Monday, June 17, 2019

So this happened ....

... Raptors won.  They actually won.  What is even more awesome? My brother Kenji flew down for the game!  Yes, the first overnight guest here since I moved to California!

Even crazier? Coach Nick Nurse threw us his locker room championship t-shirt they give out to all of the players!

Official Welcome Sign
Gave Kenji the 1-cent tour of Apple (Its not very good)
At the Apple Visitor Centre
Since no visitors allowed at Apple Park (the Spaceship)
So this is the no-cent tour
At Oracle Arena
Superfan In Attendance
Half Time
There is the Larry O'Brien Trophy
Post game celebration
Matt & Jack!  (That's Kenji's Hand)
Coach Nurse with a couple of t-shirts
And we got one!!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

2017: The Year of the Surgery

... 2017 was quite the year.  But not in a good way.  2016 was "Championship Year," 2017 will be known is the "Year of Surgery."

Brodie had torn his ACL in his left knee (awhile ago).  And he has been re-tearing it over and over.  We finally decided to speak with a surgeon to get our options.  The first surgery was done in February.  It was an 8-week rehab.  So, to make it more awesome, we moved our mattress from the bedroom into the living and lived it up studio apartment style!  Who needs a 1-bedroom ...

The surgery was a success.  He was toe touching a couple of days after.  And using his leg to hold up himself the day after that. He seemed to be a fast healer.

A couple of days after the surgery

Takin' it easy

One week later
... But, the weekend before his surgery, we went out to play at the park. Well, he torn his other ACL.  We talked to the surgeon and discussed the option of having both legs done at once. The recommendation was not to do it because he is pretty big (45 lbs). So, we scheduled his right knee surgery in early May. So it looks like we were going to live the studio apartment life for another 8-weeks! The rehab for this surgery was far easier then the first one.  Not just toe touching, but using his leg the day after the surgery.  We had a talk with him and told him no more for the rest of the year ...

The other leg!

So, that brings us to probably most stressful days of the year. On July 17th, we believe Brodie 'did something' and hurt his back.  Maybe he jumped off of the bed or went down the stairs. Over the course of the day, he got worse and worse. It appeared he was having issues with his new bionic legs.  In the evening, Crystal and I decided to take him to the emergency vet. (Thanks Matt & Adrianne!!! No Thanks Uber driver jerks). The vet determined he was in pain in his back.  She said, "It may be a slipped disc and we should be able to use conservative management." We got some pills for his back pain.  

Overnight he didn't seem to get very comfortable and he pretty much kept Crystal and myself up all night.  In the morning for his walk, he seemed to degenerate further.  He was having more problems walks (more slowly) and had a lot of problems getting up the stairs. In the afternoon, Crystal called our vet to arrange an appointment for a check-up. The vet suspected it may have been a pinched nerve and asked her to give him his anti-inflammatory. He could no longer get up.  His back legs no longer worked.  I immediately left work and headed home to take Brodie to the emergency room again. (Thanks Chenzhi!)

Since the progression was so sudden, they had assumed it was a burst disc and time was of the essence to save his mobility. So there was a CT scan and emergency surgery. The surgeon discussed what she had seen in the CT scan and said, he needs major back surgery. It was the disc under his L1 vertebrae and it exploded sending material all down his spinal cord.  Luckily the surgeon stayed late to perform the surgery. The outlook for a recovery could not be determined so we had to wait.  The morning after the surgery we did get some positive news where he was moving his legs. However, we are very cautiously optimistic that he will regain functionality of his legs. We got to see him in the afternoon, and he seemed to be in good spirits. He was able to move around on his front legs and you could see a slight wag in his tail.  We picked him up the next day. This was a 12-week recovery. So yes, studio apartment again - we just put the bed back into the bedroom a few days ago! We purchased a play pen for him and he was confined to it 24/7. We put it in front the window so at least he could look outside.  After about 6 weeks, we allowed the playpen to be open if we were home (and awake) so he could walk around.

I want to give a big thanks to Sage Medical Centre in Campbell. If Dr. Vitale and the rest of the staff did not stay late, Brodie probably would not be walking today.

Brodie isn't really sitting right

The day after the surgery

Its was a pretty large incision

Play pen in front of the window

We moved the pen beside the bed once he was able to be let out
Now, not to be left out, we had Tucker's teeth checked in November ... and yes, you guessed it. Dental surgery! He had 35 of 38 of his teeth removed.  His teeth were so bad and apparently he was in such pain.  That would probably explain anger (maybe).

