All of my 365 t-shirts from 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

T-shirt #365: IRISH TUX

Holy crap, I made it! And like I have written before, I did not get here alone. My family, friends, Facebook friends, Hope Lodge guests, internet sponsors, and local businesses all helped me get here. Thanks to everyone who donated t-shirts and read this blog during the year!

22 years ago I was getting back from the hospital after a 4 hour surgery, 11 day stay, and Crohn’s Disease diagnosis. I think tonight will be a bit better than that night in 1988. I think due to the fact that I was getting back from the hospital helped me to remember every New Year’s Eve since. Here’s a peek:

1988-1989: Quiet night at my parents’ house after getting back from the hospital

1989-1990: Party at my cousin Katie’s house

1990-1991: Party at a (then) friend of a friend’s house (his parents were away) in Grafton who is now a Worcester police officer

1991-1992: Party at a friend’s in Westboro

1992-1993: Party at the same place as 91-92 (this is when I got my David Way sign)

1993-1994: Quiet night watching movies at a friend in Westboro

1994-1995: Party at UMass – the only New Year’s Eve I ever drank!

1995-1996: Road trip to NYC to be with my girlfriend

1996-1997: Phish concert at the Fleet Center

1997-1998: First Night in Boston

1998-1999: Home alone in Waltham, watched Return of the Jedi

1999-2000: Drove “Dave’s Millennium Taxi” (Mom’s minivan) to my roommate’s friend’s party

2000-2001: Took limo and saw Barenaked Ladies at Fleet Center

2001-2002: Party at Andy’s in Grafton

2002-2003: In Buffalo with girlfriend

2003-2004: Went to JJ O’Rourke’s with roommate

2004-2005: Quite night with a girl I was pseudo-dating

2005-2006: Party at a friend’s in Westboro

2006-2007: Made an appearance at a friend’s party in Westboro, was back at apartment watching a movie when it was midnight

2007-2008: Working at Hope Lodge

2008-2009: Working at Hope Lodge

2009-2010: Watching Mark’s band (Catch and Release, Dirty Fever?) at G. Willikers

2010-2011: End of blog party!

There will be much more to report later...

Happy New Year’s everyone and I hope you come up with and stick to a great resolution!!!!

I will have another blog for 2011, stay tuned for!

Thursday, December 30, 2010


When Snorg Tees said they would donate t-shirts to my blog, this one was a must have. What better way to change my label from Star Wars dork to Star Wars dork with a basic knowledge of physics?

This is the 15th Star Wars-related t-shirt that I’ve worn this year. For a list of the others you can check out this Empire Strikes Back t-shirt that I designed.

I do love the original Star Wars movies. I even started a Facebook page (Dear Mr. Lucas, please make a Star Wars Theme Park) because I think going to a Star Wars them park would be amazing…can you imagine walking past a life-sized AT-AT? But then I heard they were releasing the Star Wars movies in 3D. I think I might enjoy watching the originals in 3D, but I refuse to give any more money to George Lucas by seeing these movies in the theatre again.

How many more times does he have to “re-imagine” these great flicks? How important is trying to climb that all-time box office gross list? How much money does Lucas need to make from people going to see these movies? So, I started another Facebook page. This one is called “Lucas should donate Star Wars 3D profits to charity”.

George Lucas is worth $3.5 billion according to Forbes. Come on, Mr. Lucas, I think you can do something good with the future 3D release of the Star Wars movies. Tell me all the profits are going to charity, and I will gladly give my money to see them again. May the Force be with us all…


Off to Carl's for some end-of-the-year video game hockey!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

T-shirt #363: Etnies Ryan Sheckler Autograph (#3)

One thing is for sure: I couldn’t have started or finished this blog without help from other people. My friend Glen gave me the MacBook I have been posting these daily entries on, and my sister Megan gave me the idea to start it.

