Neal Family Barnhouse Update, 07/29/2023

It’s been awhile since our kids latest update, so here goes:


Bleu, is our wonderful chill baby. She is a 6-year old rescue kitty and her days are spent mostly sleeping and minding her own business. Bleu is mostly active at night where she likes to cuddle with Mommy and be a big baby. She is strong as an ox with a great personality.

Bleu is strong as an ox and is like a little black panther kitty. She is the mature feline amongst our other children and she’s the responsible adult most of the time. Occasionally, late at night when no one is watching she will come out and run around the living room as daddy shines the red-laser pointer thingy for her.

The Grace!

Gracie, who we adopted on the same day as Bleu, is our crazy Chiweenie. Gracie is also 6-years old and she’s a lot of fun. She spends her days barking at everything as if her little stature will be intimidating enough to do something.

“The Grace!”, as Mommy likes to refer to her is always full of energy. Her spunky attitude is very relatable to Brandee so I think this is why these two characters have such a tight bond :-).

Gracie’s greatest strength is also her greatest weakness as her curious nature tends to get her into be trouble….especially when chasing skunks in the backyard. She’s gotten sprayed several times but keeps running after them nevertheless.

The rescue sissies!

As I mentioned, Bleu and Gracie were adopted on the same day, so they are forever sissies. These two are totally trusting in every way that it’s so heart-warming.

It’s truly wonderfully remarkable for me to see cats and dogs getting along so awesome. It’s so refreshing to witness everyone getting along so nice and I just wish that people could do the same.

You can’t imagine the incredible bond between these two. It’s an amazing display of love and it’s most evident when either of them isn’t feeling well, then the other instinctively protectively cares for the other.


Ella, is our 5-year old, crazy-beyond-belief Tortoise Hair beauty. Ella is full of energy and runs around the house at light-speed. She has a crazy look in her eyes and her personality is a match!

Ella has a very independent personality and doesn’t mind spending time on her own. However when she does make an appearance, she always has to be the center of attention!

Although Ella is only 10 pounds, she thinks she owns the world. I guess good things come in small packages?
She loves to be friendly with other animals like the birds, squirrels and raccoons in our backyard.


Finn is our nearly 2-year old rescue, 71-pound, black lab, who commands the most attention. While he’s the biggest of all our animals, he’s bar-far, the most attention-demanding guy of all! We love his energy, but he’s a lot of work, for sure!

Just like Bleu like to chase the red-laser pointer thingy, Finn is a huge fan of flashy-lights! He also loves for Mommy and Daddy to toss his catchy-balls way up in the air so he can jump and catch them skillfully in his mouth. We can do hundreds of catchy-ball throws per night and he never gets enough!

Finn loves to play with Ella especially and, believe me, she loves to reciprocate! Finn and Ella love to tease each other and it’s so cute. Ella will hide under the couch and every time Finn sticks his nose under the couch, then Ella swats in the stout….with love of course :-).

Just Cat (J.C.)

J.C. (“Just Cat”), is our latest re-homed baby and we are so grateful for him!!! He was a gift that we weren’t sure would be compatible with our four other babies, but he’s been a perfect addition to the Neal Family Barnhouse!

The phrase “Last, but not least” has never been more appropriate than with J.C. He truly is a gift from God. As you’ve read with our other furry children, we love them all. However, as much as we wanted J.C. to come home with us, it wasn’t right to disrupt our current furry children, so this was a major concern.

Overall, Brandee and I are so happy to give our children such a wonderful life. We are proud parents with all these waggy-tails, stinky-breath and deadly-claws! We love them all so much that this is our purpose in life.

God Bless and Please Adopt,

Gearing up for summertime activities

Jackson Neal

Jackson Neal

After another rather mild California spring weather-wise, we are gearing up for summertime activities of BBQ, going to the beach and other fun social events with our friends. This year, in particular, I think we will appreciate the simplest of activities more than ever because we had been so restricted on what we could do since my ankle injury last September.

Brandee loves to cook and host events so I’m sure that we will be having our fair share of BBQ’s at our home which I look forward to very much. Another thing we are really looking forward to is taking Jack to the beach and let him walk in the sand. He has never been so we’re not sure if he will like it or not but we want him to experience this anyhow. He is a Labrador Retriever breed so typically they like the water and sand. We think he will like it and it will bring him a lot of joy in his life so we look forward to a trip to Santa Cruz sometime soon.

Our furry children update, 6/10/2018

Back to Front: Jackson, Gracie, Bleu

Brandee and I continue enjoying being parents to our two dogs (Jack and Gracie) and one cat (Bleu). They are all a constant source of entertainment for us each and every day. Jack is getting much slower and less active in his old age but he seems happy and that’s what matters. We always give him extra special attention as he is the senior citizen of our bunch and he has to put up with two young sisters. He is a super good big brother to both Gracie and Bleu and we are so very proud of him.

Gracie is the one that is most obnoxious because she is always full of energy and getting into trouble. It’s just her spirit to be this way and it’s actually quite funny because her personality is 100+ miles-per minute where Jack is so laid-back and relaxed that it’s quite an interesting dynamic between the two of them. Gracie keeps Brandee busy nearly all day long which is very entertaining for me.

Bleu, on the other hand, just minds her own business a good majority of the time. Although Bleu is an indoor-outdoor cat, so she can come and go as she pleases, it gives us great comfort that mostly she likes to just hang out in our backyard and rarely wander off anywhere outside of our yard. It’s quite strange for a cat but it’s good to know that she’s safe.

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!



Summertime blues with Bella

Hey Honey-Baby,

We miss you like crazy.

