Random n’at

1. Yesterday I got my first real new hearing aids in more years than I care to admit. So long, in fact, that they don’t even make hearing aids like I used to wear anymore.

I’m now sporting top-of-the-line digital hearing aids and let me tell you, I’d like all the things to shut up.

I need to get used to hearing the beeps when my car starts, the fan inside my computer, the neighbor’s barking dog that is INSIDE HIS HOUSE, random bumps in the night, the sounds of Mario Kart coming from my son’s DSi, the sound my thighs make when my jean legs rub together, the hum of the fridge, THE WIND.

Whew. How do you live with all that NOISE, humans?!

That said, I am loving actually feeling like I can take part in a conversation again. I’m a new woman with Bluetooth hearing-aids and that means if you call my cell phone, it will sound like you’re standing in my head talking to me.

I love technology.

I hate the sound my dog’s nose makes.

2. Not that I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’d do if someone tried to smother me with a pillow, but every time I DO think about it, this is EXACTLY WHAT I SAY I WILL DO.

Get out of my brain, Internet.

3. Sorry to be so BASEBALL right now, especially in light of the amazing run the Pens are having, but I just want to say that I love Clint Hurdle and I love Jim Leyland, who you can still see hanging around PNC Park on occasion:

Before accepting the Pirates’ managing offer two Novembers ago, Clint Hurdle called Jim Leyland. He sought some advice, and the old skipper came back with one slice above all.

“You need to think about living there,” Leyland told Hurdle.

Pittsburgh, Leyland meant.

“Already have,” Hurdle remembered replying. “Jim, one of my leadership bullets is that I’m going to live where I’m going to lead. I want the people to know this isn’t just a summer gig for me. I’m going to get involved in the community.”

Even he couldn’t have imagined how involved.

Forget the certificate that shows Hurdle being born in Big Rapids, Mich. This man has become pure Pittsburgh, as much as Bill Cowher, the cheese lady at Penn Mac or the Ice Ball Man.

Oh, and Leyland, too.

Leyland was born in Perrysburg, Ohio, but you’ll never find anyone more Pittsburgh than the straight-shooting, chain-smoking, heart-on-his-sleeve manager of the Detroit Tigers. He still lives in Mt. Lebanon.

But my question is this. ICE BALL MAN?!


And this:

“Be a part of Pittsburgh,” he said. “Every one of them, to a man, told me that. Just like Leyland. And I’m happy to tell you they were right.”


4. Oh my God. Saddest thing ever:

WORTH TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A 58-year-old man died Thursday after trying to remove life support equipment needed by his stepson’s 18-month-old son from a fire that has since been ruled arson, police said.

No words.

5. Sid is back, as is Sexhair, and I gotta tell you, we had a party. A literal party at my sister Pens Fan’s house like it was Super Bowl Sunday and the Steelers were playing. A smorgasbord of foodstuffs, wine, and fun. And I spent the whole game, right up until the last second ticked away, absolutely terrified for Sid and his battered brain.

That feeling will go away soon, right?

P.S. Pissed-off Rangers fans may be my favorite fans ever. I saw a few New Yorkers on the precipice of catastrophic heart events last night.

6. The Mario Lemieux Foundation tells me that games donated via the Amazon Wish List are starting to arrive in their offices and that my readers are “awesome.” True story.

They sent me a picture!

I also wanted to let you know that if you have XBOX 360 games that you no longer play, that are in good condition, and that are rated E or E10+ or C, you can donate those to the Lemieux Foundation too! Just send them to the attention of Nancy Angus, 816 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 and we’ll take care of getting them delivered!

Also, be sure to check the Wish List if you haven’t yet donated to the effort and want to be a part of something special!

7. The Pittsburgh Home and Garden Show is planning to enforce exclusivity rules for 2013, meaning their exhibitors have to agree not to sell at any other event anywhere for the whole year.  I imagine this is going to go down as smoothly as a caterpillar trying to swallow a keyboard.

Good luck with that!

