Friday, April 30, 2010

Another sign

I saw this sign at Good Samaritan Hospital in the lobby of the North Entrance (near the pediatrics wing):

Family Discount

I know all blog posts right now are to be dedicated to the Sharks during their playoff run. However, life has a funny way of throwing a wrench in all good intentions.

I was unable to blog for a few days because I couldn't wrap my head around my husband and son both being hospitalized (on unrelated illnesses) at the same time, long enough to sit down and blog about the Sharks. Although you have to admire how they won game 6 and gave me all the necessary days in between that and game 1 with Detroit to attend to the sick and weary. So, thanks for that. I can only hope that when all the final bills come in... that the hospital offers us a "family discount."

The good news is that they are both fine now and home from the hospital. The bad news is that it was scary, lonely and completely freaked me out.

So, here it is... Last Thursday night (after the Sharks won game 5) Juan found blood in his stools and thought he was having more ulcer problems. He had one 5 years ago, waited to long to go to the hospital and ended up needing a transfusion and emergency surgery. This time he had me take him right to the doctor who, in turn, sent us strait to the ER. This was on Friday. They ended up admitting him and did an endoscopy the next morning. While they found a few sore spots, they couldn't find anything that would cause that much bleeding. They ended up releasing him late Saturday (around 7pm).

Meanwhile, while Juan was in the hospital getting and recovering from and his endoscopy, I was with Alex in Ripon (80 miles away) while he had ODP training for most of the day. He had been complaining of a sore throat for about a week and even missed one day of school. I had checked for white spots in his throat (sign of strep) but couldn't see any so didn't see any need to have him checked out. For him it was business as usual. After playing soccer all day, he had his first roller hockey game at 7pm that night. We drove home after his last session, stopped by home to get his helmet and then went strait to the sportsplex for his game. I dropped him off and went to pick up Juan who had just been released from the hospital.

I took Juan home. He wasn't up for going to Alex's game and just wanted to eat and get some rest. I left him there and went back to the sportsplex. By the time I got there the game was over. *sigh* Figures. But? The Sharks were on, so we decided to order some food, stay there and watch the rest of the game. The game was amazing and afterwards all I wanted to do was go home and absorb the glory of it all. Enter wrench.

Juan called me in the room and said that he had a lot of blood in his stools, was vomiting and felt dizzy. We needed to go back to the ER. I stayed with him until 2:00am and only left because I couldn't keep my eyes open (there is a lot of down time in the ER waiting for doctors, results, etc.) We talked to the doctor who scheduled a colonoscopy for the next morning. They needed to find out where the bleeding was coming from. They were going to admit him and he would be spending the night (the rest of it anyway) in ICU. He had lost a lot of blood and needed a transfusion.

The next morning (Sunday) it took me a long time to get going. Alex was feeling and looking sluggish. The sore throat was worse and now he was getting a fever off and on. I should have taken him to Urgent Care but I let him convince me that he was okay. I went back to the hospital to see Juan before the colonoscopy. I met with the doctor who would be doing the procedure and went out to wait in the waiting room. About an hour later the doctor came out and said that they still couldn't tell where the bleeding was coming from but that it wasn't in his stomach, colon or rectum. He thinks there maybe something going on in his lower intestines. I went to go see him but he was pretty out of it and the air in his stomach (from the procedure) was causing a lot of pain. I decided to go home and check on the kids and come back later.

I went home and stayed for a little while. Alex was still not feeling well. I resolved to take him to Urgent Care the next morning. I went back to the hospital a little while later and stayed with Juan. They told him he'd be spending another night in the hospital so they could get him stabilized and check his stools. *sigh*

Back home. Went to sleep. Or did I? Alex was so restless and feverish that he wanted to sleep in the bathroom. Why? It was the darkest room in the house. (?) Some time during the night he came in and slept on the floor in my room.

The next morning I took Jacob to school and called the high school to let them know that Alex would not be going to school. I let him sleep for a little while then around 10:00am we left for Urgent Care. His throat was hurting so badly that he could hardly swallow. It had to be step throat, even though he didn't have the little white spots. "They're hiding." he said. "Oh sweetie," I said. "As much as you want to believe that your body produces all these super weird medical conditions... it just isn't so. Your white spots aren't hiding." When we saw the doctor he confirmed that he either had strep or, gulp, mono. They would need to draw some blood and take a look at it to determine which it was. After a while we were called back in the doctor's office. He told us that, indeed, Alex tested positive for mono. However, he said, he was concerned that the blood test showed that Alex's blood platelets were low. Dangerously low. "His count is around 3,000. It should be well over 100,000." Holy crap! What does that even mean? I thought about my Aunt Gayle who had an awful blood disorder. I remember her platelet count was always low and that she needed transfusions all the time. She eventually died... omg, I thought, don't go there.

The doctor asked us to wait while he called Alex's pediatrician. The pediatrician, in turn, called someone at Stanford and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. Of course it didn't all happen that fast. We were there at Urgent care for well over 4 hours. The nurses started to feel bad for us and began bringing us snacks from their employee lounge. Finally Dr. Hughes (pediatrician) called to talk to me. She was pre-admitting us to Good Samaritan. We were to go over there ASAP so that Alex could get a blood platelet transfusion.

