All of my 365 t-shirts from 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

T-shirt #212: Red Sox (Carlton Fisk)

30 years ago, my dad took me to my first Red Sox game. As you can see from the picture, I made it clear which team I was rooting for. Before the game, a park employee asked me if I wanted to be the “Coca-Cola Kid”. I had no freakin’ blue what he was talking about but after he talked to my dad, we agreed to do it. In the middle of the game, my dad and I went up to the press box. They gave me a Coke shirt (pictured), Coke bottle radio, and put my picture up on the scoreboard. The best part of it all was for an inning, I got to flip the switches to the balls, strikes, and outs lights on the Green Monster. Like I’ve written and told many, 1980 was a big year: US Gold in hockey, Empire Strikes Back, AC-DC’s Back in Black, The Shining, and my first Sox game. 1980 also marked the last year Carlton Fisk wore a Sox uniform. If you don’t know who he is, this is what he is best known for:

Looking forward to another game at Fenway with my dad…go Sox!

Friday, July 30, 2010

T-shirt #211: Proud to be Awesome

This shirt is a new one (Target special) that I just couldn’t resist getting. I’m wearing it today because I will be off soon to pick up my friend Tim at the airport and I thought he’d get a kick out of it.

I met Tim my freshman year in college and we hit it off right away, throwing movie quotes back and forth like it was our job (what a great job that would be). Tim and I also shared a love of hockey and wearing t-shirts. My “Your favorite band sucks.” shirt ( was one that Tim had before me, and I knew I had to have one of my own as soon as I saw it.

When I made the decision to see what drinking was all about, Tim was the guy I turned to. I asked him if he would be my “Drinking Sensei”, and he happily obliged. Me and a group of guys from our dorm set out on a mission to baptize me by fire into the world of underaged-undergrad drinking. The first stop was a place we called “Godzilla Burger” (, so I wouldn’t be drinking on an empty stomach. Although Godzilla Burger put your picture up on the wall if you ate one of their one-pound burgers, I opted for a “regular” burger as my pre-party meal. We then made our way up to a party at 1711 Comm Ave that someone had found out about, and my journey towards the Drink Side had started…

As I drank beer after beer, I could feel the alcohol’s buzz as each drink went down easier than the previous. It felt a lot like getting Benadryl through the IV (which I had become a fan of during my cancer treatment the previous summer), so I had a hunch it wasn’t going to be the last time I drank. I sat on the couch sipping at my sixth beer and felt the room begin to spin, but I was determined to finish it. My stomach had other plans. Without warning I threw up on myself, yet I think I kept trying to drink. A friend of a friend saw it and told Tim, “I think your friend spilled his beer.” Tim looked over to see the damage and replied, “Um, I think he spilled his lunch.” My friends quickly got me out of there as I apologized to the guy who was throwing the party, telling him it was my “first time”. Thanks to my buddies, I managed to make it home safe and sound and without more throwing up.

Tim has told me a few times that he feels bad for “teaching” me how to drink, but I assure him that I would have found alcohol sooner or later. I’m looking forward to hanging out with him these next few days to catch up and re-hash old college stories. More of those will be written about, including how Tim nicknamed me “Balls of Steel” because I would approach any female I thought was hot or that someone dared me to. I am proud to be awesome, but that is only because I have been lucky enough to have such awesome people in my life. Should be a fun weekend…

Thursday, July 29, 2010

T-shirt #210: Boston Fire Department (#2)

Like my first BFD shirt (, this shirt was given to me. Years ago, my friend Drew visited a Boston firehouse and got this shirt for me…thanks, Drew! Sooooo many “Drew Stories” to choose from, but I’ll start with the sign…

Unless you went to BC, you might be wondering what I am holding in my hands. It is the front board from the on campus apartment Drew and I (and 4+ other guys…Patrick pretty much did too) lived in our senior year. The Mods were intended to be temporary when they were built in 1970, but became the “in” place to live senior year. After three years of “not-so-in” housing, I finally hit the jackpot when I landed at 40A. Years after graduation, when the news came that they were tearing our Mod down to make room for a new building, we knew something had to be done. Enter Drew wearing a hard hat and coveralls, holding a crow bar. In the middle of construction and acting like he was supposed to be there, Drew wandered over to Mod 40A, removed the board, and quietly exited the premises. I really couldn’t believe my eyes when he walked into the Waltham apartment with it. We owned part of our senior year, and part of our college.

