for Stadium #2 of 30- Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That's a long, oddly formal name for a ballpark, and for a ballpark in Baltimore. I mean, it's so much like Pittsburgh here, something I can't no matter how bitter the rivalry is between the two. Even the accents are similar. True, Pittsburgh's got the high fairly new glossy veneer of medical & tech industry while Baltimore is decidedly lacking in what one person called "Midwest nice" (and let's face it, drivers here are terrible- my car has been dinged so many times, no matter where I park). But Baltimore is like Pittsburgh's rough and tumble cousin, enough commonalities that you know they were cut from the same cloth.

Tonight's game won't have anywhere near the level of emotion as our Pirates game, but I think it'll still be pretty tough. No group, no recognition on the scoreboard, just going to a baseball game, like normal people. Like Nick. Like the last time I went to an O's game- with Nick. Mercifully, it shouldn't be 106 today like it was then, but still... just like a few weeks ago, there's some part of me that will feel fundamentally wrong going to a game without my brother.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Batter up?

I am not arranging group tickets, but should anyone else care to come along, the next stop in this little endeavor is here in Baltimore on Saturday, May 12.  I'm actually just buying tickets that day, so I can get the actual stubs a la Nick's preference.

I took it as a sign when I saw that it's "Boy Scout Night," because 1. Nick was an Eagle Scout, and 2. when I took Nick to see the O's,  it was 106 freaking degrees (I am not exaggerating) and it was... Boy Scout Night.   So, yeah.  Seems appropriate enough, no?  Let's just hope that the weather doesn't repeat.

So.  Let's see if I can get through this one without choking up too much.  I mean, it was a pretty hilarious time the last time I was there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

What happened to you, what happened to you?

Aside from a health crisis in my boyfriend's family, it's been a relatively quiet few days since the game.  And the game was more or less a success.  And yet...

I've been feeling incredibly down since Sunday.  I was plugging along, but somewhere along the line while getting ready that morning I was hit with this strong feeling of deja-vu that reminded me of getting ready the morning of Nick's funeral.  The I-have-to-go-put-on-a-good-face-for-all-of-these-people-even-though-I-feel-like-running-away-to-cry feeling.  So I put on my brave face, but once we were there, actually inside, and there were people that came... I did not trust myself to speak, not hardly a word, for fear that I'd just completely lose my shit.

Oops, that's a swear.  Meh.

But my instincts were right, because once I had to talk to the very nice woman who introduced us and we did the live shot-- yes, my ugly mug up there, larger than life, on the Jumbotron, encouraging folks to donate blood to help people like Nick and advertising this silly little endeavor-- once I got through that?  I did lose my shit.  Completely.

It's not like I thought that doing this would bring my brother back.  But maybe I thought that the catharsis could help to serve as a kind of grief capstone, subconsciously clinging to the notion that we'd have this event, and... transition to the next phase of Dealing With It.  

Of course not.  Things never work out the way you think or hope or wish they will.  Life isn't a move that wraps everything up with a tidy bow, at least not if you're from my little patch of gene pool.  Instead of a capstone, I feel like the scab of grief has been ripped off and the wound bleeds anew.  Something about realizing that this was indeed likely the last time any number of these friends and family would be gathered for something around my brother, it just completely demolished whatever sense of healing I might have had.


Given my mood, let's wrap this in old skool LJ style with some song lyrics.

One more year that you're not here has gone and passed you by 
What happened to you, what happened to you? 
One more tear that you won't hear, has gone and passed you by 
What happened to you, what happened to you?

Monday, April 23, 2012

One down, 29 to go

We did it.  It was chilly and drizzly, and not everyone could make it (or tough it out the whole time), but we did it.  More pictures are forthcoming, but here are the boys across the river from the park.  Aww.

I can't write this as a full blown ballpark review a la Ballpark Chasers because frankly, it was an incredibly emotional day and I was having a hard time just talking, let alone do anything else yesterday.  But PNC Park was as usual a wonderful place to see a game, even if the Buccos did lose 5-1 to the Cards.  Even better, almost all attendees signed a book put together by my mom with memories of my brother and well wishes for this silly little endeavor of mine.

29 to go.  Camden Yards-- I'm sorry, Oriole Park at Camden Yards-- is next.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three more days!?

Three days to go. The boys are packed for their first road trip. We have (l to r) Steamer & Al Tuna from the Pirates' AA affiliate Altoona Curve, and the Pirate Parrot.

Steamer and the Pirate Parrot were gifts from Nick, so they have a lot of sentimental value- and they're coming along for the ride.

Happy birthday, Nick

Today Nick would have turned 30. Happy birthday Nick, wherever you are. I hope we can pull off your party, though the weather forecast looks a little threatening.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Four days to go!

Lots of laundry and packing tonight, because I'm heading home (to my real home) after work tomorrow for Spring Carnival (I really hope I get to hear pipers-- like virtually all CMU alumni I have a weakness and it's been a really long time)... and the game.  Right now, Angels in the Outfield (the original, not the corny remake) is on TCM.  You know, the comedy about heavenly intervention helping the Pirates.