OMG! I just came to urgent care to get my son a prescription for antibiotics so that he could start to feel better... now he needs a blood platelet transfusion? And just like that my world began to turn upside down. I didn't want to worry him or for him to see that I was scared out of my mind... but he knew. Especially when my voice cracked when I was on the phone with Sergio. I needed him to pick up Jacob. "I'm fine," he said. "I don't need a transfusion. I'll be fine."

"They say you need more blood platelets. That your spleen is eating them all up because of the virus." I told him

"I don't need more. My platelets are just shy. They are hiding." I rolled my eyes and prayed that was true.

We get to the hospital, and a side note here, but the hospital is so much more efficient, friendly and concerned when there are children involved.

He was brought right away to the pediatric ICU and put in a room. They began hooking up an IV but had a difficult time with his arms. They said he had really thick skin. One of them commented that it was easier putting an IV in her shoe than it was putting on in his arm. Hmmm, maybe he does have weird medical conditions after all.

After I met with the doctor and went over the procedure with him, I went upstairs to see Juan. I told him what was going on (he had been getting periodic updates over the phone). He had been doing some investigating on his own (asking his nurses questions) to understand what was wrong with Alex. He asked the nurse if he could go down to see him and they said he could after he had another blood test and met with his doctor. I went back downstairs just in time for Alex to begin his transfusion. We ate dinner and I took some phone calls from people that had heard what was going on. Juan called and said he could come down but that I had to walk with him. I went upstairs to get him.

We walked into Alex's room and he greeted him with "Hey man, what are you doing here? Let's go to practice." "I know," Alex said. "I feel fine. I don't know why I can't go to practice." So, there they were. Father and son. My husband and my baby. Both hooked up to IV machines trying to tell me that everything was fine. I had to look away because I almost lost it right there. They visited for awhile, then eventually I had to take Juan back to his room. I took him up, said goodnite and headed back downstairs to pediactrics. I hung out with Alex until about 9:00 or so until Jacob got dropped off. Jacob couldn't come into the pediatric ICU, so I would have to leave as soon as he got there. I gave the night nurse my cell phone number so he could call me with the the blood test results. They were to do the test about 4 hours after his first transfusion was done (which was just after 8pm).

Oh man this post is getting long. Anyway, before Jake and I went home, we went upstairs (again) so Jake could see his dad. Security wasn't going to let him (age limit is 14, just like pediatrics) but he must have felt sorry for me when I told him my other son was in the hospital too... so he let us go up. We stayed for a little bit... then headed out. I think we stopped at McDonald's, but I can't remember. I was spent. I think we just crawled into bed the second we got home. I may have gone on the internet. I don't know. I do know that I was hoping that Tuesday was going to be a better day than Monday.

The next morning I took Jacob to school and then headed toward the hospital. On the way there they called me to tell me that Alex's numbers were good and that they were going to release him... How soon could I be there? Yay! When I got there I spoke with the doctor and he said that part of the problem was that the virus was causing Alex's blood platelets to clump and the lab wasn't getting accurate readings. But when they used a different vile to coagulate the blood they got much higher numbers. So, in other words... his platelets were actually, sort of, hiding. *sigh*

He was right!

Juan was released later that day as well. They still don't know what caused his bleeding or even where it was coming from... only that it had stopped (for now). He has to go back to the doctor for more tests.

Anyway... both came home on Tuesday and life is somewhat back to normal.

Now back to those Sharks!

Sharks Win Game 1!

Okay, so I've been absent for the last few days... but I have a good reason. However, first things first. Sharks win... Versus Detroit... In a game 1... In Round 2... Breathe, breathe, count to 10, in-out-in-out.

Win #5, 11 to go.

Win Tally:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

They looked amazing. I thought (feared) they might come out sluggish, thinking or taking for granted that Detroit would be tired after their game 7 only two days before. But they came out of the gate strong and held on to win. I learned some things last night.

1. Sharks are resilient and have what it takes

2. Detroit is scary good. Fall behind by 3 goals? No problem. They are Detroit. Nothing is insurmountable. They eat championships for breakfast.

3. Sharks will have to be sharp, focused and completely on top of their game to win 4 of the 7 games in this series.

4. This will not be easy.... for me. I am in for a long and stressful series.

So, here is to hoping. Here is to cheering. Here is to being the last team standing at the end of this long and exhilarating journey.

Go Shaaaaarks!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Win #4, Sharks in 6!

Win Tally:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

No overtime, no dragging this thing out for a game 7 on Monday. Sharks exploded in the third period to get the job done.

Joe Pavelski has been elevated to unforseen levels in the San Jose Sharks Fan community. And rightly so.

What a ride!

Now I have to prepare for round two:

Breathing Exercises
Positive affirmations
Random acts of kindness
Gallons of white wine

Oh boy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

5 In The Right Net And 0 In The Wrong Net

Win Tally:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

I'll take a little more of that please and a little less of games 1 and 3. It was almost stress free. It was almost a perfect game. Sure there were mistakes here and there, but everything went the Sharks way and it looked like they actually started to believe. I know I did. Do I dare?

Today is a new day, but we are one step closer to closing out this series and reaching the 25% mark of the ultimate goal... 16 wins.

I am so over the bad bounces, outstanding (opposing) goaltending and frustrations of games 1-4. Over it! Finally this team was rewarded for the superior play by having it actually reflected on the scoreboard. Finally. Whew!

