Ankle injury – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (September-October 2017)

This is a difficult story for me to tell but in the true spirit of my blog I have personally committed to sharing the good, bad and ugly about my life events. This experience has brought a lot of each emotion for certain.

On the early afternoon of Saturday September 23rd, 2017, four of my good friends and I were enjoying the last full night of cabin-camping at a beautiful spot called Camp Layman. We had already been there a few nights, made friends with many of our fellow cabin-camper neighbors and all of us had just started to gather for the communal nightly campfire. It was a delightful night with crisp, yet comfortable, weather and there was just a really relaxed atmosphere.

This was a camp area of roughly 10 or so cabins within the immediate location of the cabin in which we were staying. As the sun was setting and people began to gather around the campfire, the guys and I started to casually toss a football around as we have done many, many times before on these camping trips. It wasn’t anything unusual.

After about 10 or so minutes, one of the guys threw me a pass that was a little bit high so, naturally, I jumped up to catch the pass. It’s amazing how one little action can forever change the direction of your life; just amazing. Anyhow, as you can likely figure out I landed on my right ankle which went one-direction while the rest of my body twisted 180 degrees in just the opposite direction. I immediately hit the ground and was in instant shock. I clearly heard bones breaking in my leg and while I recall every moment because I never lost conscience it was a weird experience, almost like in slow motion.

I knew immediately my leg was in bad shape because my ankle was dangling loose at a 90-degree angle. I don’t recall any major pain, rather what I do recall was that there was no possible way I could move my foot nor put any weight on it whatsoever. It was a strange feeling not to have any control over a certain part of your body which I had never experienced previously.

Honestly, what I was disappointed with most, is that I was going to ruin my friends last night of camping. They rushed me to a little local urgent care facility which took x-rays and confirmed a fracture but were too small, because we were in the wilderness, to do anything such as reset the dislocation or surgery. The doctors and the nurses were extremely nice and comforting to me and my friends in our time of distress nonetheless so I very much appreciate their help. This urgent care facility splinted and wrapped my ankle and we headed back to the cabin for the last, Saturday, night of our trip. Obviously, the rest of the night was spent inside and the guys had a lot of fun making wise-cracks and joking at my expense. Early the next day, on Sunday morning, we made the 4 ½ hours’ drive home. I’m very grateful and appreciative to have such good friends to take care of me when I needed them most. Thanks guys!


The Good

I’m going to start this story, and summary, with ‘The Good’ in what has happened. I will summarize ‘The Bad’ and ‘The Ugly’ below because there is enough of that content for a million lifetimes 😊.

Yes, I sustained a major ankle injury on that afternoon of September 23rd that I will surely remember for the rest of my life but this little inconvenience paled in comparison to so many other much more significant world events. For example, the wildfires in Northern California sweeping through the Napa and Sonoma areas has taken 40+ lives and destroyed 5,000+ structures. Or the awful Hurricanes that have ravaged Houston/Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico have an ever-lasting impact on those affected. Or even the terrible shooting incident in Las Vegas that took 58 innocent lives. I cannot even imagine the pain of these people so I have no right to complain in the least. Lastly, one of my good friends passed away during the first few days of my injury and I was unable to attend his service. These are all life-events that could be perceived as Bad, but I choose to look at the Good as I feel a renewed spirit of choosing to do right for others.

The Good is that, although I generally see myself as a compassionate person anyhow, I feel an extra sense of motivation to do whatever I can to assist those in need whether it’s volunteering in some capacity, encouraging people to be kinder to each other paying-it-forward to others based on my personal life experience.

Right now, since I’m fairly immobile and home bound for the next few weeks at least, I’m spending my time doing creative writing that I’m sharing on Facebook, blog or e-mail where I try and share positive thoughts and stories in the hopes of doing something simple to brighten someone’s day. It’s therapeutic for me personally and I sincerely hope that if helps someone, anyone, in the least little bit then it’s well worth the time of my investment.