During the summer when I figured out I wasn’t going to have enough t-shirts to complete 2010 wearing a different t-shirt each day, more people helped me make sure I did.

My family and friends helped, which wasn’t much of a surprise. A few Hope Lodge guests were happy to pitch in and help the Lodge.

Then, people I didn’t expect started helping out. Website after website said they would donate.,,,,,,, (out of England!),,,,,,,, and all donated t-shirts.

Facebook friends I hadn’t seen since grade school and others I had never met in person sent me shirts.

Then, a brother of one of my Facebook friends said he would donate Etnies t-shirts autographed by Ryan Sheckler. Even though all of the website donations were unbelievable to me, this Etnies donation really blew me away.

I really can’t thank everyone for all of their support for this blog enough. You all made it possible, and you all are helping Hope Lodge. Thank you again to my family, friends, and all the websites and businesses that donated t-shirts to me. And thank you especially today to Christi and Robert Brink, Etnies, and Ryan Sheckler!

You can see this t-shirt listed on Ebay here:

And for more info on Etnies and Ryan Sheckler:


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

T-shirt #362: Hockey Night in Canada

First of all, thanks to my awesome mom for getting me this t-shirt! (I don’t think they sell it anymore, but you can see others here:

This is me standing near the “Bruins Corner” in my parents’ house. Do your parents have a Bruins Corner? I didn’t think so. Oh, they do? Does it have a picture your father took of the last goal scored at the Boston Garden autographed by the player (Adam Oates) that scored it? This one does. Pretty cool, I know. I’ve mentioned it before and I say it again proudly: I am from a hockey family…

Yes, we McGraths love our hockey and we love our Boston Bruins. Even though I wasn’t there, I’m sure both of my parents (and perhaps my sisters) were yelling with joy after Mark Recchi scored the game winner with less than 20 seconds left. We don’t hold back when it comes to our beloved B’s.

Even though most of my career BWMs (Bruins Watching Minutes) have taken place at my parents’ house with family, many of my career HPMs (Hockey Playing Minutes) have been with people outside my family. Even though I never played in organized leagues growing up, I loved to play and I played as often as I could. I think my junior year in high school I played pond hockey 2-3 times a week from December through the end of February. And I would venture to say that 95% of those times, I was playing with one of my best friends, Andy.

Even though our “Pond Hockey Days in Massachusetts” weren’t going to get us scholarships to BC or Harvard, they were always great times (okay, there were a couple of times Andy had to break up "chippiness" between me and a Grafton kid) and they were a big part of starting what I know is a lifetime friendship. And I bring up Andy today because it was one of the rare days of the year that I actually got to hang out with him. I wish it could be more, but I take what I can get…

Andy was #2 in our high school class. He wasn’t #1 because that guy had one more A+ than him. I personally think Andy would have made a much better Valedictorian (he not only got A’s, he rowed crew, ran track, could play guitar, and was (dammit) better than me at hockey!). So, he’s “wicked smaht”. He went to Harvard, got his PhD at Harvard, and is now a professor of anthropology at the University of California. Oh yeah, he also published this book:

But Andy is not a brainiac with no social skills. The guy is hilarious, witty, and one of the few who laugh with me when others might shake their heads and think “well at least he’s entertaining himself…” He’s also one of the kindest people you will ever meet. He supported me through my cancer and struggles with drinking, and is always there for me if I need someone to talk to. Definitely someone I’m lucky to have in my corner.

That’s the great news. The not so great news is that I only get to see Andy about once a year. His schedule only allows him to come back to Massachusetts during the holidays, and for most of that time (understandably) he is with his family. I have visions of the day I can afford to fly out to California (or Oregon to see my friend Glen) on a weekend whim, but for now those are just daydreams. And I’m not one to harp on the negative.