Although in and after college Drew got into his share of mischief, he also took care of me and was witness to a few of my worst drinking nights. One night in particular, he happened to be the EMT driving the ambulance that picked me up (I was passed out on the sidewalk). According to Drew, it took several Boston College Police Officers to “assist” me getting into the ambulance. Once in, Drew was in the back with me and it became somewhat of a shouting match between us (I guess I wasn’t too happy to be going to the hospital). I was screaming and swearing so much that Drew was having difficulty giving a status update over the radio. The best line of the night came from Drew’s EMT partner who had taken over the driving. He was wondering what the hell was going on with me and Drew tried to reassure him everything was going to be akay by saying something like “It’s cool, he’s my friend.” The driver’s respose: “Yeah, well your friend is an asshole.” Yes. Yes, I was. But I was a lucky asshole to have Drew taking care of me…thanks, buddy.

Luckily, not all of my drinking nights involved an ambulance. One Friday afternoon sophomore year, I asked Drew what he was doing that night. He said “I dunno”, and we quickly schemed and tried to throw a last minute party together. Drew lived at 30 South Street, which would end up heading many scenes in the “Tragic Comic” screenplay. A few hours later, Drew was getting money out of the ATM at BC so he could fund the party we were hoping “enough” people would show up to. While waiting in line, he overheard one guy asking another, “Hey, did you hear? Huge party at 30 South Street tonight.” This was before email, cellphones, IMs, and Facebook, people, and it ended up being a classic bash.

Drew worked as much as he partied. He amazingly paid his own way through Boston College, a feat I doubt many of the other 2000something students we graduated with could claim. Sometimes senior year he had dicciculty getting up for his early hospital shifts, and I would be the one who would shit off the alarm. He mistakenly told me that if he was late for work again, he thought they might fire him. The next morning the alarm wasn’t doing the trick. I yelled, I shook, and I yelled some more, but he wasn’t waking up. So, I grabbed a cup of water and splashed it on his face (I didn’t want him getting fired!). Although it took Drew a while to forgive me, I am glad we can laugh about this “wet-wakeup” now.

About a month ago, Drew made a trip to Mass and I met him on The Cape. Like we always do, we reminissed and retold these and other stories, laughing along the way. I assured Drew they would all be in a book someday and if he was lucky I might give him veto power over some of them (like when he was caught impersonating a BC cop…woops!). Like I’ve said again and again, the only thing in life that really matters is the people that you have in yours…I’m very lucky to have Drew in mine, and looking forward to the next time we can share some of our stories with others.

(Drew with me on the Cape, I’m wearing:

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

T-shirt #209: MOUNTAIN DEW

This shirt is yet another part of an awesome donation from an awesome person (thanks, JB!).

I was never really that into Mountain Dew growing up. Coke was always my #1 choice when it came to soda, and I was sure New Coke was going to fail miserably (why change something so perfect?). I always liked getting Coke on Prince Edward Island in the summer because it came in glass bottles. And when I ordered at McDonald’s (breakfast, lunch, or dinner), Coke was what I got. I even shot-gunned a can of Coke behind Mini Farms after my friends (a.k.a. co-workers) dared me to (it kinda hurt, but I got it down).

Then in high school, I did what any good Catholic boy would: I gave up Coke for Lent. It was a difficult 40 days, but a period that would lead me to another confectionary savior: Mountain Dew. There was no way I would drink Pepsi instead of Coke and mello yello was not in any Massachusetts store I knew of, so “The Dew” was where I ended up getting my sugar fix. I gave up drinking Coke each year after that, and Mountain Dew was there to see me through it.

Mountain Dew then became part of my “diet” after that, and I would usually pick up a few 2 liters of Coke and The Dew when I went shopping. Then in the fall of 2002, I stopped drinking soda and caffeine altogether. I drank flavored water instead, hoping it would help with my Crohn’s. A few weeks later, I thought I must have been sitting in the wrong position on my couch because my back stared hurting. Five minutes later I was banging on my roommate’s bedroom door telling him he had to take me to the hospital. It turned out I was having my first kidney stone, a pain that was worse than any chemotherapy I had ever gotten. I took it as the perfect opportunity to get back on my old diet, so Coke and The Dew were back.