The next battle? Fighting complacency. Those guys need to go into Denver on Saturday and own the place. They need to own the crowd, own the ice and ulimately own the scoreboard. Going out there half-ass will be a disaster and probably result in not only a loss and a forced game 7 but some serious injuries as well. That is the last thing we need.

I know, I just know, they would much rather be at home watching the end to other series play instead of grinding out a game 7. My husband, the bartender, would of course disagree.

"Babe, do you know how much money I can make at a game 7?"

Yeah, well it won't help much when I'm in the hospital for exhaustion and on the list for a psych evaluation. 6 games is just fine with me.

Here is to hoping. Here is to the Sharks for a job well done last night. Here is to the Sharks for realizing the job isn't over. Here is to the Sharks for knowing they will need to grind and work hard for a game 6 win.

Go Sharks!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Now, That? Is What I'm Talking About!

Sharks win game 5!!

3 wins... 13 to go.

I couldn't be prouder. What an awesome display. Control, speed, shots going in the net.... Finally the game we've all (in San Jose anyway) been waiting for.

Deep breath. Big sigh of relief. Whooo! We did it. They did it. Amazing!

More tomorrow.


Getting Ready for Game 5

The plan?

Distract myself with mindless tasks, errands and housework until 7:35pm tonight.

Sweep and Mop floors
Clean bathrooms
Walk the dog
Return library book
Update blog
Pay bills
Take husband to work (at the Tank!)
Make dinner
Random acts of kindness
Happy, loving thoughts
Acceptance of outcome

What am I forgetting? Oh yeah, that is the point.

Go get 'em Sharks! It is your time.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sharks Win Game 4!

And it was a nailbiter.

Dan Boyle scored in the first two minutes of the game to wipe off the slate from game 3 when he knocked it in his own net in overtime to give the Sharks the loss and put them down in the series 2-1. Last night though they played like the puck has never given them a bad bounce in their life. They played with confidence and did what they needed to do. I'm liking the look and feel of the way they are playing right now.

With the game tied up at 1 at the end of regulation we headed into yet another overtime game. Ten minutes into the OT our resident playoff hero, Joe Pavelski got the GWG off of a deflected pass from Doug Murray. Murray wasn't even trying to pass it. He was actually trying to dump it into the corner but if deflected off of an Avalance stick, plopped right in front of Pavelski who took no time at all to whip it to the net, right over the left shoulder and glove of Anderson. Game over!

Back home tomorrow for Game 5. I think if they keep grinding and dictating the play they should be able to pull this series off. By now they, and everyone else, should know it won't be easy. But like I mentioned above, I like the way they are playing. They aren't playing scared, intimidated hockey like they have in the past. They are actually playing step-it-up a notch playoff hockey. It is good to see. Very good.

I'm just not sure how much more I can take. I guess I have to resolve that the rest of the series and each impending series after this will be more of the same.

Oh boy. Better stock up on the wine. I think I need to start meditating as well.

Go Sharks!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Getting Ready For Game 4

There was a hilarious post on SB Nation about breaking the playoff curse that has haunted the Sharks and has seemingly shown its presence in this year's playoffs as well.

The writer, Meg, actually researched curses and how to break them:

Step 1: Happy Loving Thoughts
Step 2: Random Acts of Kindness
Step 3: Trust and Faith in your Ability to Deal with Whatever Comes Along


"The experts in supernatural warfare over at have a detailed explanation of how to banish evil spirits. Apparently there's a recipe that goes along with it, which completely surprised me. See? This is why you do research, folks. Here is the recipe:"
1 tablespoon powdered garlic
1 tablespoon peppermint
1 tablespoon ground clove
1 tablespoon dried/powdered thistle
Handful or two sweet grass, sage, or dried oak leaves

"That all seems perfectly reasonable to me. I quickly assembled my ingredients:

Garlic powder and ground cloves were easy to find. My Italian seasoning has dried sage in it, so that's another check. I didn't have any thistle, which is apparently some sort of weed, so I went outside and picked a dandelion and some other miscellaneous weed things. I'm sure the spirits will appreciate my effort. The peppermint was the toughest part, so I settled on a piece of Trident gum - this way it has the added effect of protecting the Sharks' teeth."

OMG! I couldn't stop laughing.

So, I want to play too. At least for part 1:

1. Happy, Loving Thoughts - Chris Pronger is the most handsome, virile man who's hockey prowess is legendary. He is the most amazing defensive force in all of hockey. I have been in denial all these years. It feels so good to let this go and admit the truth.
(happy, loving thoughts - check!)

2.Random Acts of Kindness - I changed the toilet paper roll in the kids bathroom and hung up both towels that were on the ground. I also picked up all of Alex's dirty soccer stuff from the garage floor and put it in the laundry. I WILL NOT yell or lecture them about these things when they come home from school. (Random acts of kindness - check)

3.Trust and Faith in your Ability to Deal with Whatever Comes Along - I will wake up tomorrow morning, after whatever outcome of game 4 comes my way, and live a full and productive day. I will make a checklist of productive things to do and check everything off of it. (Trust and Faith - check).

Exactly what I needed.

Lift the curse boys. This is your time. This is your moment. Go take it.

Go Sharks!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boyle Gets GWG...

... In his own net.

There can not be a worse feeling than that. Maybe only if it was a series ending game. Poor Sharks, poor Nabby and poor Danny Boyle. That one broke my heart. A 0-0 overtime game and the only goal of the night is an own goal.