I hung out with Andy today, and it was great (as always). I love the guy like a brother, and cherish every minute we get to see each other. We saw Tron today, and one of the themes of the movie was trying to create the “perfect world”. My vision of a perfect world has many things, and one of them is enough hockey rinks so you can play anytime anywhere. The other is a world where I get to see my close friends more often (and yes, play hockey with some of them!). No matter what world I live in, I know I’ll have Andy as a close friend. For that I am very thankful, no matter how many times I get to see him. Love you, man!

Monday, December 27, 2010

T-shirt #361: Employee of the Month

This shirt is one of many that my wonderful sister Carolyn got for me…thanks, Ca!

Although I have never been honored as Employee of the Month at any of my jobs, I did get the “Staff Star” a couple of times when I was the lead teacher of a residential program.

At Hope Lodge there are only two fulltime employees, so I like to think that my boss and I swap this title every other month.

Even though I have never officially been an employee of the month, here are some tips that might get you that title someday:

  1. Get to work on time every day – if this is a problem it means you don’t know how to use an alarm clock. If you keep hitting snooze, put the alarm clock on the other side of your bedroom.
  2. Don’t leave work at the earliest time you are allowed to (I admit, I did do this a lot when I was a teacher).
  3. Bring in cookies or other treats for your supervisor and co-workers – rule of thumb: the “chocolatier”, the better
  4. Be nicer than usual to anyone you think wants to be your enemy – if you throw negativity back in their face, it almost always comes back to haunt you
  5. Don’t come up with lame excuses as to why you can’t cover for someone – supervisors should remember this stuff
  6. If you are really sick, STAY HOME – getting other people sick will not help the workplace
  7. Don’t complain about work when you are at work: Be happy you have a job in the first place and if you need to vent about it, do it elsewhere (NOT on Facebook!)
  8. Be honest – Only take on more responsibilities if you think there’s room on your workplate for them
  9. If you’re in a meeting, it’s much better to bring up good ideas than to keep looking at your watch
  10. Unless you are a rock star, professional athlete, or other celebrity – do NOT let your sex tape get into the wrong hands!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

T-shirt #359: IRISH STUD

I will make no statements as to whether or not what this t-shirt claims is true. That’s for everyone else to judge…

But, here is a list of the Top Ten Things That Make Being Irish The Best:

  1. Drinking – whether you want to drink a lot or drink none at all, Irish heritage is a great excuse
  2. Music and step dancing – Along with the drinking goes traditional music, sessions, and dancing. Irish people know how to party!
  3. Irish writers – The list is long but includes James Joyce, Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, William Yeats, Oscar Wilde, and Jonathan Swift.
  4. St. Patrick’s Day – Yup, we have our own holiday.
  5. John F. Kennedy – We proudly claim one of the best presidents of the US.
  6. Irish sayings and blessings – Here are a few of my favorites: “May you be in heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.”, “May you live to be 100 years, with one extra year to repent.”, “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction.”
  7. Sunblock – Being able to brag about how high your SPF is: I want to come out with my own line of sunblock that just says “Irish” on it.
  8. Potatoes and stew – Even though Ireland isn’t known for it’s wonderful cuisine, I will never get tired of eating potatoes and beef stew
  9. Humor – Have you met an Irish person with no sense of humor? I don’t think I have.
  10. Family – Even though everyone may not agree on everything and there may be that “crazy relative” you always worry about Irish families tend to love each other no matter what.
  11. (Our list goes to 11) Irish names are better – Liam, Conor, Brendan, Patrick, Colin, Colleen, Shannon, Maura, Cailin, Kiara, etc., etc.