I don’t think it was until 2004 when I saw Supersize Me that I cut out regular Coke and Mountain Dew (in addition to McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, etc.) from my consuming. It took me a while, but I actually got used to Diet Coke and Diet Dew. I would (and still do) sneak a regular one in here and there as a “treat”, but they tasted more like syrup to me than soda.

After admitting that my Crohn’s was no match to caffeine, I actually have since cut out regular coffee and tried to only drink caffeine free soda (a hard thing to do). I do still have on occasional Diet Coke or Diet Dew, but more often than not it ends up coming back to literally bite me in the ass. I know one day I will most likely stop drinking soda, but that day is not today…

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

T-shirt #208: UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center

The internet is down again at the Lodge...ugh. This shirt, which you can't see yet, was donated to me from my favorite nurse...thanks, Joan! More on how great UMass is later...

In case you missed it before, I love nurses (, and this shirt was donated to me from my favorite nurse…thanks Joan!

Although the Children’s Medical Center ( didn’t open until I was finished with my chemotherapy, the pediatric floor at UMass was where I was treated for both my Crohn’s and brain cancer. Looking back, I feel lucky that this is where I got treated. The nurses and doctors at UMass helped me feel comfortable in the hospital setting and definitely contributed to my recovery over these diseases. They provided an environment conducive to healing and always answered all of my questions. It always makes me happy when I tell Hope Lodge guests who are getting treated at UMass that I also got treated there. I can see in their faces that by seeing a UMass survivor right before them, they feel confident about getting treatment at the same place. Is there a better endorsement for a hospital?

Monday, July 26, 2010

T-shirt #207: B5K

This shirt is from a 5K race I ran (and finished!) last year that was a fundraiser for both Hope Lodge and pancreatic cancer research. The race was put on by Block 5, the first restaurant opened (it is now closed) by Niche Hospitality.

Every Monday since I have been working at Hope Lodge, someone from a Niche restuarant ( has brought free dinner for the guests (yes, I’m allowed to eat it too!). That’s over 150 donated dinners since I have been here (Tonight there was salad, rice, and delicious steak burritos). There were also a couple of weeks when we didn’t have many guests and Block 5 told us to come out to the restaurant…their treat! The added bonus to the weekly free meals is that it helps bring the Hope Lodge guests together. Nothing pleases me more than walking into the kitchen at night and seeing a table full of guests and caregivers chatting away and enjoying dinner…it’s really what Hope Lodge is all about.

In addition to the Monday meals, Niche also helped us with our 25th anniversary celebration and they help us every year at our fashion show. Although saying thank you doesn’t cover how much Niche Hospitality does for the Lodge, I will do it again tonight…Thank you so much, everyone at Hope Lodge appreciates what you do and we are lucky to have such a great relationship with you!

Pictures: Mid-race wearing this shirt: (, finishing the race, assuring my brother Tom I am way to sweaty to hug, and my friend Glen, me, Glen’s wife Krissy, and my sister Carolyn post-race (they all kicked my ass!).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

T-shirt #206: Hope Lodge

As some of you know, four years ago my life was in the middle of a downward spiral. I had no job, legal issues, and lots of time to dwell on both. I only ventured outside of my room when my body needed me to, and I rarely left my apartment. When I did leave my apartment it was usually just across the hall to watch a movie and then I’d return to my bedroom cave when it was done. I wasn’t answering my phone and, depending on the day, sometimes didn’t get back to people when they left me a message. Even a trip up to Prince Edward Island did not cheer me up. Life was not good.

My parents and older sister showed up one day for something of a mini-intervention. They knew I was hurting and wanted to reassure that they were there for me, wondering when I was going to come out of the dark shell I had created. I told them I would be okay, but really had no idea how things were going to get better. I feared the upcoming holiday season, knowing that if I couldn’t be happy that time of year, things most likely wouldn’t improve in the new year.

Thanksgiving ended up being a turning point for me that year. Being surrounded by my family reminded me how lucky I really was. No job or amount of money could ever replace the loving people I had in my life. I started smiling more, laughing more, and spending less time alone. But as Christmas passed and another year started, I also started running out of money.