I don't expect any heavenly intervention will cause the Pirates' 19 year old losing streak to end this season, like in the movie.  I actually don't really believe in angels (at least, not in the sense of the movie and popular culture in general).  But it does warm the cockles of my heart to see Hamerschlag Hallthe Cathedral, and the Carnegie museum/ library complex (all sooty and dark!) lurking in the background in the scenes filmed at Forbes Field,  It's like a little slice of comfort pie for this child of the Mon Valley that considers Oakland & Squirrel Hill her real home.

I'd better go put my wash in the dryer.  Four days to go!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Five days to go!?!

Five days to go until the game!

I can't pretend that Sunday isn't going to leave me an emotional wreck.  But I feel much better facing it with the understanding, support, and love from so many for me and for my parents.  I don't think I would have ever started this whole project of doing the things Nick wanted to do without my parents.  I don't think I ever would have started this blog without the suggestion from a friend to journal about losing Nick (and all of the other losses that scarred 2011).  I wouldn't have had the courage to set up this HUGE event, including the tee-shirts and approaching the Blood Bank, without the encouragement of a few friends in particular, reassuring me that at the very least, they would come.  And I definitely couldn't have done this without my boyfriend's constant supply of hugs and encouragement when I'm feeling down and incredible enthusiasm and humor when I'm feeling up.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ticket sales are closed!

And we sold.... 116 tickets.

For the record, that is more than the number of people I would expect at my own wedding.  Holy crap.  I figured we'd have maybe 40 RSVPs, 20 people show.

So.  I hope wherever he is, Nick appreciates this party.  The hard part will be to not lose it, seeing his picture on the Jumbotron.  

Yeah, I know.  That's already a lost cause.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Last call....

If you haven't ordered tickets yet for the game, please call Melissa at the Pirates at 412-325-4761 to order by FRIDAY. Unsold tickets will be released to the general public Monday morning, so it might not hurt to give her a ring if you just dropped your order in the mail this week! :)

You don't want to miss this amazing opportunity to see Nick's face on the Jumbotron at PNC Park. Or mine, I guess-- the Pirates will be recognizing Nick and having my parents & I down on the field.

Oof. That's a scary thought-- my face on a Jumbotron?!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

about the visit-all-30-MLB-stadiums thing...

I'm thinking of a tentative schedule for this season...

4/22/2012: PNC Park, Pittsburgh-- I could have started earlier, especially if I started with the O's here in Bmore.  But I'm starting at home, because it's home and because it should have been Nick's 30th birthday.

Weekend of 4/27: Oriole Park at Camden Yards (oof, that's a mouthful of a name), Baltimore-- well, duh, I do live in Baltimore now, so I might as well knock it out early on.  Especially because I've gone to an O's game in high summer before-- and NEVER AGAIN.  OW, those seats were SO hot after baking in 106 degree heat.

Weekend of May 19: Nationals Park-- because DC is also, you know, right in my back yard.  Well, kinda.  Like 40-odd miles from my backyard, but still much closer than LA.

Weekend of June 23: Citizens Bank Park-- the next closest would probably be Philly.  Doable as a day trip if a day game.

Weekend of July 21: Citi Field-- I think it's doable as a day trip for a Sunday day game

August: TBD  Either Yankee Stadium (doable as a day trip if I can get Sunday day tickets) or Fenway (definitely will require at least an overnight stay) or Progressive (aka Cleveland, also requires an overnight stay).

September: Possibly Cleveland if it I don't go in August.

Friday, March 16, 2012

We miss you, Nick

Today marks a year since we lost Nick.  I'll just quote from my other blog, because it's just as true today as it was a year ago.

I lost my brother today. My little brother. My little brother, my oldest friend, among my truest friends despite our propensity for bickering over the absolute stupidest, most trivial shit imaginable. I keep praying that this is some sort of fantastic nightmare brought on by deep psychosis. I'm thoroughly drunk as I type, so it's not outside the realm of possibility.

This isn't supposed to happen. He's the one that's supposed to be spare parts for me (since he's younger and all), the one that's actually going to settle down and marry a nice girl and give my parents all the grandchildren they want (so that the pressure's off me), the dude who has gamely offered to beat up every guy who's ever broken my heart despite his personal feelings, the guy who helps me change my oil and is my culinary guinea pig, to whom I still owe banana bread. The guy who picked up a 40lb bag of manure and accidentally sprayed it in a perfect arch over my feet. Who cried on Santa's lap as kid, made a scene waving at us from the altar the first time he served as an altar boy, adored his cats and dogs, gave me shit nonstop about the Steelers and Pens, took shit nonstop about Brett Favre and the Pirates. The guy who's at the heart of my best stories, like when he was run over by the Pirate Parrot on a quad.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Teeshirts and tickets, oh my!

Check it out-- my shirt came in.  I think it's appropriately metal for my brother.