The Bad

10/2/2017:  Hello everyone, tomorrow morning is surgery to try and fix my badly damaged ankle.

I have so much confidence in the expert skills, as well as compassionate concern of all the care givers we’ve met over this past week.

Also, I would like to thank all of you, my friends and family on Facebook, for all the well wishes. It truly helps healing.

Tomorrow starts a long road to full recovery that I am seriously looking forward to. My ankle, as is now, would never heal and I knew the second I hit the ground (while still catching the football, of course) that surgery would be required.

I’m so grateful to my friends and fellow campers that jumped into immediate action last Saturday after this happened.

Especially, I cannot imagine how I could have ever imagined getting through this first week without my talented home nurse. Who happens to also be my lovely wife . I have many upcoming days, weeks and months where I have to rely on her and it cannot be easy for her.

UPDATE 10/3/17: Surgery went well according to the doctors. It took much longer than the 2 hours they had planned. After 6+ hours they were done and I am now the proud recipient if 13 screws and 3 plates. The doctor said my ankle just fell apart after the initial incision. I am so grateful for their expert skill and compassion. My pain now is a different kind of pain, which is healing and good. Until this surgery it was just about getting ready for surgery by reducing swelling and that was no good.


The Ugly

UPDATE 10/16/2017 from Brandee: Kevin went for his first post-op appointment today. Everything looks great! His swelling is approximately 75% less than it was. His bruising is nothing less than miraculous, the way it has dissipated. His surgeon was very pleased. He has a new full fiberglass ‘short-cast’ with his foot reset at a 90° angle. It’s MUCH lighter and more comfortable for him, than the previous plaster surgical cast. Dan, Kevin’s ‘casting specialist’ , even installed a ‘custom bumper’ so Kevin can use his knee walker more efficiently. These people are amazing!

Kevin has 3 incisions- 38 staples combined, on both the outer and inner ankle. Those will be removed on the 25th. The skin wound he acquired from the dislocation, looks great and is healing. Inside, he has 3 titanium plates, and 14 screws. All of which, are permanent fixtures.

The next 3 months will be focused on healing. He cannot walk on the leg (zero weight bearing), but he has a snazzy knee walker, so everyone, please steer clear. 😀 Month 4-6 will be focused on physical therapy, stretching the tendons, and ligaments to get them back in shape, with the goal of getting his foot back into a regular shoe by month 6.

Kevin and I joke around, because that is just how we choose to meet life’s wrecking balls. However, this is a very serious injury. It’s going to take a lot of patience, commitment and time to get Kevin back to pre-injury condition. We appreciate all the love and support so many of you have bestowed upon us over the past 3 weeks. It’s been invaluable.

We have always lived our life together, and run our business by the same mantra, “Do the next right thing.” This bump in the road will be no different.



Photo Note: The semi-circular shapes you see on the outside of the x-ray, are the incision staples.


My next major milestone is 10/25/2017 when we return to the hospital and hopefully the surgeon will remove the staples in my ankle.


Thanks to everyone for your compassion and kind words.



Brandee and Kevin

Camp Layman, Plumas National Forest, 9/20/17 – 9/24/17

Camp Layman, Plumas National Forest, 9/20/17 – 9/24/17

This year for our annual ‘guys’ camping weekend, the five of us headed up to a new spot we had never camped together previously. It was a gorgeous cabin-camping area called Camp Layman located in the beautiful Plumas National Forest.

The destination of these yearly cabin-camping trips is always different and picked by our fearless leader, Frank-buddy.  I generally don’t pay any sort of attention to where we are going other we will be camping in the Forest somewhere.


We generally take a similar route out of San Jose and head Northeast for roughly a 4-hour drive and then the last 1 hour of the drive takes us to our unique destination.  However, on the drive to this year’s cabin as we approached the 4-hour drive time the road became strangely familiar to me. As it turns out, ironically enough, Camp Layman is located just outside of a small town called Graeagle. Graegale is where we host our annual guys weekend golf tournament!