It was around this time that I was introduced to The Secret. I know a lot of people think it’s B.S., but it really made sense to me (and still does). The basic premise of The Secret is that the whole universe runs by the law of attraction. So if you project negativity, you will attract negative things (think of a day that starts off bad and keeps getting worse). Alternatively, if you think and feel positive things, you will attract more positive things into your life. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I used The Secret to beat cancer. I thought it, visualized it, believed it, and beat it. It’s pretty simple. Being thankful for what you have and being positive will make your life easier. (I would compare it all to The Force, but that’s for another blog.)

Even with my emotional turnaround, I was still without a job. Over the years I had always wanted to do something related to cancer, but never did more than a couple of survivor’s laps at the Westboro Relay for Life. I had told my self “you should checkout the American Cancer Society to see if they have any jobs”, but it was just a thought that went in and out of my head without making any sort of effort. Then one day, something put that thought in my head again. This time I acted on it, and went to the ACS website. The job at Hope Lodge had been listed only days earlier, and thought maybe I had found something.

I quickly changed my resume and added “cancer survivor” to the top of my qualifications. After applying and meeting my boss for my first interview, I knew I had found something. I have been working at Hope Lodge ( for over three years now, and I am one of those lucky people who can say that he loves his job. Hope Lodge not only helped me continue to get my life back where I wanted it to be, it gave me a reason why I had cancer in the first place. Cancer saved my life, and Hope Lodge made it possible.

PS- I am pointing to the window of my apartment that appears on the shirt…does anyone else have a t-shirt with a picture of their apartment on it?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

T-shirt #205: Abe Froman, The Sausage King of Chicago

This shirt was donated to me all the way from England by Last Exit to Nowhere (, thanks again LETN! It is a reference to one of my favorite movies of all time, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (

If you’ve never seen Ferris, I really feel bad for you. With so many classic scenes and lines, we watched it over and over in my house growing up. The funniest time had to be once when the scene with the “nurse” delivering the balloons was on. She says, “I came to help restore your pluck, ‘cause I’m the nurse who likes to…”, and then Ed Rooney closes the door. My younger sister Megan yells out “talk!”, and we all agreed, “Yeah, yeah, talk, right.” Hilarious.

I looked for the Abe Froman scene online, but could not find it. I did however, find these. Hope you enjoy! And remember: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it…

One of my favorite scenes:

Friday, July 23, 2010

T-shirt#204: Life is Good (Festival 2010)

This is another one donated from Life is Good (, thanks Ca and LIG!) who is having a music festival ( on September 11th and 12th in Canton, MA. 100% of the profits go towards the Life is Good Kids Foundation.

I wore it today because earlier the History Channel reminded me that the world can always use “Good vibes spread far and wide”. I often think about how easy it would be for everyone to get along if people traded their hate in for empathy and their greed in for charity. And just when I believe in the possibility of a much better earth, I see shows on the history channel like the one I saw this morning. It was part of their Gangland series ( , and was about the Imperial Klans of America.

I shook my head as member after member said they were preparing for a “race war” and how they believed in ZOG (which stands for Zionist Occupation Government), which is an antisemitic conspiracy theory stating Jews secretly control the government. I just don’t understand how someone can believe hatred and separation are the answer. The show also talked about how the internet is helping to spread these ideas and recruit members, so I had to check them out. Although the IKA site ( seemed out of date (last “news” was from 2006), I also found the “regular” Ku Kulx Klan website (, ). The KKK page actually has a link for t-shirts (

Like other groups, what I don’t understand the most is how these groups claim to be Christian. I was raised Catholic, and I read the Bible enough to know that 1) Jesus would want all races to get along 2) Jesus would not want people preparing for a “race war” or any kind of war 3) Jesus wouldn’t join the KKK if he were here today. How many of these so-called “Christian” groups actually think they are carrying on Jesus’ work? The Catholic anti-gay-unless-you’re-a-pedophile-priest-and-we’ll-transfer-you and women not equal to men practices and beliefs are the reasons I stopped going to Mass. It’s not something I believe in, and not something I think Jesus would approve of. I don’t even know if Jesus was God, I just know he would be helping most of the groups that so-called Christian groups are against.