Yup, 3 left!
Check out that one tooth!

So bright and healthy!!
But the end of the year, Brodie was walking and Tucker was eating and using his 'teeth' the best he could. As of right now, both boys are happy, healthy, and both have their personalities back (yes, Tucker seems to be still angry).

Here's to a happy and healthy 2018!  With no surgery for anyone!

*There will be a non-surgery recap in a few weeks (maybe).  But 2017 wasn't all bad news ... there were some good times!

Sunday, November 06, 2016

World Freakin' Series ...

... we have achieved "Championship Year"!

It was a week long trip! So this post is going to be long.

October 28th, 2016 - World Series: Game 3
We flew into Chicago on October 28th from San Francisco.  We landed about an hour before Game 3 had started.  We made it to our hotel in downtown Chicago in time for the first pitch.  We headed to Giordano's Pizza about a 5-minute walk away from the hotel.

Giordano's Downtown Chicago
This place had real Chicago style deep dish pizza. It was awesome and well worth the wait.  We had to order our pizza before we were seated.  The pizzas take a FULL HOUR to bake.  Check out the pictures!

Real Deep Dish Chicago Pie
Cheesy! Lots of toppings!
A couple of pieces filled me up!
Cleveland 1 - Chicago 0
Cleveland Leads: 2-1

October 29th, 2016 - World Series: Game 4
We spent the day sort of wandering around downtown.  We checked out "Cloud Gate" aka The Bean. Man was it busy! I was thinking how did Jake Gyllenhaal and Michelle Monaghan have so much space!  Check out Millennium park and we browsed some of the shops for Cubs gear.

Can you find Crystal? 
Yup, gotta lick the bean 

We took the L-Train (public transit it way better in Chicago then in Cupertino) to Wrigleyville about 3 hours before the game.  IT WAS PACKED! Full of fans. We  spent the next hour or so walking around Wrigleyville and the stadium.  The entire area was packed.  It probably would be Greg's worst nightmare.  People were everywhere. We picked up our Chicago Cubs World Series jerseys (Bryant for me [he is on my fantasy team] and Rizzo for Crystal).

Its a Goat!!!
Chicago's Finest on Horseback
All Cub'd out

I had a filling that had fallen out about 20 minutes before the first pitch, so we found a Walgreens for a temporary solution.  So, had to head back to the hotel and watched the game from there.

Add caption
More of Chicago's Finest (news reports said there were 1000 officers in the area)
The crowd at Wrigleyville
Fountain near our hotel dyed Chicago Cubs blue

Cleveland 7 - Chicago 2
Cleveland Leads: 3-1

October 30th, 2016 - World Series: Game 5
Today, we had made our way to the "Original Billy Goat Tavern" for lunch. This is the basis of the Chicago Cubs 'Billy Goat Curse'.  The owner was ejected from Game 4 of the 1945 World Series and he put a curse on the Cubs that they would never win the World Series again.  We went to the "original location" which is on Michigan Avenue, but actually in an alley below the Michigan Avenue.  It really seemed really sketchy. The service was terrible, but the food was actually pretty good.

Billy Goat Tavern

Inside the Tavern
Just outside of it

Again we took the L-Train to Wrigley Field, this time it was less packed. The entire area was also far less packed for Game 5. We entered the Friendly Confines promptly when the gates opened at 5:30. We explored the stadium. You could just feel the history.  It was amazing! The only drawback was that we did not get a "Seat Locator" ticket with our electronic ticket.  And MLB was not letting the box office reprint any of the tickets.  So, all we have is the print out - ugh.

Obligatory Wrigley Field Sign Picture
Yes the StubHub Tickets were valid!!
Up in the 500s
Not a bad view (Kris Bryant's home run)
Fancy Cubs Drink
Now this is a good portion of nachos!  Blue Jays take note!
Cubs Win!  Going to Game 6 at least
Cubs Win Game 5 - We are going to Cleveland!
As soon as the game had ended, I booked train tickets to Cleveland for the next day.

Chicago 3 - Cleveland 2
Cleveland Leads: 3-2

October 31st, 2016 - Off Day
We spent the day in Chicago because our train did not leave for Cleveland until 9:30 pm.  We went back to Millennium Park to "Cloud Gate" just to see if it was less busy.  And yes, it was.