I instantly had a great feeling that the guys and I were going to have a great and fun experience because, having spent so much time in the Graeagle area, I knew the location was nice, the people are extremely friendly and we weren’t so remote that we didn’t have resources such as a locate grocery store, if needed.


Upon arrival we were greeted by the extremely friendly camp hosts. They provided us with all the camp information such as the amenities of the cabins, which did NOT include internet service, as well as other things we should know such a communal fire pit and BBQ area. The overall experience at Camp Layman was so wonderful because everything was so clean and taken care of. The camp hosts really encourage these sorts of communal activities and all of the cabins instantly became friends amongst each other.

The cabins themselves are super clean and have everything we need as we were ‘roughing it’. Inside the cabins, they have hot showers, a stove with plenty of dishes, a coffee pot, refrigerator and, for the first time in our cabin-camping experience, some really nice interior decorations. There were several beautifully hand-drawings handing on the walls.

Our cabin was 4-5-person capacity with four beds. So, before you jump to any conclusions about the sleeping arrangements how 5 guys and 4 beds works out, let me just say that, as in every previous year, I just end of sleeping on the couch. I actually prefer this because I like to spend all of my waking time chatting and having a good time with the guys so there generally isn’t much sleeping happening anyway.  Being a couch-dweller enables me to be in the middle of the action at all times.

There were roughly 15-20 total cabins at Camp Layman of various sizes and capacities.  Some looked like they could be 1-2-person cabins and then there was at least one cabin that was 10-12-person capacity. There was a nice little creek that ran out front of each cabin which was a nice little, subtle touch of ambiance.

The guys and I would spend our days hiking, shooting, conversing about politics, sports and family-life. Then each afternoon we would do a delicious BBQ for lunch. One of the other nice things about Camp Layman was that they provided a BBQ grill for each cabin. We always bring our own but it was nice to not have to haul out our BBQ. This was a nice surprise that allowed the campers more time to enjoy each other’s company instead of hauling gear.

In the evening’s each night the five of us would gather at the communal fire pit with our fellow Camp Layman campers and spend some really great time getting to know each other and sharing interesting stories.



So, in summary, let me please provide my ratings:


Location: Cromburg, CA = 8 out of 10 Steeler Stars

Cabin: Camp Layman = 9.5 out of 10 Steeler Stars

Fellow Campers: 5 dudes and 2 dogs = 10 out of 10 Steeler Stars

Food: 9 out of 10 Steeler Stars

Drink: 7 out of 10 Steeler Stars


I had a lot of fun guys and I look forward to next year!



Shaver Lake camping, September 2016


This past weekend from Thursday, September 15th, 2016 thru Sunday, September 18th, 2016 the boys and I made our annual trek up the to the California mountains for cabin-camping.

Cabin-camping isn’t quite as extreme as tent-camping because our living quarters typically have a solid foundation, roof, refrigerator and bathroom. In other words, we rent a house for the few days instead of living out of a tent.

This certainly sounds like it’s easier than traditional tent-camping, but I can assure you that we challenge ourselves in many ways to make up for the convenience of having a roof over our heads.


I have been fortunate enough to participate in this fun event for roughly the past 4-5 years. It’s my understanding that this great tradition has been happening for years prior and I’m so grateful to participate with these guys, and have great fun planning with our wives.

Each year our destination is different, however, generally we choose a location somewhere in the Yosemite National Forest. Sometimes we go more north and sometimes we go south. This particular year we went East! We ended-up near this place called Shaver Lake in California.


Upon arrival at the location we all were very excited, as always. These cabins were a bit particular though. Why? Because the pathway to the cabin involved a 30-or-so yard walk from our parking place to the cabin itself. You might not think that’s a big deal but when you have as much ‘gear’ as we bring it makes a huge difference. Anyhow, that was a big difference from our typical situation because usually parking is more reasonable.