I understand why so many people in the world are angry and upset. The economy sucks and the division between the rich and the poor gets greater every year. It’s easy to blame someone for all the problems, and it feels good when you are part of a group that thinks the same way you do. You feel like they protect you, they will be there for you no matter what, and you’re all in this together.

We are all in it together. But that “we” needs to mean people. It needs to mean every human. It needs to mean planet earth. Dividing, spreading hate, and preparing for war are not the direction we need to go. Like I’ve written before, it all comes own to the golden rule, which is contained in just about every major religion. Treat others as you would want to be treated. If we all do that, everything’s good…

Thursday, July 22, 2010

T-shirt #203: FOCUSIN (original logo)

This is my 3rd Focusin shirt (see also:, , and another homemade one. This shirt was also one of the reasons I was dubbed “#1 fan” after I made it and wore it to a Focusin show on a Sunday night in JP. I wear it today for my friend Glen, who is celebrating his somethingth birthday today (hint: it’s one less than the number that gets Dante so upset in Clerks).

Although Glen and I grew up together in The ‘Boro (a.k.a. Westboro, MA a.k.a. birthplace of Eli Whitney), we really didn’t start hanging out until our high school years. Our girlfriends both went to Notre Dame in Worcester, so we went on our share of double dates. This continued during my bout with cancer, when Glen and the girlfriends helped me feel “normal” by going to Hampton Beach and the Red Sox with me. Although we didn’t hang out as much during our college years, we started hanging out a lot more in the late 90s / early 2000s.

I will never forget when Glen called me in June of 2001. There was something different in his voice like he didn’t believe what he was telling me. He had gone to see U2 the night before, and they brought him up on stage to play a song with them. You can see the pictures here

and read the story here

It was later that year that Glen started playing in Focusin. I went to every show I could and had a pretty legitimate excuse when I finally missed one (I was in the hospital getting morphine for my first kidney stone). I supported Focusin through their first year together and happily handed out their CDs at the shows.

In 2003, Glen and the band provided me with a very needed distraction during one of the toughest times in my life. I had recently become un-engaged, and Focusin was rocking their way in a national battle of the bands. They won the Boston final, and won themselves a trip to Pittsburgh with the opportunity of being national champs. I remember driving down with my friend Matt and being pulled over about 24 seconds into our trip (we got off with a warning). I also took a sweet video of Matt lip syncing Danger Danger’s “I Still Think About You” (no, that is not a typo). We met our friend Mike there, and watched as Glen and the boys beat band after band to win it all. The grand prize was being the opening band for a concert at Heinz Field (where the Steelers play) that featured (as you can see on the ticket) Blink 182, Puddle of Mudd, 311, Def Leppard, Sum 41, Saliva, and Trapt. Pretty amazing, and just what I needed at the time.

That fall, Glen started teaching me how to play guitar. We met weekly and I practiced just about every day. It wasn’t long before I could play a few chords and we were actually “jamming”. Although my strumming skills seemed to have plateaued, I did learn how to play Everlong acoustically (my goal when I first started) and still enjoy learning and attempting to write new songs. It’s a gift that I can’t say thank you enough for, and one I will have for the rest of my life.

That fall also brings to mind something else Glen and I have in common: a love for the Red Sox. Although I never saw Boone’s HR in game 7 that year (I had decided to drive around in my car after the NY Jerks tied it up), Glen was at a bar and witnessed the atrocity. He then (as the story has been told) walked out of the bar, threw his Sox hat on the pavement, and kicked it all the way back as he walked home. For some reason Glen and I decided to go to even MORE games the following year, and it paid off (you can thank us).

Whether Glen and I are playing music, going to concerts, playing video games, playing Wiffle Ball, or watching the Sox, one thing is for sure: we are always making each other laugh. He has been there for me through my tough times, and recently has gone above and beyond what the title “friend” usually implies. Before he moved out to Oregon with his wife Krissy, he GAVE me the MacBook I am typing on right now (not to mention an iPhone and a snowboard!). I know I have embarrassed him much more than he wants, but I can’t help but feel lucky to have him as a friend. Hope your birthday is an awesome one, buddy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

T-shirt #202: Darth Tater

We had a power outage in lovely Worcester and after it came back on, HL's internet didn't. So, I'm typing from my phone. Had a bad no energy Crohn's day, but I'm feeling a little better and am happy to report I'm wearing a shirt from PEI's Island Clay Co. that has a Darth Vader potato on the back. Shirt was a gift from my awesome mom...Thanks, Mom! Pics and more details to come...