8. Pittsburgh Dad — The Parking Chair episode!

YouTube Preview Image

Also, I have in my possession a wedding photo submission that includes parking chairs. Can’t wait for the next post in that series.

If you have wedding pictures showing how you incorporated your Burgh love into the ceremony or reception, send ’em my way! virginia [at] thatschurch.com!

9. I’m off to investigate a new mysterious noise I’m hearing now with these powerful bionic hearing aids. If it’s a centipede burping, I quit.


  1. red pen mama
    March 16, 2012 1:51 pm

    6. Wow, that was fast. ;)

    Re: hearing aids. my mother has been slowly losing her hearing for about 10 years now. She tried hearing aids, but she feels like you, that the world suddenly is WAY TOO LOUD. I hope she reconsiders, but I would understand if she doesn’t. I just feel bad yelling at her when we’re talking, because, ya know, she’s my mom.

    • red pen mama
      March 16, 2012 1:56 pm

      Also: re: Sid (and Letang for that matter). I am pretending they were never hurt. Less fear and tension that way. It’s not rational, no, but honestly I can’t watch otherwise.

    • Aileen
      March 16, 2012 5:22 pm


      My father-in-law needed hearing aids for years – I think when he was putting the television volume on close 30, that there was a family mutiny. So, he went up to UPMC (n ‘at) and got his fancy hearing aids. They worked alright. He said that every time he flushed the commode, it sounded like he was at Niagara Falls.

  2. Katie
    March 16, 2012 2:31 pm

    The “ice ball man” is Gus from Gus and Yiayia’s, “on the Northside since your dad was a lad”. He’s in West Park next to the tennis courts. Best popcorn around!

    • Pensgirl
      March 16, 2012 10:19 pm

      I never heard anyone refer to him as the ice ball man, but figured it HAD to be Gus and Yia Yias (who were such a fundamental part of my childhood that I have a painting of the cart hanging in my house). There just wasn’t any other option!

    • bucdaddy
      March 17, 2012 12:35 am

      I’ve seen that guy. I have a friend lives in Allegheny West, and sometimes I go to his house and we walk through the park to the ballgame, and my friend always stops and buys peanuts.

      How is it I live in Morgantown and I know this guy and PittGirl doesn’t?

  3. Jill
    March 16, 2012 2:48 pm

    Not “ice ball man” — “icy ball man.”

    Ginny, seriously, you don’t know of him?


  4. Cassie
    March 16, 2012 3:44 pm

    4 – OMG how awful.

  5. ketchup is a veggie
    March 16, 2012 3:44 pm

    I prefer to think Sid has been healed stronger somehow. Like a superhero. Maybe the six million dollar man or one of the x-men. I know one of them had something like that happen. My hubs and boys talk about it. I just sort of pay attention to them. But that’s what happened to Sid. That’s why he’s been in Mario’s basement. It has magical powers. Look how well he healed after he was sick.

    • DG
      March 16, 2012 9:18 pm

      THIS is the best explanation of what has happened to Sid that I think I have ever read. I believe. Magic basement, all the way!

  6. Brett
    March 16, 2012 5:12 pm

    Re: Rangers fans: The “red-faced boisterous” man in the front row sitting up the Rangers end in the first period was the best example. When Nealer did what he was supposed to do and um, check an opposing player he went berserk, I noticed that security had to usher him back to his chair. I swear he was on the verge of a coronary event, perhaps he should take a page from the Pens Knitting Lady’s book, and find something to occupy him during games to help him calm down, Crocheting perhaps?

    What an effort by Tanger, a +5 and 24+ minutes on the ice, my Wife was happy to see his “hairodynamic” sexhair out on the ice. I know it was slated as Sid’s return, but it was great to see both of them back, and to see both of them putting in all they did for the team and the game. I still have recollections of Sid sliding across the corner of the blue paint trying to make a goal going head first for the boards, great effort, although you don’t want to see someone heading for the boards head first!

