Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I just got caught up with some reading, including Oakley's blog and her comments about missing her mom. She wrote about how the awareness of loss sneaks up on her and sometimes it politely allows her to continue to function and sometimes it holds her caught in a riptide until it's good and ready to let her get some air again.

Monday was Justin's mom's birthday. Sunday I spent the day working as a photographer in the sunrise morning, sleeping again, watching baseball and football with Justin in a local bar conveniently located next to Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria. Then I worked as a hostess and he hung out there for a while being my cup holder. Somewhere in there we made the birthday celebration plan and alternately felt the "wow, that's so weird that she's not here" hole burn a little further through the fabric of our lives.

Justin was supposed to go to the hospital to work on his anesthesia rotation yesterday, but we ended up spending his mom's birthday together. He picked me up from work around midnight, so we had a little leftover lamb stew picnic and talked for a while. I noted his scribbly approach to life that day (and a couple of days before, when everything was just bad and wrong by Justin-standards--to a point where listening to him talk was amusing) and asked if it "was because tomorrow is your mom's birthday?"

Riptide took him out.

So we spent our October 1 together. He slept in while I walked the dogs, and then he played SuperHusband and we whirlwind cleaned the apartment because our apartment manager was coming inside to check the fire and carbon-monoxide alarms in accordance with the law. In good form, he continued to take care of me by mapping out the places in San Ysidro and Diamond that I had to photograph but had trouble navigating, driving and shooting all at once on Sunday. Bless his heart, he acted like he liked it the whole time--he said he was happy and that we were on an adventure. We were--we were both in places we hadn't been before, we were exploring and we were together. We like together.

We tried to eat somewhere interesting, but the place called Magnolia's that has Southern Style food in Diamond was not open, so we ended up in a mall eating at Applebee's because he said, "it's like Chili's" which is a place where he and Toni used to eat together. Then, we shopped at the Gap Outlet in San Ysidro because he "needs some hip clothes to go out in" now that he's "rolling in these circles" of medical education. Of course, I can't go into the Gap Outlet without buying articles of clothing that I know fit, are comfy and cost less than $20 each (mostly single digits, actually). Justin insisted. Plus he was involved in shopping. Plus he didn't mind all my photography. Plus I got to show him what I do.

By the end of the day he was spent. So was I. I was thrilled to show him that photography is actually a lot of work; that the creative thinking, the constant movement and searching and the physical contorting it requires is at once invigorating and exhausting.

Still though, we went to watch the baseball game--innings 1-9--at Oggi's and then because we were so sleepy we listened to the rest on the radio on the way home. We were so sleepy. The game went beyond the tenth inning. We love the Padre's, so we listened on the bedroom clock radio because we have a sort of vintage home. One or the other of us kept nodding off and then waking the other up with our exuberant celebration of hits and runs or dismay at lost opportunities. They lost in the 13th inning--with Trevor Hoffman Hell's Bells at the mound!

A very disappointing San Diego sports week indeed.

Still, tomorrow there's major baseball to be watched. The Angel's are playing Boston and there's two other games too. I need some Angel-wear because they are my first baseball love. Then, if things go badly for them or Boston I can wear the Red Sox cap Diana gave me. Til then, go Packer's! (I know, football, Farve, different sport.... and yippee Chargers....) sleepy kid... check out the time stamp!

San Diego faithful stunned by 13th-inning collapse

October 2, 2007

They came by bicycle and trolley, in strollers and using wheelchairs, arranging their blankets and beach chairs on the grass to watch the biggest game of the year with a bunch of other true baseball lovers.

The idea was to gather at the ball yard, united as Friar fanatics, and somehow – through a collective act of sheer will – pull their beloved Padres into the postseason from 800 miles away.

K.C. ALFRED / Union-Tribune
A dejected Trevor Hoffman walked off the mound after the Colorado Rockies rallied to defeat the Padres in the 13th inning of last night's one-game tiebreaker at Coors Field in Denver.
It almost worked.

A few hundred Padres fans gathered last night at the Park at the Park to watch the do-or-die playoff with the Colorado Rockies on the giant TV screen beyond center field at Petco Park. The game had a season's worth of heart-stopping moments before all hope was finally dashed.