Its so empty - They must of filmed Source Code on a Monday morning
Can you find Crystal?
We took an architectural boat tour.  I highly recommend it, it was very informative as well as enjoyable.  I did not get sea sick and there was a bar on the boat.

View from the boat
The boat!
We checked out the Navy Pier. We ate a late lunch at Harry Carey's Tavern on Navy Pier.  The food was not that great. But the atmosphere was pretty good.  It was windy and kinda cold.  But the pier was little emptier then Pier 39 on SF.
At the end of the pier
The pier is empty!
We decided to take the overnight train from Chicago to Cleveland.  It actually was pretty good and enjoyable. We booked a room in sleeper car which was less expensive then flight + hotel.  We arrived too early to check into hotel Cleveland, but the night manager was kind enough to allow us into our room until 7:00 am and we promptly checked in. I guess we looked so pathetic, she felt sorry for us :)

Union Station Chicago
Wrigley Field sign in Union Station
Arrived in Cleveland - 5:45 am
This is pretty much as exciting as Cleveland gets
No Game
Cleveland Leads: 3-2

November 1st, 2016 - World Series: Game 6
We did not get an opportunity to do much in Cleveland. We were pretty tired from the train ride since we got about 3 or 4 hours of sleep. So, we spent the day napping.  We did head to the a corner store and guess what! They have Labatt Blue!!
Yup! Labatt Blue!
Labatt Blue stand!
We took an Uber from the hotel to the stadium around 5 pm. Took about a half hour with 10 minutes of that time waiting to get out of Independence. Gates opened at 5:30 pm, so we went in as soon as we arrived to Progress Field.  We stopped by the Cleveland Fan Shop before the game to check out the goodies that they had ... and check this out!

Major League - Cerrano's Locker 
We had seats in the left field bleachers. So, I checked the video highlights of Kris Bryant's homerun in the first inning.  It went directly over our heads! I was the only one who stepped up on the bleachers.  But I took a screen shot and you can see a guy with his arm up (that's me) to the driver's side (or the left) is Crystal.
Kris Bryant's first inning homer
At Progressive Field
"Pete Rose-ing" the picture
View from the bleachers

Cubs win!
Chicago 9 - Cleveland 3
Series Tied: 3-3

November 2nd, 2016 - World Series: Game 7
Seat Locator "Ticket"
This is it! For World Series Championship and if you did not know, this was probably one of the greatest games I have ever attended. Crystal was literally shaking from the 7th inning on.

Hey! Its Barry Davis!!
View from the Seats
Yes, there was a rain delay in after the bottom of the 9th inning.  It just seemed that the Baseball Gods washed away the Billy Goat Curse for the Cubs.

In the rain!
Its really coming down
People taking shelter
After the rain delay ... well, you know what happens. CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!

Chicago Cubs fans certainly came out to see their team. I would say about 40% - 50% of the stadium were Cubs fans.  "Let's Go Cubbies" rang out several times during the game. Just unbelievable!

Cubs fans in our section
Just an idea of how many there were in attendance
Yes, the Chicago Cubs are actual World Series Champions
Chicago 8 - Cleveland 7 (10)
Chicago Win Series: 4 - 3

Post Game
We stayed at the Field for a good 45-minutes to an hour. So, we probably left around 2:00 am.  Since I did not book our flight out of Cleveland before game 6, all of the flights ended up getting booked from all of the Chicago fans. Thus, we booked a train BACK to Chicago leaving at 3:45 am (and arriving at 9:45 am). So, we wandered around Progressive Field looking for a taxi while checking Uber (it was surging). After about 30-minutes Eventually we had to take an Uber back to the hotel because we had to catch our train.  We changed out of our soaking wet clothes, grabbed our carry-ons and check out and took an Uber BACK to Cleveland Amtrak Station.

The train ended up being about 90-minutes late arriving into Chicago - so now we were cutting it really close.  It took us 30-minutes to get to the airport and we JUST made our flight to Denver. We landed in San Jose around 4:30 pm and picked up our boys and headed home.

That's it!  We have accomplished "Championship Year!"

Super Bowl 50 
Stanley Cup Finals 
NBA Finals 
World Series 

What is next!?!