Bella, we miss your sweet personality. We miss your prissy-attitude. We miss your overall demeanor and presence. You were such a large part of our daily lives for nearly 15 years.

Summertime used to feel so energetic, fun and exciting with you. Somehow your positive feline-spirit shined thru and we had fantastic times. This summer has been different though. It’s been a difficult summer, quite frankly.

As a young kitty, and although we were nervous for your safety, we always knew that you could take care of yourself when you would disappear late at night. You always came home to us. Sometimes your ear had a chunk removed or your nose was bloodied, but I guarantee that the other-side got their ass whipped!

As always, I need to mention that your Buddy, Jackson, is missing you tremendously also. I can only hope that he understands. Honestly though, I would be fooling myself to think that he’s been the same. That is simply not the truth. We are doing our best together.

We miss you so much every day, every moment and every minute, our Sweetie. It is sad without you because you filled our lives with so much happiness. For this happiness, we cannot thank you enough.


Daddy, Mommy and Bubby

Cleft Lip and Palate awareness

As many of you reading this don’t likely know, I was born with a minor cleft lip. I was fortunate to have surgery at Stanford when I was very young but my Mom and Dad were severely traumatized.

While I was lucky and very fortunate to not have major problems in my life, the sad truth is that cleft lip and cleft palate are extremely serious problems for millions of children. I write to bring attention to this important cause because it can have devesting impact on lives whether it be physical or emotional.

Children with serious cleft lip or cleft palate issues might suffer their entire lives with many problems including speech, dental as well as emotional ridicule because of their physical appearance.

As you might tell, I’m passionate about this cause and I would like to do what I can do bring more awareness so if you have a comment or resource, please let me know.

I have not vetted the organizations below but at least here are some references:



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Seeing Clearly

This week I’ve had this epiphany just to share an unvarnished version of my blog.

As I stated in 2009 (https://www.kevinneal.com/blog/2009/02/) when I started my blog, being transparent was what I will do!

So, against my resistance, I went to a local optometrist who was so wonderful!

After talking with the him for nearly an hour, he assured me that simple age, and especially stress can negativity affect vision. I always thought that the mind can overcome physical issues, but I was wrong. The way that that eye doctor explained was that our eyes naturally are gifted to focus, and there are eye-muscles to do this work even though it’s unconscious to us.

He explained, when we age those eye-muscles that help us focus just don’t work as well. Sort of like when our eye-muscles tend to breakdown then they don’t, coincidently enough, work as expected and cause headaches because it’s such a sincere effort to “see” which is something we are accustomed to naturally.

Also, as far as seeing clearly I know for a fact that this blog is under data surveillance, which is rather pathetic, but it is-what-it-is and those who choose to snoop so low are empty souls.  God Bless them as I pray that they eventually find happiness in their lives instead of the destruction they’ve caused. So, I say “hello and welcome” to our viewers and thanks to contributing to higher viewership.

I hope this valuable data of my Pet Family, Personal Life, Movie Reviews and basic business dealings that you can scrape from my publicly available blog gives you great satisfaction. I will not change my faith in humanity for your selfish, monetary, greed.

Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970) – Movie Review

Two Mules for Sister Sara is another Clint Eastwood classic. This is a fun movie of unexpected twists. The plot is very simple and both Clint and Shirley MacLaine played magnificent roles as very believable characters.

In his role as Hogan, Clint Eastwood, is his typical cowboy wandering the wild west when he stumbles upon Sister Sara riding a mule in the rough and tough desert land. The movie has many subtle funny scenes where Hogan and Sara are the dastardly (Clint) and the righteous (Shirley).

What’s all the more funny is that after I watched this movie a few times, I learned that Clint and Shirley were actually a couple! Upon reflection, I could sense that their relationship in the movie was quite genuine and it warms my heart to know how much fun making this movie must have been for them.

As far as the movie goes, basically it’s Hogan and Sara traveling together until they reach the main purpose of their adventure which is to save Sara from a ruthless bunch of Mexican bandits.

I highly recommend Two Mules for Sister Sara as a fun watch. It’s an adventure of this two fun people which is quite entertaining. I would give Two Mules for Sister Sara 9 out of 10 Steelers Stars.

High Plains Drifter (1973) – Movie Review

High Plains Drifter (1973 – Clint Eastwood) is one of my all time favorite movies. Not because it’s action-filled or the typically Hollywood fancy stunt scenes. Rather, this movie had Clint Eastwood’s rather tough guy attitude and a very simple example of decency all rolled-up into one cigar-smoke.

The storyline of the movie is very simple, yet very deep also. I’ve seen this movie probably over 50 times now and I continue to be amazed at the powerful message of redemption that I had at the end of each viewing.

The plot of the movie was based in the town of Lago, and this town of Lago had a dirty little secret that they had hung a sheriff. The residents of Lago knew what they had done was wrong but there is no way to undue something such as a lynching.

So, Clint Eastwood (as the High Plains Drifter), comes into Lago as sort-of a ghost to teach the residents of Lago a lesson. Ironically enough, the High Plains Drifter, carefully plots his revenge to coincide with the return of three criminals that also want revenge on Lago.

This movie is fairly dark in it’s delivery so don’t watch High Plains Drifter if you are looking for a feel good story. HPD is about taking responsibility and not going along with the crowd for convenience. This movie is about the opportunity to make amends and not waiting too long to do this.

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Sharen Neal and Matt Neal

Memories of Mom and Matt

This is a wonderful photo of my Mom and my youngest brother, Robert Matthew (a.k.a. “Matt”). These two had a really special relationship and while I miss them tremendously, it warms my heart to know that they are in Heaven together for eternity.