PS- This shirt was donated (thanks, Mrs. T!) so I’m not sure where it’s from, but I found it here:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

T-shirt #358: Holy Bible, TLDNR

If you don’t know, TLDNR stands for “Too long, did not read”. Luckily, I know God has a sense of humor. And He also knows that, thanks to my St. John’s ( education, I have read the Bible. I may not be able to quote chapters and verses, but I do remember (what I think is) the main message…

I love Christmas, but I can’t honestly say that I believe Jesus was God in human form. I do think that it’s amazing that after 2,000 years people are still talking about and worshiping the son of a carpenter. And I think Jesus’ message was great and simple. He wanted people to love each other. Like I wrote for my “Coexist” t-shirt (, he preached the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. But I see many “Christians” not doing that. I see them preaching hate. I see them excluding others. I don’t see them acting like Jesus. I wouldn’t be surprised if some Christians said this t-shirt was sacrilegious. But like many religious groups, it’s the extremists that you hear about. Not all Christians are hateful excluders just like not all Muslims believe “jihad” gives them the right to kill non-believers.

What I don’t understand is why the loving/understanding/peacefulness of Christmas can’t be applied to the other 364 days of the year. Little acts of kindness, generosity to strangers, and Love can happen every day of the year. If everyone lived by the Golden Rule every day, it could be like Christmas all year long.

People decide to fight and be selfish. Religious zealots choose to take their beliefs and turn them into hate, war, and exclusion. Leaders have not figured out a way to live in peace. We are not taking care of our earth home or our family of humankind.

To me, Christmas is not a religious holiday. I go to church, but it’s more for my mother than for God. I do believe in God, but my God doesn’t care what you call Him or who/what you think is divine. My God just wants (like Jesus) everyone to get along and take care of each other. My God wants no one left behind. My God doesn’t like people using His name for hateful acts. My God does want people to act like it’s Christmas every day, but doesn’t care if it’s December 25th or June 25th or a religious holiday.

To me, the real Christmas and Christian thing to do is very simple. Love, and do it all year long. You certainly don’t need the Bible to do that…

PS- thanks to Busted Tees ( for donating this shirt!

Friday, December 24, 2010

T-shirt #357: Santa Costume

If this isn’t the perfect t-shirt to wear on Christmas Eve, I don’t know what is. And in the true spirit of Santa and Christmas, I am in the giving mood today.

I have written often in this blog about how I can’t stand greed and how meaningless material possessions are. Well, I can’t really write that unless I do something to back it up. These t-shirts are a nice start, but I am putting most of the rest of my belongings up for one big auction to benefit Hope Lodge. I don’t even know if I will get any bids, but you never know. Please forward it to anyone you know that might be interested!

Here’s the Ebay listing for "All my stuff to benefit Hope Lodge":

And the video that goes with it:

I am so thankful to be happy and healthy on Christmas, and to be surrounded by people that I love. Thank you to all my family and friends who have supported me, supported this blog, and made me realize that the most important thing in life is the people you have in it and not the amount of “things” you have.

Merry Christmas, may there be peace on earth!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

T-shirt #357: Charlie Brown (with Christmas tree)

When I got this one from 6 Dollar Shirts (, this summer, I knew today would be the perfect day to wear it. It’s “Eve Eve” afterall! Oh? You’re not familiar with that phrase? Well, let me tell you a little more about some McGrath Christmas traditions…

Back sometimes in the 80s, my brothers and I thought it would be fun to celebrate Christmas by lip-syncing our favorite songs on “Christmas Eve Eve”. Back then that meant Ratt, Poison, Cinderella, Bryan Adams, Twisted Sister, and Motley Crue. My brother Tom and I made guitars with poster paper and a wood neck, careful to draw all six strings and fill the body with cool colors and things like “Eve Eve ‘85”. Older brother Jon was in charge of the audio and lighting. In the earlier years that meant changing cassettes quickly, using flashlights as spotlights, and turning the room lights on and off quickly for a strobe light effect. As technology and our budget increased over the years we graduated to making mix tapes, getting a real strobe light, and using a multi-colored flashlight.

It didn’t take long for everyone to take their seats at the concert venue, which was one of our bedrooms. The capacity crowd was usually just the two McGrath sisters, and a few years our cousins the O’Neills managed to scalp a couple of tickets outside.