There are some positives, no matter what the naysayers write or say. Of which I haven't read or listened to yet. I'm just sure they are out there writing there spew about the Sharks not showing up in the playoffs. They are wrong of course. The Sharks are very much in this series. They are playing well. They are playing "playoff" hockey. They haven't shut down as in years past. They, right now, are on the receiving end of some really bad bounces. This is why you play 7 games. Bounces cannot be going Colorado's way for all 7 games.

Sharks out shot the Avs, again, by a huge margin. I haven't checked the numbers but they were in to the 50's while the Avs were at 20-something. This is huge. This is Sharks hockey. Sooner or later those shots have to start finding the back of the net. Anderson is coming up huge, but he can't stop the rush and flurry of shots at this pace for a 7 game series. Also, Marleau will start making his presence known very soon. Maybe just when the Avs start counting him out. I'm not sure what happened to Heatly... We were guessing he got hurt in practice? He was in on the last shift of the last game... so what happened between then and now?

As for Boyle, Blake and Pickles contributing own goals? They'll get over it. Boyle will beat himself up for that one last night... but he'll be okay.

On to Tuesday for Game 4.

Go Sharks!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Gut Feelings, Good Signs and Bad Omens

Sunday afternoon, 6 hours until Game 3...

Sometimes I get gut feelings. I get them for soccer. Sometimes I just know when it is going to be a bad day on the pitch. I also get them for the Sharks. Sometimes when I analyze them, think them through and digest them completely they don't pan out to fruition. However, when I avoid them, swallow them whole and deny their existence... we are all in trouble.

This morning I woke up nervous. A bad feeling in my stomach. Of course we have a soccer game at 5:00 and the Sharks play at 6:30, so I have a lot of analysis and acceptance to get to this afternoon.

With that aside here are some good signs I have observed over the last few days surrounding and attributed to this series. I went to lunch on Friday at Sonoma Chicken. Do you know what is the first dessert listed on their menu? Shark Attack Chocolate Puck. I'm not kidding. I had never been there before (a new one just opened up in my neighborhood) and there it was. Now, that, is a good sign.

Also, I mentioned that Jacob saw Patty at Sharks Ice yesterday before his game. I guess they were just getting out of practice (and probably heading for the airport?). Patty was chatting on his phone just outside the South Rink (players' entrance) and Jacob yelled over "hey Patty!" And Patty waved back. That has to be a good sign. We never see Patty, ever. He is one of the only Sharks whose autograph we don't have. Some of his pee wee teammates said they saw Seto as they came in and a few others said they saw Nabby and Nichol.

Other good signs are the fact(s) that every series (as of this post) is tied 1-1 (except Chicago/Nashville which has only seen one game so far). The defending Stanley Cup Champ Penguins dropped their first game (at home). The President's Trophy winning Capitals dropped their first game (at home). Vancouver lost game 2 at home and same with Phoenix. Detroit (although the lower seed but still perennial cup contenders and last year's Western Conference Champions) dropped their opener as well. Sharks aren't the only ones. Anyone's character and playoff prowess being challenged in any of those markets? Maybe not at this point but it sure draws the glare of the spotlight away from San Jose. It is always a good thing to fly under the radar of the East loving hockey media.

Another sign... just happened as I started this post. Detroit got scored on (at home, game 3) in the first 29 seconds of the game. See? We aren't the only ones. And? It wasn't even an own goal.

Along with the good I have to mention some of the bad omens that I have to watch out for. First of all I mentioned a few days before that when my son listens to the game on his clock radio they always lose. That can be avoided, I've already told him not to do it. The biggest bad omen is when a friend of mine attends games and I see it on her Facebook status. Every game that she and her husband went to a game this year and she posted on her status (via blackberry) about rockin' the Tank, they have lost. So, Irma? If you are out there. Don't get playoff tickets this year. Just stay home. Please. Also, the last two years that we have gone to the playoffs they have lost. Two years ago we went to game 1 vs. Calgary and game 1 vs. Detroit. Neither went well. Last year we went to game 1 vs. Anaheim. No more round 1 games for us. I told my husband we won't go until the Cup Finals. And even then I might want to re-think that.

Also to be avoided is listening or watching pre-game. We turn on the game 7-8 minutes after the tv start time just in time for the drop of the puck. Also excessive reading or watching highlights of game coverage (pre and post-game) and coverage of the other series games. Just check the scores.

Okay. So have a lot of things to do this afternoon. Biggest thing is to remain calm.

Go Sharks!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Calm Down Mother"

That's what my 11 year-old son said to me during last night's game. It was just after Colorado scored (25 seconds after we had just tied it up, again).

"Noooooooooooooooo!!" I screamed as I slapped the ground, slipped off the couch and sat on the floor. "Come on! You can't be serious. OH MY GOD!!"

Okay, maybe I was a little over-exhuberant. Maybe. But that was a roller coaster of a ride last night and I'm just not mentally equipped for that. But apparently my children are. The Sharks had to come from behind 5 times to win last night's game in over-time. Finally I saw some playoff hockey going on. I was so scared they weren't going to show up. But they did. From beginning to end.

Now, today I hear grumblings (from Denver media and bloggers) about bad refereeing. Seriously? Now Blake (their former hero) is a dirty player? Really? Are you kidding me? Get real. This is playoff hockey. Man up or go home. Did the referee put in 6 goals against your team? Did they? Really? Exactly. Shut the %$#% up.

Okay. Now on to tomorrow for Game 3.

So, today Jacob had a game at 12:45. We get there around 12:20 and the parking was blocked off in back of the South rink. I've never seen those signs before, that there is no access during Sharks practice? I guess we are never there during practice, so whatever. I drove as close as I could to the door (next to the East Rink) and dropped him off. I went to park and he went in to the rink to get dressed for the game. He told me later that when he was walking in he saw Patrick Marleau standing outside talking on his phone. "Hey Patty!" he yelled to him and he said that Patty waved back. Coooool!

Go Sharks!

6-5 in OT!

Game 2 is in the win column!

Thank goodness. I can't even speak right now. They never led in the game. Tons of flukey goals for Avs. Sharks outshot Colorado 52 to 22... that can't be right? Pavelski with the tie with 30 seconds left to go in the third. Seto with the win in over-time.

Monkey off the back.

Win #1... 15 to go.

More tomorrow.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Cautiously Optimistic

Definition - I will be confident that the Sharks can come out with a win tonight. I will watch the game tonight. I will relax with a glass of wine (or two) with the option of a stiff tequila shot if necessary. I won't get mad at my son for listening to the game on the radio in his room (when he should be taking a shower) because it is bad luck. Did I do that? Shamefully and regrettably, I did. Okay, but in my defense everytime (not just once or twice but e-v-e-r-y time) he listens to the radio in his room they lose. I'm not kidding. Besides that he was supposed to take a shower during intermission... which only added to my agitation. But still. No yelling at the kids out of frustration over the game, check. No getting overly excited or overly disappointed. I will distract myself with a book, facebook or dvr'd shows. I will be calm.

The Sharks just have to win tonight. Not only do they need to win but they need to send a message. If they don't do either of these things I just don't know what I will do. Please understand I have been a bay area sports fan all my life. I was a child/teen of the 80's with the San Francisco 49ers. Joe Montana never lost a playoff game (not that I can remember anyway) and he never lost a Superbowl (read, N-E-V-E-R). They always won. It was exciting, it was exhilarating and it was never, ever disappointing. Then, years later with a family of my own, came along the Sharks and I fell in love all over again. My kids play hockey, my husband works at the Tank tending bar in the Club and it is a family affair. Then the last couple of years they have done so well, until, well, the playoffs. These are new waters for me. Navigating through them has been trying and difficult. I've had to adapt a whole new mentality.

So, tonight's mantra is cautious optimism. Or, carefully guarded optimism. After all, some other top seeds lost their home opener, we aren't the only ones. Pittsburgh lost. Capitals (President's Trophy winners) lost. Someone else lost. New Jersey? Detroit lost. Even though they are the lower seed and were the visiting team, they seemed to be favored and in a way an upset. So? Why not. If not now, when?

Go Sharks!!!!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Suffering

My son's soccer team had a mantra amongst the parents sitting on the sidelines. It was "the suffering."

We had a great group of kids who played the game well, got along and were a pleasure to be around. We had an equally great group of parents who were dedicated, brought their kids to practice and showed up to every game. Everyone was happy to be on the field and everyone was happy to be around eachother. To put it simply, there was no drama. For those of you with kids in sports (or any competitive activity for that matter) you know what I mean. And, you also know how rare that is.

Anyway. We'd be at the games and we would be chatting and catching up before the kick-off excited to see the boys play. The game would start and they would look fantastic. They'd be moving the ball, making plays, taking shots and defending to almost perfection. They would be dominating and we would be cheering and cheering. We would come so close to scoring so many times that it seemed divine intervention was stopping that ball from crossing the goal line. Then, at some point there would be a breakdown. The other team, who for 45-60 minutes could do nothing, suddenly takes the ball down the field and boom, bang, bing... they score. All that work, all those great plays all that great defense... gone in one swift kick of the ball. Then we would rally and they would pepper the opposing goalie with more shots... but all for not. Thus? The suffering. Oh the suffering. We were the better team, we had the better and stronger players. We dominated the game. So what happened?

This is how I feel watching the Sharks in the playoffs. The suffering. Not that they, in any way, dominated play last night. But that they have so much potential. So much strength. So much of what a successful team should have. Then, there is that eternal flame of hope that burns so brightly inside my very soul. Just like with the kids. That feeling of "this is it. This is the day they break out and the score will reflect just how great they are." And? All the build up. All the match-ups in our favor, home ice advantage, top scoring line, in all of hockey, skating around out there in, what my eyes can't believe (and still can't believe), is building up to be an epic fail. The suffering.

It is heart breaking. It makes me want to stop watching. Why do I need my heart stomped on again? I mean, if I let it go now, it will then hurt less later? Did I really think 24 hours ago that this couldn't possibly happen... again?

I don't think there is a strong enough grade alchohol available to dull the pain I felt last night. Then again? I piece of me knew. When they finally scored in the third period to tie the game I felt a sense of relief. I felt like they got the monkey off their back now they can put the hammer down and close this game out. However, as the game went on and it was nearing the end of the third I knew it wasn't going to overtime. I was "almost" not surprised when Colorado scored with 49 seconds to go. It was kind of fitting. I mean, of course they scored. Why wouldn't they?

So, here is where we stand. We still need 16 wins. We have one less opportunity to make that happen now and we still need to get that all important first one. My optimism has shrank considerably. But I still have hope. The flame won't go out until that final series loss. After all, they are such a great group of guys. They can still rally. They are so much fun to watch. The coaches are great, the announcers are great. Did you hear that crowd at the tank? They are that great team. They are. I know they are.

The suffering. Oh, the suffering.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Well, That Sucked

Game 1 was a bust. Now we're still looking for win #1. What is wrong with these guys? Someone needs to step up. You can't play 15 good minutes of hockey (out of 60) and expect to win.

Uggghhh that was frustrating. I don't even want to watch the next game. They had so much to prove to everyone and they did what everyone expected them to do. They choked. And? I'm pissed. Not just a little pissed. But full on pissed.

Come on. Alright I promised myself I would see this through... so I'll re-group and post a post-game / pre-game post tomorrow once I have calmed down.

Just one more thing... OMG, THAT SUCKED! GAAAAHHHH!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is It Wednesday Yet?


And since it isn't Wednesday yet, I have to be exposed to this kind of dribble...

Dump that teal sweater with a shark chomping a hockey stick. That mean image doesn't fit the joke that San Jose becomes when the games really matter.
Wouldn't it be more appropriate if San Jose star Joe Thornton took the ice against Colorado while wearing an orange-and-white uniform featuring a cuddly cartoon from "Finding Nemo" as the team logo?
Ladies and gentlemen, please hold your applause and try to refrain from laughter until the next flop from San Jose is complete. When the NHL does spring cleaning, the first chore is to flush the Sharks.
-Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post

Gah. This is exactly what I was talking about yesterday. There is a consolation in this case, however, as it seems that this Kiszla isn't very respected in Denver. Here is one commentor's words:

"As an Avs fan who has read the Denver Post for years: Kiszla is an absolute hack. As one of the commentators put it above, he’s a professional troll. All he’s written on the Avs all season is doom, gloom and been, well a troll. Pretty much every Avs fan can’t stand him."

Oh, well in that case. Game on!

If I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, will it be Wednesday when I open them again?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stanley Cup 2010 - Two Days until game 1

16 wins.
28 games possible.
57% win percentage. Totally possible.

The Washington Capitals are the favorite going in. There is a lot of talk about Pittsburgh as well. Also among the early favorites is Chicago, and of course, Detroit. New faces in the playoffs this year are Colorado, Phoenix and L.A. If you would have told me last year that these three teams would be in the top 8 for the West... I would have thought for sure the Sharks wouldn't be in it at all. What about Nashville? These guys are in every year. They never quit. Then of course there is Vancouver. They were a scoring phenom this season instead of just riding on Luongo's coattails.

I'm not even going to worry about the East. There will only be one left in the end and we can worry about them after our 12th win. The goal now is to get through the west.

Early predictions from the hockey media seem to favor the Sharks in their series against the Avs. Of course they all have their little disclaimer about the team's past playoff performances. Again, we've earned that rep. So? Open mouth, add grain of salt and swallow.

I have to mention my favorite surprise media shout out of the year though. Out here in the west we are used to not getting any love from the hockey media, especially the Versus broadcasters. We get the criticism, we get the doubt and we get the scrutiny. And? We get that we get that. We even get being overlooked by the attention received by the Eastern conference. However, back in December much to my surprise Versus analyst Brian Engblom announced his Christmas wish was for the the San Jose Sharks Fans to have a Stanley Cup.

Thanks Brian! We are only 16 wins away!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stanley Cup 2010

16 wins to go.

One game at a time. They say we're cursed. The NBC guy told Jumbo to wipe the smirk off his face and get serious. He also said they should be showing blood on the NBC game break visuals instead of cherry blossoms. Someone is ready for the playoffs. He wants them to start bad.

Okay. I have to say, that as much as it hurts and as much as it pisses me off, we have earned this reputation. And? The only way to overcome this unfortunate reputation and to shut EVERYONE up is to make it to that 16th win and finally lift the cup. No one really takes us serious right now. Maybe that is to our advantage. I'm fine with that. I don't even take us seriously until we can show up and play like we're supposed to. Last year, I seriously thought they played like each one of them had received death threats on their loved ones if they won. They looked sick to their stomachs which, you know, made me sick to mine.

First step is win 1 of the first 4 wins we'll need vs. Colorado on Wednesday night. I have to be honest and say this is the match up I was hoping for. If they psych themselves out of this series like they did in the first round last year... I'm going to seriously lose it. LOSE IT as in go completely mental.

Actually that isn't completely true. I don't want to get overly excited or ramped up like in the past. To many disappointments. To many let downs. There are 16 teams right now who all think they are the next Stanley Cup Champs. Deep down they know in their heart of hearts there can be only one. But there is that part of them that thinks, tonight at least, that it will be them. Whether they are players or fans, they all think it will be them. Including me.

16 wins to go. Just 16.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Jury Duty, part II

So, there I am already up in the jury box as juror number 10. They come to me first for the interview and the judge asked me to read from the list and answer the interview questions. Finally, my chance. I could vindicate all the frustrations of the morning listening to the others in the interview process. I could systematically go down this list and answer each question leaving it to the judge to ask any follow up questions and not go off on to any unnecessary tangents. I stated my name, my occupation and how many years I've lived in Santa Clara County. I stated my marital status, what my husband's occupation (I said he is an endoscope technician and a bartender) is and how many adults live in my house. I stated how many children I have, their ages and their occupations. I answered the questions about if I could be fair and impartial, if I knew anyone in the legal or law enforcement community and if I could judge each person's testimony fairly no matter what their occupation, race, religion or creed. I answered if I had ever been a victim, a witness or been arrested for a crime and if anyone in my family or friends had as well.
The judge asked a few follow up questions about J's DUI and about Sergio's arrest back when he was 18.
Then the other 6 went through the interview. One woman, who said she was an engineer, said that when she got nervous she worried about understanding (following along) English.
Groan. Really?
Another guy said he was looking forward to hearing the evidence since it was stated that the defendant had .15 blood alcohol level and was curious how she could be anything but guilty. Again, really?
The defense attorney got up to ask questions and seemed to focus primarily on me. "I'm curious," he said. "What exactly is an inter scope technician?"
I smiled and politely corrected him. "Endoscope Technician."
"Oh," he said. "What is an endoscope technician? I know what a bartender is. Maybe I don't want to know what it is."
Laughter from the courtroom. I explained what my husband's company did and that seemed to satisfy him. Then he asked about his job as a bartender. "He must be around lot of social drinking."
"Yes," I replied.
"And, he (due to the face that he had a DUI) must drink socially as well."
"Yes," I replied.
He moved on to some of the other jurors, then the DA asked some questions. I'm racking my brain to remember what she asked me, but I, for the life of me, can't remember what it was.
What I do remember was her asking the woman who got nervous and forgot English if she would have problems understanding English if it were spoken in other accents (the DA had a slight Indian accent). She (she really cracked me up) said "yes, some."
After she finished her questioning the judge asked them to go ahead with their next peremptory challenges. The defense attorney dismissed the woman next to me.
Then, my favorite words of the day from the DA:
"The people thank and excuse Susan Castillo."
Whoo hoo! I'm done for another two years

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Jury Duty

I got called for jury duty this week. I didn't have to report on Monday, but I did have to report yesterday. So, I get there, get my parking validated, get settled into the jury-gathering-waiting area with the hundreds of other citizens called upon that day. Pretty much as soon as I pull my book out of my purse... they call my panel number.
Now, last time I was called for jury duty I waited around almost all morning before being called into the courtroom. I got the uneasy feeling that this day wasn't boding well for me. That or the court/jury system had somehow gotten more efficient in the last three years.
After taking role, they called up the first 18 prospects. The judge explained the charges against the defendant. There were two DUI charges to which the defendant plead "not guilty."
Now, if you've ever been called for jury duty you know about the interview process. You also know that some people can go through those questions and answer them effectively and efficiently. And? You also know that there are those who start answering those questions and all of the sudden they are in therapy and start purging and purging all this unnecessary information and raising all kinds of irrelevant issues. Which only signals the therapist, er judge, to respond to each of these issues and forces him to explain the role of the juror and how the legal process works. And you know, you just know they are only bringing up all this bullshit to get themselves excused.
"Whine whine whine... blah blah blah, I don't think I could judge this person fairly, blah blah blah, I will try my best, but blah blah, whine whine..."
Ugh! Meanwhile the rest of us, well at least me, are shaking our heads, pleading for them to shut up. I couldn't help it, I got fidgety sitting there listening to some of the interviewees.
It is explained at the beginning that jurors can be excused for cause, you don't have to play it up. You can also be one of 20 peremptory challenges (10 for prosecution, 10 for defense) that are used and be excused that way.
They got through almost all of the 18 before the lunch break. And not to soon either, my stomach was making loud grumbling noises. I was getting a little embarrassed.
So, we get back from lunch, on time, as the judge and bailiff both emphasized how important for the process it was for everyone to be prompt. Well everyone was on time except for juror #10 who was a no-show. He was 20 minutes late. WTF? Seriously? We had over an hour and a half for lunch.
They finally finished up the interview process. Then the defense attorney asked some questions followed by the D.A. Then they excused three jurors for cause. Then each attorney excused 2 for their peremptory challenges. Now? The clerk called up 7 new names from the jury pool. Guess, just guess, who they called first? Yep, "number 7 Susan Castillo." I got sent right up into the top 12.
To be continued...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Notes From An Animal Rescue

*Monday I let Nico outside in the backyard and much to my surprise there was a little yorkie out there as cute as can be. Didn’t know where she came from or how she got there. We bonded immediately. She was the sweetest little thing! Nico was happy to have a playmate. The kids liked her. Juan was irritated. LOL!
*I walked around the neighborhood trying to find her owners. Someone told me she belonged to the guys working on the house right behind us. No one was there, so I put her in their back yard.
Two hours later I looked outside and there she was! Right back where I found her in the back yard. Did she drop from the sky? How did she get back here? I walked around the entire yard looking for gaps or loose boards. I couldn’t find anything.
*I took her back a little bit later and talked to two guys working on the house… they said it wasn’t their dog… they were just working there.
*The next day I took her to the animal clinic to get scanned for a microchip. Success! She was chipped.
*But, then? It turned out the owners of the dog never registered with the service (Pet Finder). So, we contacted the company who implanted the chip and they traced the dog back to a breeder in Los Banos, CA. However, the breeder was no longer in business and had no forwarding phone number. All we had was the chip number, the breeder’s file number for her and her date of birth.
*She was born on November 30th, 2005. She is just a year younger than Nico (Dec 2004).
So, I posted an ad on Craigslist. Got a few responses, but none were the owner of this dog.
The next day I put up flyers around the neighborhood. Around 3 or 4 o’clock I got a call from a kid saying that he thought I had his dog. Only he couldn’t tell me if she was a male or female. I heard someone in the background saying “tell her it’s a male.” I told him it shouldn’t be a tough question to answer if it was really his dog… idiot. Really? You’re going to call me up and try and tell me this is your dog? Ugh.
*Then another call. This one from a teenage girl who told me she had lost her female yorkie and could she come see her. So, she came over and said that it was her dog. There was something not very trustworthy about her so I asked to speak with her mother or father. She walked off (we were outside in my driveway) and made a phone call. She walked back and said her mother was on the phone and that her name was Stephanie. I talked to Stephanie (right away she sounded like she was 17 and not the mom of a 17/18 year-old). She said that it was their dog so I asked if she could come over in person and that I didn’t feel comfortable giving it to the daughter.
*I left to take Alex to practice and when I came back “Stephanie” called me and said she was sending her older daughter to come get the dog that she was busy at home w/ a newborn. Me, still being suspicious (Juan didn’t believe a word out of the girl’s mouth when she was at the house) told her I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving them the dog w/o meeting her. Then the girl got back on the phone and started giving me a hard time saying “how would you feel if someone had your dog and wouldn’t give it back?”
*I told her to bring her mom over and I’d give her the dog. That I was just looking after the dog and I wanted to make sure she went back to the right people.
*Meanwhile I got a slew of calls from people who got my number from the animal clinic. Really concerned people trying to find their lost dogs. One woman told me she lost her male yorkie and did I have him. I apologized and told her “no,” that the one I found was a female. She responded “Oh, are you sure?” Um? Another woman lost her female yorkie not to far from my neighborhood, but hers was only two years old, was chipped AND was registered… so unfortunately not a match either.
*I told Juan “I’m going to be pissed if it turns out this girl is the real owner of this dog.” I wish she belonged to one of the other people that had been calling and responding to the Craigslist ad.
Anyway, I took her and Nico out on a walk and when we got back to the house the girl (I never got her name, Alex knew the girl that came with her the first time and she said they were sisters, turned out to not be true which was one of the reasons I didn’t trust her) was back with her mom.
*We (Juan and I) talked to the mom for a while and she convinced us that the dog belonged to them so I felt comfortable giving her the dog. But Juan asked her if she had spoken to me on the phone before and she seemed puzzled. She said, no, that she hadn’t talked to me on the phone, why? So we told her that her daughter had put someone on the phone saying she was Stephanie. And that also she had been here earlier with another girl she said was her sister. She seemed really put off and upset over the lies her daughter had told us.
*Anyway, long story short, I gave her the dog but I still wish it was somebody else that seemed more concerned about their dog.
*Now I am “retired” from the animal rescue business. This is our 4th or 5th stray animal that we have found at our house. I even found a turtle once in my rose bushes. Why do they end up at my house?
*I have a feeling she’ll get out again. And when she does I’m sure I’ll find her again in my back yard. Maybe next time I’ll keep her. I am retired after all. And? She really was sweet.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dear Mom,

I was looking at your picture today and I felt an overwhelming urge to talk to you. I love that picture of you and Alex at Sue's beach house. Anyway. I just have a lot of questions. I wish I could talk to you. I want to hear your voice again. I want that secure feeling of having a mom.

Do you remember when I was living in Santa Barbara and you used to write me letters? I wish I would have kept them. I want to go back and read them.

I feel so lost sometimes. Did you feel that way when you were my age? Did you feel depressed? Like life was passing you by? Did you feel impotent, like nothing mattered? Or that you couldn't find the motivation to do anything? Did you feel like you had no path to follow? That you were wandering aimlessly while others were flourishing? Did you feel like you missed your calling? Or never had a calling in the first place?

I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't know what I'm good at. I don't know how to find the joy that I once had. Did I ever have it? I don't know how to get myself up and motivated to take on the day.

I find myself hiding. I see warning signs but choose to ignore them. I'm drinking a lot and I'm eating a lot. I'm uncomfortable with myself all the time. I don't like who I am. I don't like that I sit around and do nothing. I don't like that that I do nothing to change.

I know even if you were here you couldn't help me with this. I would never have asked you any of these questions. I was to intent on proving to myself that I was different than you. Now I am starting to realize maybe my demons are your demons.

Ugh. It is all so frustrating. Bottom line, I wish you were still here. I wish there were more vacations with the boys going down to the lake and going on your boat. I never did get up on skis. I wish you could come and see Alex play soccer or see Jacob play hockey. I wish you could be at their graduations and enjoy your role as being the proud grandma.

I started watching American Idol. I remember you used to watch it and was always disinterested in your excitement. I really see the fun in it now. I bet it would be something we could have talked about.

The service for grandpa was very nice. He would have been proud and honored at the military funeral. You should have been there. It wasn't right that you weren't. We placed his ashes next to grandma. We went out on the town and drank mai tais. We ate, we talked story and we played liverpool. You should have been with us.

You probably know that Aunt Bonnie died yesterday morning. She probably let you know somehow. Have you seen Grandpa? Grandma? Gayle?

I really wish I could call you. I really wish I could here your voice. One more time.