The fans groaned together when the Padres fell behind early and joyously slapped palms when a grand slam put San Diego ahead. They chewed their fingernails well into cuticle country as the teams traded one tense scoring chance after another, like heavyweights battling beyond exhaustion.

Then San Diego seemed to have it won in the top of the 13th, when a home run by late-season sub Scott Hairston followed a walk to Brian Giles and bedlam broke loose with 400 fans doing their best to sound like 40,000.

An interminable 6-6 tie had turned into a two-run Padres advantage.

Moments later, the big screen featured the familiar fiery footage, and “Hells Bells” blared from the sound system. But master closer Trevor Hoffman didn't have it; he surrendered three runs and the season ended in a typically tense and frustrating fashion.

SEAN M. HAFFEY / Union-Tribune
The Padres' loss in 13 innings reduced San Diego fans to tears last night at Petco Park's Park at the Park.
Final score: Rockies 9, Padres 8.

But for most, the unexpected festival was worth it.

“We came down here tonight to be with the real fans,” said Teresa Gersch. She and her husband, Conrad Grayson of Spring Valley, huddled in a blanket against the night chill as one relief pitcher after another – for both teams – shut down hitter after hitter.

“Win or lose, we just wanted to be out here for the party,” she said.

The game went on longer than many anticipated. It was an extra ballgame, so why shouldn't it go into extra innings?

Elisabeth and Joseph Dilella rode their bicycles to the ballpark from their home in Point Loma.

At times Joseph, a native San Diegan who's been a Padres devotee since the team entered the big leagues in 1969, paced with his head down, unable to watch the high drama on the big screen.

“Sure, we could have watched it at home, but we'd rather be out here,” he said. “It's just a lot more fun being out with the crowd.”

Elisabeth said her husband had already bought tickets for Padres games right through the World Series. And until the bottom of the 13th, he truly believed he was going to get a chance to use them all.

SEAN M. HAFFEY / Union-Tribune
Fans at Petco Park's Park at the Park cheered early after Padres first baseman Andrian Gonzales hit a grand slam in the third inning yesterday against the Rockies. Unfortunately, Colorado rallied to win the NL wild card.
When the Rockies smacked back-to-back hits toward the outfield and it was Colorado fans' turn to leap and scream, the Dilellas reacted the same as everyone else – like someone had just told them of a death in the family.

“Boy, did it ever get quiet all of a sudden here,” Elisabeth said.

Things seemed so promising at game time, when the late-afternoon sun kindled anticipation among everyone, from retirees lounging on the grass to kids running around the park's sandlot field.

“We were coming out here for Rally Monday anyway, figuring the Padres would have already clinched (a postseason berth),” said Ellis Whitcomb of La Mesa. “So it was pretty easy to shift into game mode.”

Whitcomb and his sister, Sheryl Whitcomb, went to all 81 Padres home games. No way were they going to miss the planned party to usher in the postseason. Having a game to watch made it all the better.

“It's been a good season,” Ellis said, his voice heavy with the realization that this was the end. “They certainly proved they are one of the best teams in baseball, and we had a lot of fun watching them.”

For some fans, it was a last chance to spend $8.50 for a beer and $4.25 for a soda – no discounts for televised action instead of the real thing.

But most simply were glued to what was transpiring on the screen, oblivious to the sea of empty blue seats beyond. When a Padres fielder made a nice play or was taken out for a substitute, the viewers applauded as if it were happening on the field before them.

When the Rockies pushed across the winning run on an excruciatingly close play at home in the bottom of the 13th, they hung their heads, collected their things and shuffled off slowly into the night.

The wait for next year had suddenly begun.

“Aw, geez,” said Joseph Dilella when the end arrived. “Well, so much for a playoff run. This was our playoff game, and it was really a pretty good one.”

His wife was similarly sanguine.

“At least,” she said, “we got a good bike ride out of it.”

1 comment:

oakmonster said...

When my mom's birthday comes around in November, at least I get to hide behind the fact that it would be the 100th day after her death which I have to go to the temple and do all the religious stuff for her. It wouldn't be an ordinary day.

This is when established religion kind of come in handy, I guess, as I will be going to the temple for her twice a year on the day of her death and birth, so we wouldn't be just having an ordinary day.