Of all the years we did an “Eve Eve” Concert, a few memorable moments come to mind. One was the year Tom was the lead lip-syncer for Twisted Sister’s song “The Price”. Not far into the song, Tom forgot the words and made a quick decision to face away from the crowd for any lyrics that weren’t the chorus. Another year, one of our neighbors (Scott O’?) came over during the show – I think he just needed a cup of sugar. Apparently my father thought we were playing the music way too loud with company over. He opened the door in the middle of a song (Ratt “You’re In Love” is very likely), and told us we had to “Keep it down, we have company!” Yet another time, I had picked up a Stryper tape that had their version of “Winter Wonderland” on it. During the performance, my brother Tom and I threw out candy canes to our adoring fans.

All I can say now is I wished we had pictures and videos of these Eve Eve concerts.

After years of thinking we were “too old” for these concerts, my brother Jon started another pre-Christmas tradition. He and his wife Jen started having people over to watch the Christmas cartoon specials. I believe the first time was right after they got married 15 years ago, back at their apartment. Back then it was a little more casual – come hang out and we’ll watch a few Christmas movies. Since, there have been themes (come dressed in your PJs), trivia contests (these stopped after I kept winning), and door prizes.

Now, in addition to having 3 more McGraths running around, there is a whole voting process for which Christmas specials we watch. My brother Jon hands out paper and pens and collects all of the secret ballots. Each title (or quote or reference) is read and tallied to figure out the winner. Occasionally there is a tie and we must vote again, but with only two special to choose from. And you never know what will win. Two years ago, the He-Man Christmas special won a round. Shrek the Halls has won a couple of times. The Grinch usually gets in every year, while Charlie Brown sometimes gets the shaft. And I don’t think Frosty or Santa Claus is Coming to Town have been viwed in quite a while (There are a few more “adult” things we watch after the kids go to bed like SNL skits or the very homo-suggestive Happy Holidays with Bing and Frank ( – always a riot).

Which brings me to the other part of Eve Eve: lobbying. Before each vote, anyone can address the room to try and pull for which cartoon they would like to watch next. I’m hoping my get-up will have us all singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” at some point tonight. This year, there were even emails sent out from “Frosty” to try and build up support for a Frosty viewing this year. Whatever we vote to watch, it’s always a great time!

I must also mention probably the funniest Eve Eve moment. It happened last year while we were playing a round of Holiday Mad Libs. My sister Megan was writing in the words, and it came to my nephew who was thinking of a plural noun. He was thinking and thinking some more. Then someone told him to just say the first thing that came to his mind. He yelled out “Vaginas!” and everyone in the room burst out laughing for about 10 minutes – especially my friend Glen and his wife Krissy who were at their first “Eve Eve” celebration.

December 23rd is definitely a day and night I look forward to every year. It reminds me of the time when things (like Christmas cartoons or the Wizard of Oz) were only on once a year. You had to plan around it and if you missed it, you had to wait until next year – it was more special that way. Eve Eve is a very special time to me. It’s time I spend with people I love the most and is always a laugh-fest. Looking forward to another great Eve Eve tonight, and many more to come!

And thanks to JB for use of the tree!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Even though A Christmas Story is a classic, Christmas Vacation is my favorite Christmas movie (The Ref comes in second place).

Thanks to my brother Jon and his family for donating this (and many of the others) t-shirt to the blog!

Like A Christmas Story, it is hard to narrow down Christmas Vaction to my favorite parts. I wanted to include the Clark Griswold “flipout” scene, but I guess there are copyright issues with having the audio online. Every clip I found of it had no sound. Here’s the quote:

“Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I'd like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where's the Tylenol?” –Clark Griswold

Below are a few other great moments from the movie – another one I highly recommend seeing Christmas Vacation if you haven’t yet.