  7. LuAnn
    March 16, 2012 5:26 pm

    I thought everyone knew about Gus Kalaris, especially since he has been a fixture for decades! I remember him from when I was a kid, and I am glad you can still get shaved ice balls by the tennis courts.

  8. BeckyS
    March 16, 2012 6:23 pm

    I hope you hear many more thank yous with your new hearing aids. You certainly deserve it. Thanks for all you do for the kids! A couple of games are on their way (had to wait for payday!!). Welcome back to the Kid and Tanger, the sun is shining brighter in the Burgh!

  9. Christina
    March 16, 2012 7:08 pm

    Hearing: Yes, we basically live with all that noise and quite a lot of it is very, very annoying. I am working in a bigger office space with lots of people who are on the phone all day. Sometimes I am very ready to kill.

    But I love what BeckyS just said, because she is right.

    Sid & Kris:
    OMG …. I was yelling SSSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHTTTTTTTTTTTOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPP at the screen every time Sid skated like Sid skates aka fast like fire towards something (people, boards, caves). This really needs to stop. Thank god he seems to be less traumatized than I am.

    And Sexhair … oh boy … how much I missed him and cried in my #58 jersey. When he crossed 15 minutes ice time I was getting the oxygen tank ready, but he did not need it because he is a super hero. He really is.

  10. Steelertom
    March 16, 2012 7:45 pm

    I got my 1st set of bionic ears a year & 1/2 ago.(my loss is a byproduct of 30+years of USAF avation) they drive me bonkers When I have them in & the dishwasher is running, it sounds like there is water splashing on the floor! Needless to say I only wear them in certian situations and a resturant is not one of those situations LOL.

  11. Noelle
    March 16, 2012 8:45 pm

    You will most certainly get used to it and adjust to a new comfort level. I have super human hearing and have been the subject of hearing research. I can hear above human capacity in my right ear and below in my left. I can hear electricity in walls. I automatically toon that shit out. My poor parents couldn’t even whisper about me in the next room. How is your artery noise? Is it louder due to this or is your inner ear level not affected?

  12. Butcher's Dog
    March 16, 2012 9:27 pm

    Ginny, even as you approach “normal” in some areas of life, you’ll always be a superhero to all of us here. And that, my dear, is Church!

  13. unsatisfied
    March 19, 2012 10:37 am

    even though I love the fact that jimmy leyland still lives in pittsburgh, shouldn’t he take his own advice and live where he manages now?

    though, on the other hand, I can’t really blame him for not doing so….who wants to live in detroit, the smelly, hairy armpit of the midwest?

    • ketchup is a veggie
      March 19, 2012 10:57 am

      If I recall correctly, Leyland married a Pittsburgh girl. She worked for the Pirates. His kids were born and raised here before he moved to Detroit.

      And you are right, it’s Detroit. It’s not like he said, Honey we can move to Florida or Arizona.

  14. sleepgh
    March 19, 2012 1:57 pm

    So now we can go back to this post: http://thatschurch.com/2012/01/30/fight-fight-fight-fight/ and tell him that the reason we had hope is that we are Burghers. We are positive thinkers. We hear anything above a 1% chance and think, “yea, he’ll be back, he’ll be okay.” I’m glad we all thought positively. What a weekend for Sid.

  15. Old North Sider
    March 20, 2012 9:44 pm

    PittGirl the professor of all things Pittsburgh had to question the existence of Gus — the Icey Ball Man. Next to Art Rooney, Sr. and Dan Rooney — the North Side’s next most famous resident! He has been peddling icey balls in a delicously assortment of flavors. Gus & Yai Yai’s has been immortalized in many of Rick Sebak’s Pittsburgh series shows, on oil paintings, and greeting cards.

    Now that you are on the Pirate bandwagon, drive it down to West Park, park for free on Western Avenue and get an icey ball, peanuts, & buttered popcorn and head down to PNC Park. The orange cart with the multi-color umbrella is a block away from the Aviary and Saint Pete’s Catholic Church!

    You should interview him for one of your Pittsburgh Magazine Columns — a great North Side guy.