But I have more news!!  You can order your own tickets for Nick's 30th birthday party at the Pirates game on April 22nd!  I'm still trying to see what exactly the blood bank would like to do with us, but in the mean time, I have reserved a very large number of tickets-- and you can order them directly from the Pirates.  Just follow the directions on the .pdf form at this link.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I have 60 RSVPs for Nick's 30th birthday.  That's a pretty big party... now to see if the Pirates have enough tickets together for us!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Please RSVP if you'd like to attend the Pirates game with us!

(Form has been removed-- too late!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've created a Facebook event for Nick's 30th Birthday.  Everyone is invited-- I just need RSVPs to figure out the group ticketing situation.

But more interesting, I spent yesterday designing some shirts and accessories on CafePress-- check them out!  Please note that the prices are the CafePress prices.  There is no markup on my part, no proceeds to donate, nothing like that.

Dark T-Shirt
Long Sleeve Dark T-Shirt
Baseball Jersey
Custom Ringer T

Messenger Bag
Black Cap
Shot Glass- Especially appropriate if you knew my brother, the Instigator

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


It looks like we're on with the Central Blood Bank-- just April 22 instead of April 21.  They're meeting with the Pirates next week, so maybe we'll have a little something else to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation. I just hope I can pull this off-- from Baltimore, no less...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Quick update

The blood bank may be interested in doing something to coincide with Nick's 30th birthday.  They want to talk.  They want to talk!  More when we do.

In the meantime, I'm hoping that between friends and family there might be a large enough group for group tickets.  Which would be cool.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


In trying to think about what exactly to do for Nick's birthday, I had the notion that maybe, just maybe, the Central Blood Bank and the Pirates may be willing to schedule one of the Pirates' blood drives (the Pirates typically sponsor a few over the course of the season) to coincide with a gathering of friends & family. Kind of an opportunity to gather donors united by a common cause, and to draw attention to the deeply personal impact blood donors can make on total strangers' lives. So, I contacted the individual at the blood bank whom I had contacted about Nick's death, and pitched the idea. I don't know if it'll go anywhere, but wouldn't it be nice if it does?

In other news, I'm exploring just what (and how much) this visit all 30 ballparks venture is going to take-- and how much this former baseball fan is going to have to bone up. Starting in Pittsburgh at PNC Park is not only the obvious choice, but it's easy. I'm a Pittsburgher born & bred and I'll be a Pittsburgher through & through until the day I die. Then Baltimore, as I live here & all, plus Camden Yards was the site of the last game I attended with my brother (which is also the last game I attended, period), as well as the most memorable for being the single hottest day I've ever experienced. DC is next, and Philadelphia is reasonably close- as is NYC for the Mets and, Nick's other favorite team, the Yankees. I'll never forget his reaction when I told him I was taking him to New York to see a Yankees game- it was pretty much the best gift ever.

From there, things get a bit more hairy.  Luckily, Megabus (which itself became an inside joke between Nick & I after his pilgrimage to Yankee Stadium) has a pretty respectable network in the upper midwest, which expands my options.  I think that, between Pittsburgh, Baltimore, DC, Philadelphia, and two trips to New York (let's not forget that the Yankees and Mets are hardly ever in town at the same time), that might be my limit for this summer.  Maybe Fenway-- the awesome and amazing Megabus does run from Baltimore to Boston.  Another concern: how exactly am I going to pay for all of this?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Nick's Big Adventure(s)

I received a gruesome shock when I looked at the calendar and realized that next Monday is the 1 year anniversary of the last time I saw my brother alive (which means today marks 359 days since the last time I saw my brother, walking to his car to head home after coming down to Baltimore for a weekend visit that involved Tarentino movies, Papermoon Cafe, and respectable amounts of beer).

It's amazing how quickly I completely collapsed under the weight of this revelation.  Or perhaps not-- my boyfriend asked me to pull his finger the other day, and I promptly collapsed into a crying fit, because not only my brother was notorious for such invitations, but because it's the first time I can recall anyone saying that to me... since the last time my brother visited.


With the first anniversary of losing my brother lurking right behind the next flip of my calendar, I'm grasping at straws and trying to avoid the complete meltdown I fear is coming.  So, time to actually start doing the stuff I've talked about doing in Nick's honor.  Except... I kinda hate that.  Saying something is in someone's honor or memory sounds so final, and I just can't deal with that.  Call it denial.  I honestly don't care.  But it's not in his honor, or in his memory.  It's doing it for him.  It's Nick's Big Adventure(s), and I'm just along for the ride.

I'm starting with "visit all 30 MLB stadiums," which is going to take several years given my financial constraints and work commitments.  But that's okay-- he was doing it on the installment plan anyway.  I'm going to start with the seven that he did manage to visit, and the first up is our hometown, Pittsburgh.  The Pirates have a homestand the same weekend as Spring Carnival at CMU (so I was already planning to be in town), which also coincides with what should have been my brother's 30th birthday.  Under normal circumstances, I would have taken Nick to the game anyway... so, April 21st at PNC Park, we celebrate Nick's 30th birthday.

Ballparks left to visit: 25