Although the McGraths never had a SWAT team come busting into the house during the holidays, we have had our share of Griswold-like moments over the years. We did have adventures picking out our yearly family Christmas tree –but my father never got caught underneath a truck as we drove there. I did “help” my dad cut the tree down the year my younger sister Megan was born. Yes, I was not even six at the time, but I definitely held the tree as my dad cut it down.

Most of the drama during the holidays in out house usually revolved around taking the yearly Christmas card picture. This was the during the pre-digital age, so we had to deal with two things: One, the limited number of film rolls my dad had. Two, that we didn’t see what the pictures looked like until after they had been sent in for developing (1 hour photos existed, but were much more of a luxury back then). That, and there were also 5 kids who all had to have something resembling a genuine smile on his/her face at the same instant. Each year, there was usually one of us who stormed out of the room upset over something (I’m betting if we could look back at the footage I would lead the McGrath League in Christmas Photo Walk-Outs). But, we did get the picture done every year – even if my father had to resort to desperate measures like the one year he mooned us. What can I say, it worked!

The McGraths did have almost an exact replay of a Griswold family moment, although it was from the original Vacation movie. We planned a trip to Williamsburg, VA and the highlight I was looking forward to the most was checking out Busch Gardens. But when we got there, we found out the park was closed. Luckily, my father didn’t go out and buy a BB gun to force a park employee to take us on the rides. We opted for attraction number 2, Colonial Williamsburg, and had a really good time (but those roller coasters would have been sweet, I’m sure!).

We did have and have our own Christmas traditions , but I will write more about those tomorrow…

“We're gonna have the hap hap happiest christmas since Bing Crosby tapdanced with Danny fucking Kaye!” – Clark Griswold

For more info:

And The Ref on imdb:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

T-shirt #355: I SHOT MY EYE OUT! (A Christmas Story, Ralphie)

No doubt about it. As far as Christmas movies go, A Christmas story ( is a classic. There are so many funny scenes and funny lines; this blog simply can’t cover them all. If you haven’t seen it, take the time – it’s worth it. And don’t wait until the TBS 24-hour marathon; it’s much better if you watch it from start to finish.

After some IMDBing, I found out some things I didn’t know about Peter Billingsley, who played the lead role of Ralphie (from

  1. He appeared in episodes of Little House on the Prairie, Who’s the Boss, Highway to Heaven, Punky Brewster, and The Wonder Years (which always reminds me of A Christmas Story)
  2. He was Co-Producer for the movies Made and Zathura: A Space Adventure
  3. He was Executive Producer for the movies The Break-Up, Iron Man, and Four Christmases
  4. He directed the movie Couples Retreat

The one thing I did know about him was that he was “Messy Marvin” from the Hershey’s Syrup commercials:

I also found a story about a Christmas Story Reunion:

I never wanted a BB gun for Christmas. For me, as a budding Star Wars dork, the Holy Grail of Christmas presents was the Death Star Playset. Then one year, I got it. Although it didn’t shoot my eye out, you can see my disappointment after my attempts to show my Death Star to my brother Jon fall short.

About ten years ago we were watching all the movies my father took of all the McGrath kids every Christmas morning. My sister Carolyn noticed all the Star Wars presents I got when I was a kid and said, “It’s 20 years later Dave, and you’re still getting the same things for Christmas!” Correction Ca, it’s now 30 years…

Looking forward to another awesome, laugh-filled Christmas with my family!

Oh, and I had to include at least one clip from the movie…

Monday, December 20, 2010

T-shirt #354: Smile if you love someone with Crohn's Disease

It was 22 years ago today (you can see on the page I opened to in my medical record binder). I was having pain on my right side that was so intense I couldn’t stand up straight. I had been having symptoms for a while, but at 14, I guess I didn’t want anyone to think I was a “wimp”. After one doctor visit, I was still lying down and not able to eat much. My neighbor, Dr. Thomas (a.k.a. Dr. Bob), came up for a much needed 2nd opinion. After examining me, he thought my appendix was about to burst and said I should go to the ER that night. So, on December 20, 1988, my parents took me to the emergency room at UMass…

My side seemed to hurt more with each bump we went over on the ride to the hospital. Thanks to Dr. Bob’s assurance that the surgery was a “routine one”, I wasn’t scared. I really just wanted the pain to stop. I toughed it out for the Westboro to Worcester trek, and we made it to UMass.