This shirt was something my mom saw up in PEI and thought “you had to have it”. Thanks, Mom!

I wore it today because I had a “Dark Side” kind of day…no energy or appetite, barely leaving the bed all day. I even didn’t feel up to playing hockey, which is a sure sign I feel like crap. Then, I got an email from the rink schedule guy (who asked me to talk to the manager, and I did, and the manager said he thought my Skate-a-thon was a great idea and wanted to do it). His email said “the manager and I don’t have the authority to donate the rink time.” The employees can’t say they’ll work for free? I don’t get it. Hoping tomorrow I can get in touch with the person that does have the authority. Finally, to top the day off, we lost power at Hope Lodge. It just came back on, which is nice, but I can’t get online…hoping I can figure it out before midnight for my blog…

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This shirt, like these (,, ), was part of an awesome donation from JB…thanks!

I first remember listening to Rage Against the Machine (, see band history here: ) the summer I was going through treatment for cancer. I remember thinking it was one of the coolest names for a band (sorry Carl, Queensryche doesn’t make this list) I had ever heard of and could tell they were angry. It wasn’t until after I was done with chemo that I really started listening to Rage. Recently beating cancer and being introduced to drinking made Rage (along with Pearl Jam) a perfect match to the emotions I needed to release.

RATM’s music doesn’t just blindly say f- the world. They rage about issues that are important to them and try to move people to fight for social justice. My favorite off of their first album, which had a picture of Thích Quảng Đức ( ) on it, is “Know Your Enemy”:

In addition to bringing issues to light through their music, Rage also helps fans get more involved in trying to make the world a better place. In 2002 their guitarist Tom Morello co-founded Axis of Justice (, a non-profit organization that brings together musicians, fans of music, and grassroots political organizations to fight for social justice.

The facts on the back of the shirt (from the United Nations in1980) led me to look up more recent worldly women statistics: and to the UN website:

Rage knows the world sucks and I admire them for trying to do something about it…I think it really is time to “Take the Power Back”:

“Holes in our spirit causin' tears and fears

One-sided stories for years and years and years

I'm inferior? Who's inferior?

Yeah, we need to check the interior

Of the system that cares about only one culture

And that is why

We gotta take the power back!” -RATM

Monday, July 19, 2010

T-shirt #200: HOBOCORE

First of all, holy shit, t-shirt #200!

I will admit when I got this shirt (donated from TopatoCo, - thanks again TopatoCo!), I had to look up what it meant.

My Google led me to these results at



Hobocore describes a person who chooses to ride freight trains, squat, travel and stay politically minded, while making sure to drink every day. Is usually an ex dope-fiend and generally from the Midwest, though not usually found there. Dreadlocks, facial tattoos, haggard patch-pants and prison time are common, though not required. Hobocore kids are often self-proclaimed anarchists, though usually banned from the local anarchist hangouts. Hobocore music is "anarcho-crusty-folk-rap".

Shit, I ain't as dumb as you think

I can make a bomb with the shit that's under your sink...

Desperate refugee, hop a freight with me

Shoot a pack in the back of the alley

I'm not bullshitting, we really live this way

Hobocore, aka it's lil jay



The next logical extension of emo. The idea being since, by emo standards, the best music comes from the most downtrodden people, therefore the ultimate expression will come with "packs of disaffected youths with elaborate haircuts huddling around oil drums swapping stories of sharing rail cars with Sunny Day Real Estate and passing around a bottle of moonshine cut with their own tears." Concept first introduced by the webcomic Questionable Content.

"We're not emo hobos, we're emotional hobocore."

The second one led me to Questionable Content’s website (, which when I clicked on their merchandise link led me back to all the shirts they had on TopatoCo (

They also had a banner for another t-shirt site ( that of course I had to check out and has some cool t’s (will have to email them later).