We ended up staying at this place called Cedar Crest Resort in Lakeshore, CA. The people were super-duper nice, no doubt, and we loved their friendship. We must honestly say though that the accommodations weren’t the best, nor the worst. The cabin was clean but not nearly as spacious as advertised on the website which was interesting but being the manly-men that we are; we overcame. In all seriousness they had four couches in one room and we each commandeered one of thcampfire-and-roughageem!


After we got settled into the cabin and got our gear settled-in it was time to ‘camp’! So what was the first thing that my amigo’s immediately did? Start the BBQ grill and a campfire, of course!

Our group this year consisted of 6 total dudes. This is the largest number of campers since campfireI’ve joined the festivities. The four other guys, other than myself, I have known for a while and really appreciate their friendship. This year, however, a rookie was introduced to the gang. This rookie-guy was an absolutely wonderful person! He was such fun, entertaining and a great person to talk with. I can’t wait to hang-out with him again buy cheap viagra online uk. It is always so much fun to have new people join the group.




This is a beautiful picture of Frank (who is our fearless leader) and his beloved puppy, Aussie. This is a photo just before Frank took Aussie on a long walk. I know both of them really enjoyed this.

Frank is a great animal lover overall and I really appreciate this quality because he is an absolutely decent person. Thanks Frank!

Aussie is terrific fun among this group of guys. We love having Aussie join us for camping and he loves being in the wilderness. Frank is such a wonderful ‘daddy’ for Aussie that it’s borderline-sickening. Just kidding Frank-Buddy!

In all seriousness it’s really fantastic to have Aussie and Frank with us. I could not imagine spending a weekend without these two entertaining guys.


So once we got settled, it was gametime for us six guys and Aussie!

Whether it was happenstance or not, a football was brought by one of my fellow campers. Maybe they had heard the legend of the Kevin Neal Golden Arm? Regardless, as you can see in the photo, my football grip has perfect technqiue which allows me to throw perfect spirals at every release of the ball.

In addition to perfect grip and technqiue, my unbelievable accuracy to hit a received in a full-motion route is simply amazing.

LOL, yeah right! If that were all true then I would be playing football on Sunday’s instead of camping with 5 other dudes in a cabin drinking beer all weekend.

golden-armOverall, I would have to say that this was certainly a fantastic experience. What I enjoyed most was the conversations with the other guys. This was really special to me. These guys are smart dudes and have a lot of common sense. It’s absolutely refreshing to have such great discussions, debate controversial topics like adults and agree that the Cowboys stink! J

So, in summary, let me please provide my ratings:

  • Location: Lakeshore, CA = 6 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Cabin: Cedar Crest Resort = 4 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Fellow Campers: 5 dudes and Aussie = 10 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Food: 9 out of 10 Steeler Stars
  • Drink: 7 out of 10 Steeler Stars

I had a lot of fun guys and I look forward to next year!




Plumas Golf 2014

logoA few weeks ago I attended one of my favorite pre-summer time activities which is an annual golf trip outing to the Reno, Nevada area.  I am a relatively new-comer compared to the rest of the gang that joins this event.  I’ve been attending only for the past 4-5 years while the event itself celebrated the 20th anniversary this year.  I’m so blessed and privileged for these guys to continually invite me back as we always have such great fun and it’s a terrific few days of relaxation and to escape the rat-race of the business environment.

Graeagle storeWe’za nota in da bigga city any longa’

The tournament is a well organized four days of activities which includes a lot of golfing and, of course, socializing (which is my favorite activity frankly).  It’s typically a group of 50-75 guys that rent out a few four-bedroom vacation condimiums for the extended weekend.  For this year’s event we played three consecutive days.  The first day we played at Plumas Pines Golf Course (  The next day we played at Whitehawk Ranch Golf Club (  And then the last day we played a best-ball format at Plumas Pines again.  Although it was the same course, playing the best-ball (a.k.a. “scramble format”) made it different, interesting and fun.

#Winning and a Man-Down

Tv with namesWhile the first two days of golf is certainly fun, every year my particular group really likes to focus-in on the Sunday, best-ball, scramble event.  This is where we typically shine and this year we did not disappoint!  Ever since I’ve been attending this event we have had a consistent group of the same four guys but this year one of our dear members could not make the tournament, unfortunately due to other obligations, so we had to truck-on without him in his honor as he would have encouraged.  None of the three guys, including me, in our group is a great golfer but somehow, for whatever reason, we seem to come up with a great shot in the best-ball format.  It was amazing and we shared the first place prize for the 2014 Scramble event!

It’s a strange cRoger swingingompetitive dynamic that my group of three golfers possesses.  We are are reasonable people and not overly competitive but our commonality is that we each to do our best.  This particular format is fun because all golfers encourage each other to make a good shot, and I guess that’s where my threesome of golfers is so successful.  We sincerely want each other to success and it’s genuine.  While we might poke-fun of each other a bit as we play the round but the teamwork of the group really is evident in the results look at these guys.  My team seems to really shine at the right time and that’s quite rewarding to participate in such great coordinated teamwork.

Heaven in the Hills

sardine lakeThis particular year our fearless organizer, Ed, sprung a wonderful surprise on us.  On Saturday evening he had the whole group of us gather in the parking lot of the Whitehawk Golf Course.  We had no idea what to expect.  All he shared with us is that we would have to drive somewhere.  So about 20-30 cars and trucks caravanned on our way to who-knows-where.  You must remember that the area we were in at the time was extreme wilderness so we had no idea what we were in-for.


A little bit of fancy in the wild outdoors

sardine lake dinner menuAfter a little bit of a drive, and going extremely into the back woods, we arrived at the beautiful Sardine Lake (  It was absolutely gorgeous!  It’s a relatively small lake but it’s situated in the most awesome of environments in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  For about an hour or so after we arrived at the Lake in our vehicles, the group spent this time enjoying the wonderful weather, beautiful environment and friendly conversations.  But after a long day of golf, it was time for us burly guys to eat!  And eat we did!  The restaurant is surprisingly (at least to me because of the extreme location) high-quality and the service was simply outstanding.  Many of us had prime rib however, as you can see from the picture to the right, they served a wide variety of items includes fish, chicken or vegetarian meals.  Sardine Lake is really a great place to go if you are looking for ‘a little fancy’ while you are still in the ‘rugged out doors’.  It is truly a remarkable experience and worth experiencing.

Lucky 21!

golf iconThis year’s event was the 20th consecutive year.  Some of the people, places and faces have changed but these guys have kept the tradition going all these years.  I am already looking forward to next year.  Just when you think you have experienced everything then something new seems to amaze you.  I personally had a wonderful time, once again, at the event and I’m certain that everyone else did as well.  I’m already counting-down the days until the 21st Annual!!!!


Extreme Golf and More Extreme Camping

As I mentioned in my previous post, Brandee and I have a busy Summer 2014 planned; and Summer is still one and a half months away!  However, it got off to a great start this past week and weekend.

Omni La Costa Resort

The fun started when I made a business trip starting this past Sunday to the luxurious Omni La Costa Resort in beautiful Carlsbad, California.  The schedule was to include three straight days of golfing on world-class golf courses.  While I do like golfing every-so-often I admittedly get bored quickly, become lazy with my shots and generally don’t enjoy myself after playing so many consecutive days but these three rounds were different.


Golf – and a lot of it!

aviara 14th hole
Aviara Golf Club – 14th Hole

The first golf round we enjoyed was Aviara Golf Club which was a short drive from our hotel.  Aviara is quite famous in the golf circuit for hosting the recent Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Kia Classic in March 2014.  This is an extreme high-quality golf course which takes enormous skills to play.  The course was full of beautiful scenery with wonderful waterfalls on many holes.  The putting greens were insanely impossible because they were too fast to stop the ball and every putt had difficult twists and turns to navigate.  Aviara was fun but I’m glad we only played it the one day or else I would have lost all my golf balls and not had any for the rest of the week! 🙂

aviara waterfall
Aviara Golf Club

The next two days we played golf at La Costa.  They have two courses.  One is the Champions Course and the other is the Legends Course.  The first of the two days playing the La Costa courses was on the Champions Course.  I think I played fairly decent and ended up shooting a 105 score which is about my average however this course was much more challenging than what I typically play.  So, not too bad all-things considered.