The last thing I remember was the nurse putting something into my IV and asking if that’s what was going to make me go to sleep. It did, but what was supposed to be a 45-minute appendectomy turned out to be a lot more. In the middle of the surgery the doctors let my parents know it wasn’t my appendix, and would end up working on me for over 4 hours. The surgeons found holes in my bowels and removed 1 ½ feet of my small and large intestines. Although I wouldn’t get an official diagnosis until after I woke up, they had discovered my Crohn’s Disease.

I remember waking up after my surgery and seeing my parents who had been waiting for me. I couldn’t talk because there was a tube down my throat, but I successfully mimed to my mother for her to put the head of my bed up. Later, a priest from St. Luke’s arrived to see how I was doing. I immediately grabbed my religious medals (which had been taped to my wrists), and he performed the anointing of the sick on me.

My parents finally got to go home and let the rest of the family know what was going on (this was long before cell phones). When my mother told my sister Carolyn what was going on, her choice of words put some fear into my sister. She told her “Dave’s probably not going to make it home for Christmas”, but Carolyn was holding her breath after hearing “Dave’s not going to make it…”.

I don’t remember much of the next day. I was in the intensive care unit and remember seeing the Bruins game out of the corner of my eye at one point (they beat the Whalers 4-3: Yes, I was too out of it to even watch hockey!

When I was ready for company, my whole family came to visit me and surrounded me with love and humor. I remember the stitches from my surgery hurting a lot when my brother Jon made me laugh – he made some joke about the doctors taking out my intestines and wondering how many farts had passed through them. I whispered to my mom about the kid across from me who was always whining about how much pain he was in. She looked at him and said, “Well he must not be a “Bruin” like you are…”. My younger sister Megan was concerned about what Santa was going to do on Christmas Eve – would he bring my presents to the hospital or the house? My aunt and uncle also stopped by to say hello, and left me a copy of Hoosiers to watch (Although I didn’t realize it at the time, it was the first of many times I would use movie viewing as a way to help myself through a sickness).

I wasn’t too excited to be in the hospital on Christmas, but having my family there helped a lot. They brought all the presents Santa had left for me, which made me temporarily forget where I was. My brother Tom gave me a Ray Bourque rookie card, which I have cherished to this day. My brother Jon gave me a copy of Guns N’ Roses GNR Lies and told me to make sure I didn’t “leave it around for anyone to look at” (there were very explicit pictures and words inside). The presents were great, but being with my parents and siblings is what really made that Christmas as normal as it could be. And if my brother Jon promising he’d take me to see the Naked Gun movie as soon as I got out didn’t help speed up my healing, nothing would!

After 10 days of the doctors telling me Crohn’s was all about, being taken care of and appreciating nurses, and visits from my family and friends, I went home on New Year’s Eve. Our dog Murphy was so excited to see me, he ran right past me as I walked inside. I don’t even think I made it to midnight, but I didn’t care. I was home and I was okay. I wasn’t worried about having Crohn’s or thinking of what might happen to me health wise in the future. I was just happy.