Then, I Googled “questionable content hobocore” and came up with the original “Hobocore” comic:

So, what does it mean to me? Although the idea of being homeless (or “hobocore”) doesn’t sound too appealing to me, I know there are people who live in mansions surrounded by expensive everything and are miserable. I know that when it comes down to it, the size of your house or if you have a house doesn’t determine the kind of person you are. I know that the people in your life are far more important than any physical thing you own (explaining why pictures are way up there on my list of physical “keepers”). Hobocore makes me think of the things in my life that can’t be replaced. I know if I won the lottery it would only make me happy because I have people I love and causes I believe in to share it with. E! investigated lottery winners who were still miserable after they struck gold…it didn’t surprise me at all. It’s just goes back to the simple equation that money plus things do not equal happiness. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your life that love you no matter what, then you’re lucky enough…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

T-shirt #199: Worcester Sharks

This shirt was free from the Sharks and is a good out-in-the-Sun/workout shirt.

When I started working at Hope Lodge three years ago, one of the first things I did was call the Worcester Sharks to see if they would donate some tickets to the guests here. The first time I talked to Mike Myers (Director of Community Relations), he told me the Sharks would be happy to give free tickets to any game for anyone staying at Hope Lodge. I was thrilled when he said those words and could not believe that part of my job might involve going to hockey games for free.

One of the first Sharks home games that season was a cancer awareness game called “Pink at the Rink”, and Hope Lodge was a big part of it. I got to drop the ceremonial first (and pink) puck, a moment captured perfectly by my dad (who was the official Hope Lodge photographer for the event and walked out onto the rink like he had done it 1,000 times). The Sharks goalie (Thomas Griess, who now plays for the San Jose Sharks and who played for Team Germany these past Olympics) started wearing a pink goalie mask, which would later be auctioned off and give Hope Lodge around $5,000.

A couple of months later, we had a 17-year-old staying with us. I told him about the free Sharks tickets, but unfortunately the team had only away games the week he was here. When I told Mike Myers this, he set up a time when both he and one of the players came to Hope Lodge to visit the guest. The article I wrote about it is here:

So as I continue to count down towards another hockey season, I am looking forward to continuing the great relationship between Hope Lodge and the Sharks. They have been an important part of helping guests get through the most difficult part of their lives. Thanks, Sharks!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

T-shirt #198: Life is Good (Canadian flag)

This is yet another shirt that my awesome sister Carolyn gave me and I’m wearing it today because I will be out in the Sun playing wiffle ball with my friend Carl (he needs revenge from the wiffle win I got up on Hampton Beach Wednesday).

As you can see in my previous blogs (,, ), Canada is a place that has been and always will be special to me.

It’s the middle of July, and I’m still counting down to the start of the NHL season…

Friday, July 16, 2010

T-shirt #197: Stormtrooper

This shirt, like these:, was a gift from my awesome boss.

I was telling someone about a principal I worked with one year. I was working with a student population that I had no experience with (Down Syndrome and Autistic), but this principal expected me to be an expert (did she ever look at my resume?). She was quick to let me know what I did wrong, and never uttered a “nice job” if I did something well. One time we were in an IEP meeting and we could hear a student screaming in the other end of the school. Someone ducked their heads into our meeting to tell us it was one of my students. I went to where he was, and quickly told him everything was going to be okay and asked him if he wanted to play Connect Four. I know it may be hard to understand that playing me in a game could solve problems, but it worked. When I returned to the meeting, the principal asked me what I did. I explained it to her fully knowing that if there was going to be any time for her to compliment me, this was it. Nothing. Just an “Oh”, and refocusing back to the meeting.

A couple of months later, my Crohn’s started acting up (well, backing up is more like it), and I went to see my doctor. He explained to me that the place where my intestines were reattached after my surgery (1 ½ feet of small and large intestines removed) had a chance of scarring up and constricting my small intestine. He thought there was a back-up that was causing my symptoms, but wanted to get a scan of it to get a better look. I went back to work and explained to the principal that I needed another appointment and the doctor said (which he did) there was a chance I would need more surgery. Her response: “I’ve never heard of anyone needing surgery for Crohn’s”. Although many, many, many things popped into my head as a response, I just nodded and told her that’s what he told me.

The boss I have now is pretty much the exact opposite of this principal. She supports my work at Hope Lodge, and she supports my crazy t-shirt obsession. She is the first to tell me I am doing a good job and constructively criticizes with a heart of gold. Working here is rewarding enough, but having a boss like mine makes it a blessing…

Thursday, July 15, 2010

T-shirt #196: D (Detroit Tigers)

This shirt was another JB donation (thanks, again!) and marks the first time I am watching a Red Sox game and wearing a shirt from another team (surprisingly, the world has kept spinning but the Sox are losing badly).

So, what do I think of when I think of Detroit? I know it has been called Motor City and Hockeytown. I know it’s in Michigan and I know a few people from that area…

The only reason I have this shier in the first place is because a very supportive Michigan native (Michagonian?) gave it to me along with about 6 others. She has supported me with shirts, with reading my works, and just being “wicked cool” in general…I am glad she ended up in “Wushtah”!

I met another person from Michigan while working as a camp counselor at Haverford College. She was a huge Red Wings fan and wore her 1997 Stanley Cup Champions shirt on the tour of the Philadelphia Flyers rink that I set up (the Wings had just beat the Flyers that year for the championship). We kept in touch over the years, and I remember being very jealous when she told me she was going to the outdoor hockey game between Michigan and Michigan State.

Speaking of Michigan hockey, they broke my heart in 1998. My beloved BC Eagles team made it into the championship game (which was played at the Fleet Center in Boston) against Michigan, a game my friends and I were lucky enough to get tickets to. The game went into overtime after BC gave up a 3rd period lead, and if you want to hear the rest of the story, you can watch it here:

A happier sports story more directly related to this shirt is the story of the 1968 Detroit Tigers. The summer of 1967 in Detroit was lowlighted by 5 days of race riots that resulted in 43 people being killed ( ). The 1968 Tigers helped to heal the city the following summer and went on to win the World Series that year (info about the movie based on it here:

Although the list on Wikipedia is extensive (, the only people that come to mind when I think of Detroit are Eminem and Kid Rock. Although I would hardly call them heroes, there are a few of there songs I really enjoy. As I was finishing up this blog, a real Detroit hero walked in the room. One of the guests here is from Detroit and he’s dealing with illness and he’s still laughing. We often hear about celebrities “courageously fighting” a disease and becoming heroes for others that are similarly afflicted. One of the blessings of my job is that I get to work with everyday heroes every night. Here’s one for all the Detroit/Michigan people that I know. A little Kid Rock with a PJ twist…

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

T-shirt #195: IRISH PARK

I ordered this one from an Irish catalog (big surprise) and am wearing it today because I will be outside and need to minimize the Sun’s rays being absorbed by my Irish skin (It will also go along with my 85 SPF that I will wear, I always say sunscreen this protective should just say “Irish”). I am heading to Hampton Beach with my friends Carl and Scott, which is sure to be an adventure. After hanging out at the beach (yes, I’m sure we will hit the arcades at some point), we are going to see Cinderella (, a band we all grew up on. I will never forget when “Shake Me” started playing at my junior high dance. I was one of about 3 students who knew A) who it was and 2) the words to the song. It’s almost painful to think that Cinderella’s album Long Cold Winter came out 22 years ago, but it will be great to see them and hang out with two of my best buddies…

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

T-shirt #194: Haiti, Optimism has no borders. (Life is Good)

Thanks to my awesome sister Carolyn, this shirt was donated to me from Life is Good ( Thanks again Ca, and Life is Good!

If you buy this shirt at their website here (,color:white), Life is Good donates 100% of the profits to relief efforts that target Haiti’s Children. Even though that’s a great thing, I think the message on the shirt is even better and more important. No matter what difficulty you are dealing with in life, optimism can get you through it. And if more and more people have positive thoughts about something, the likelihood of a better outcome increases. If you read the story about the Life is Good company, you will see it started by thinking optimistically and never giving up (

For me, the same goes for Crohn’s and cancer. I have times where it seems like I am in the bathroom all day long or bouts of survivor’s guilt, but I always bring myself back to thinking about the positive and being thankful for each day I have. Today was one of those “no energy Crohn’s days” for me, but I made it through. I have friends, family, and a job that I love. I have a place to sleep, food to eat, and music to listen to. Life is a lot about perspective and being thankful for what you have instead of complaining about what you don’t have. Hopefully you have something or a cause in your life that is important to you that lets you help people. It might not be Haiti, but if you have thought about helping people in Haiti, here are some links to let you do so:

If there is another cause that is important to you, feel free to share!