lacosta red flowers omni lacosta orange flowers with butch

Day two of playing the La Costa courses was on the Legends Course and this was a ‘best ball’, ‘scramble’-type format.  Instead of everyone playing their own golf ball for each whole, the group of four all takes a shot and then everyone plays from whatever the best shot the group likes.  This is a really fun format of golf to play.  It makes the round go quicker and everyone gets a chance to contribute.  Personally, I sincerely enjoyed my group because we all did truly contribute equally so it wasn’t one person doing all the work.  Also, and I can say without any doubt what-so-ever, we talked the most trash of any other group so if there were a prize for that we would have certainly won!

Kick-off to Camping 2014!

camping 05_09_14
Henry Cowell State Park

So after a full week of golfing, socializing and participating in various events what is probably the dumbest thing one could do?  Go immediately camping, of course!

A fellow colleague had planned the years first camping trip to Henry Cowell State Park in the Santa Cruz Mountains starting on the Friday that I was returning from my business trip.  Brandee and I had so much fun camping with these same people last year that I committed to going although I knew I would be tired.  No Rest for the Wicked I reckon.

Brandee picked me up from the airport at around noon.  She, as usual, had everything perfectly prepared so we loaded up the car, put Jack in the back seat and off we were by 1:30pm.  How is that for a quick turn around?

jack tinkerbell
Jack admiring Brandee in her Tinkerbelle PJ’s

We arrived at the camp site first and had everything setup within an hour.  Around 4pm or so it started to get a bit chilly and windy.  Since, when we left San Jose, the weather was so warm and nice that both Brandee and I were dressed in t-shirts and shorts.  We started a fire and got out some snacks to relax and wait for our friends to show up at the camp site.  As the weather got cooler the conversation turned to adding a layer of clothing or getting some jackets.  That’s when the reality of our camping challenges for the first trip of the year started to set-in.  Little did we know it would get much worse.

You see with so much activity through-out the week I just hadn’t really considered how cool it may get in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Brandee asked explicitly if we should bring jackets and warm clothes and I laughed it off as crazy because we had been experiencing 80-90 temperatures.

Nevertheless we were determined to be troopers and tough-it-out.  Our fellow campers showed up in the early evening and we had a pleasant chat around our campfire.  Them in their warm jackets with hoodies, myself in shorts and a t-shirt with Brandee in her t-shirt and Tinkerbelle pajamas!  Brandee and I were nearly in the fire itself trying to heat out bodies.  We were as close as could be without getting burned.  After the nice chat with our friends it was time to head to the tent in the hopes that snuggling under the blankets would provide some relief from the cold.  It didn’t work out too well.

After several hours of Brandee, Jack and I snuggling as close as could be on the cold air-mattress, with few blankets in the 41 degree temperatures we all finally had to go to the restroom.  It was around 5am and pitch dark.  The restroom was a little bit of a hike so we decided to take my car for the short drive.  Immediately on entering the car we cranked up the heat.  Game-over for heading back to the tent!  After defrosting for a bit we were so warm in the car there was not a chance that we were ever going back into the freezing tent.

Jack Tired - He's Out
Jack Tired – He’s Out

It was still too early and dark to clean up our camping equipment and head home so Brandee, I, and even Jack, made the obvious decision that upon daybreak we would breakdown camp and head home.  We felt horrible that we couldn’t explain the situation to our fellow campers before we left but they must surely have understood the circumstances.  We stayed in the car, with the heat on, until the sun started to rise around 5:45am.  Needless to say by 6am we were completely done dismantling the camp site and on our way home.  Overall it was another fun, albeit short, camping experience.  We will right this one off as ‘preseason preparation’ for the real upcoming Summer Camping 2014 Season.

Looking forward to the next camping trip with our friends!