Since that first hospitalization and diagnosis, I have dealt with the ups and downs of Crohn’s Disease. I have had good days and bad days. I have been on various medications with some working better than others (the initial Folic Acid and Sulfasalazine didn’t seem to make much of a difference). I became more aware of the prevalence of Crohn’s including the following year, when my father had NHLer and Crohnser Kevin Dineen sign a picture for me and wish me “healthy holidays”. I learned which foods sometimes made me “Crohnsy” and tried to avoid them or just took a chance and dealt with the consequences. I got used to doctors sticking their fingers in places that weren’t too enjoyable. I ran into people who were understanding and others that had no clue…

One person in particular, I could not believe. The year I was teaching in the public school system (I won’t mention the town, but it rhymes with “Shopkinton”), I started having some really bad Crohn’s symptoms. I was in a lot of pain, and knew I needed to see my doctor. After examining me, he ordered a GI scan (the fun one where you drink Barium) and told me what he thought was happening. He said the area where my surgery had connected my small and larger intestines was most likely scarring up and causing my bowels to back up. The test would show exactly how bad it was, and would let him know if I needed more surgery. When I relayed this to the principal of my school, she said “I’ve never heard of anyone needing surgery for Crohn’s…”. I said nothing to her then, but now I say I hope you’ve gotten an f’n clue.

Yes, some days are worse than others when it comes to Crohn’s. Stress doesn’t help and neither does Mexican food (but it’s so tasty!). I have cut down a lot on the caffeine intake and “just said no” to most vegetables – especially the green leafy ones! Some days are “many trips to the bathroom” days and some are “can’t get out of bed” days. I just take it day by day and remind myself that I am on the lucky side with this disease. There are many people who have Crohn’s that are in and out of the hospital all the time. Since my first hospitalization, I have only had to stay in the hospital one other time for my Crohn’s. That was in April of 2008 when I was having similar (but worse) symptoms to the whole “non-sympathetic principal fiasco”. That time after the doctor explained all the possibilities to me (including possible surgery) he asked me if I had any questions – I asked him if I was going to be able to watch the Bruins game that night. I was in the hospital less than a week, and didn’t need ay more surgery. Crohn’s does suck, but I have been very fortunate with how little it has affected my life.

When life gives you a chronic disease like Crohn’s, you have a choice. You can sit there and complain, moan, whine, and spread the misery it is causing you. Or you can take it in stride, get through the bad days, keep your humor, and remind yourself of the positives. I may have Crohn’s, but Crohn’s doesn’t have me. What I do have is an amazing support system made up of my awesome family and wonderful friends. And thanks to that Christmas in 1988, I know what really counts during the holidays…

PS- I got this shirt on Zazzle!

And My other Crohn’s shirt -

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Well, there are a couple more things that matter. But hockey is definitely towards the top of my list.

This is the 27th hockey-related t-shirt I have worn this year (see links below).

Thanks to my wonderful mom for donating this one (and many of the other 26 hockey t’s)!

So with all of these hockey t-shirts, I guess I should back it up with some words of support for hockey.

Here are my top ten reasons why hockey is the best sport on earth:

  1. You have to be highly skilled as a skater to even think about playing it.
  2. Every goal is huge – it could be a 1-0 game or a 6-5 game.
  3. If you’re good enough and/or fast enough, you can play at the NHL level and be only 5’5” (see Nate Gerbe, Brian Gionta).
  4. If someone on the other team is being an asshole you can fight them, take a 5 minute break, and return to the game.
  5. It has the best trophy – The Stanley Cup has all the players’ names that have ever won it, and the players who win each get it for a day.
  6. The sportsmanship – After every playoff series, the two teams line up and shake hands (and they mean it).
  7. Powerplays and penalty shots
  8. Sudden Death Overtime in the Playoffs – It’s better than any MLB, NBA, or NFL overtime playoff game and 99% of the time there’s no bad call, missed foul, or coin flip that affects the outcome.
  9. Toughness – Hockey players are the toughest professional athletes out there, period (I guess you could argue pro fighters/boxers are tougher, but they are fighting, it’s not a game).
  10. Can you imagine trying to get a group of people together at 9AM on Thanksgiving morning to play any other sport? We’re playing on Christmas Eve morning, too!

So, yeah, I love hockey. I love playing it, watching it, going to it, and video gaming it!

Here are my favorite hockey sites:

Hockey Fights Cancer:

And my hockey t’s: