Friday, September 8, 2017

Pregnant at TI

So, if you haven't heard, click here.

That's right. We are expecting.

One of the many reasons why I have not been updating my blog is because, outside of being pregnant, there really wasn't much to write about. This is big news, and for 3 months, outside of immediate family, we really didn't announce it to anyone.

Another reason I haven't been updating my blog is because I've just been exhausted.

Exhaustion during pregnancy is real my friends. I have been blessed in the fact that my morning sickness has just been occasional nausea, but the exhaustion is real. There are many other pregnancy symptoms, but we do not have all week to rant about all of them. Yet.


Now, many of you may not yet have put two-and-two together to figure out: Yes, I was just about 3 months pregnant at TI7.


Now let me tell you..... uff. The only person there (that I know of) that knew I was pregnant was my dear husband, Breaky. Now, pregnancy in and of itself normally has some challenges. I was super surprised at the amount of things that were "off my plate" so to speak, when it comes to what I can eat. I never was a picky eater, but now I have to be careful. Not to mention the no drinking, the exhaustion, lack of caffeine, occasional nausea etc... Traveling to an event like this just makes all of those things so much worse.

There was a meet and great scheduled for after the matches pretty late one night and this one gentleman, who I'm sure meant well, commented on how "bored" I looked. I was on my phone, waiting for Breaky to wrap up, but I was also completely exhausted, to the point where if it wasn't for my phone, I would have taken a nap in the booth right then and there. My hormones wanted to lash out at the guy and say "well that's because I'm 12 weeks pregnant, exhausted, watching other people drink, been up for over 16 hours, waiting for my husband to finish up doing his podcast so we can go home and I can sleep on my left side so my heartburn I am experiencing doesn't burn a hole through my throat." I instead decided on "oh, it's been a long day, I'm tired, and my husband is doing the live podcast up there."

So if you saw me at TI and I was either tired, cranky, confused, or exhausted, now you know why. Hope you didn't take it personally. Lord knows my husband has learned not to.




Tuesday, August 15, 2017

TI7 Recap

Just got back from Seattle where Breaky and I attended The International Dota 2 Championships. And by "just got back" I guess I mean I've been back for like, three days, but only now have the energy to actually write anything.

While this wasn't my first video game tournament I have attended. I went to the Heroes of Newerth Grand Finals in Las Vegas, but let's be honest, I spent quite a lot of time by the pool during that time. I also attended Blizzcon, but that whole convention was a little different.

Full disclaimer, I have never actually played Dota 2 (or HoN or Heroes of the Storm or any other MOBA) but obviously the game and the scene is super important to Breaky, my husband. Therefore, it is a huge part of our family. So when it came about that we would have the opportunity to go to The International (or TI) in Seattle in August, I decided it would be good for both of us to go.


Because I work full-time, we decided I should just come to Seattle for the second half of the week, and Breaky would fly in Monday morning and I would fly in Wednesday and just take off 3 days of work.

The set up around the Key Arena where the event was actually held was really nifty. There was the Beer Garden, which was open to the public, as long as you were over 21. They had a bunch of screens showing the games, and they had beer, water and cider for sale also. Within viewing distance of the Beer Garden was an huge screen and a huge field area for people to sit and watch. Note: we were extremely lucky with the weather. No rain and hardly and clouds that I knew of.


Big screen showing the game


Breaky and I split a lot of our time between going in the Key Arena to watch the matches (shout out to those who helped Breaky and I get passes, you know who you are!) to going outside to the Beer Garden and around the park in general.



We met up with a lot of people whose names I recognized from what Breaky tells me about how his stuff is going. Speaking of which, huge shout out to the BTS, Pvgna, and DotP guys and gals! Lots of fun meeting you all.

DotP meet up

Proud spouse time: On top of meeting up with people he knew, Breaky would be approached about, on average, 6-8 times a day by a fan. I played the ever-proud spouse with a huge grin on my face as many talked about how Breaky was the reason they got into the MOBA scene in the first place and how they have followed him since Honcast. Breaky was always so very gracious, always asking for their names, taking pictures (I helped with a few of those!) all the while being super humble as always.


Breaky is the best teacher a wife could ask for. I knew very, very little about Dota 2.

Let me put into words what I knew about Dota 2 before TI7.

  • I knew towers had to be destroyed. I figured this was the goal of the game. Little more complicated than that I guess
  • There were creeps. No context to what they were. For all I knew they were equivalent to trolls. 
  • When a caster like Breaky would get loud and shout fast and a bunch of colorful sh*t was happening on screen, a big fight was happening, although this rarely means the game is over. 
  • Because I am the household keeper of all things appointments and calendars, I knew that a game could last as long as 5 minutes (someone cancelled or postponed a game) to as long as an hour and 15 minutes, but on average was about 45 minutes. 
  • I knew where the kill count was, which usually gave me a good idea if someone was really winning and the game could be over soon (again, mostly so I could plan our lives around when the games started/ended)
After learning more of the basics, I do have to say, I have mad respect for anyone who plays and enjoys Dota. It is a grind, but I can see now why people enjoy it so much. 


Without prompt, Breaky would explain things that went on with the game, from why a pick in the beginning of the game was good or bad or even different, to what creeps actually are, to the whole net worth thing and touched briefly on some items. If I tried to list everything Breaky taught me about Dota 2 during TI I would still be typing this into next month. Let's just say, I now understand the basics, but definitely couldn't pick up the game and play.

By the end of TI, I do have to say, I really enjoyed watching the games now that I knew more than just "loud noises and bright colors=fight". I was able to cheer along with everyone else because I recognized that things were happening. Super cool to be able to appreciate the game so much more.


As a wife, I found this experience to be absolutely helpful in understanding what my husband does everyday for a living and the environment he deals with. I think this brought us together as a couple and I hope to continue to learn about the game and interact with the wonderful community (most of them at least) that I experienced this past week.


What did I do when I got back from TI? Bubble bath of course. We did a lot of walking and talking and all that, and I was sore and exhausted. This geek wife needed her R&R.



Thanks again to everyone we hung out with, and thanks to those who helped hook us up with passes and swag and stuff! I look forward to attending more events, and tuning in and understanding more and more Dota matches! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Hendy's Pancakes-Guest Blog

What the Hendy’s?

Hello Bloggers! I have the privilege to be the Good Geek Wife’s younger yet taller sister. She has asked me to be a guest recipe blogger for your enjoyment.

This recipe has now reached a new generation. Every Sunday growing up, my mom and her family (her Mom, Dad, and brothers Jim and Rick) would have a big Sunday breakfast. This breakfast would put many breakfasts to shame. It consisted of eggs, toast, fruit, bacon, hash-browns, sausage, and the Hendy’s. Now Hendy’s is a name of which my family does not know the origin. Those who would know it, are sadly no longer with us. Glad to get that question out of the way. Now the moment you all are waiting for…what are Hendy’s?

Hendy’s are defined (Family dictionary) as silver dollar pancakes. So these pancakes are supposed to be small and bite sized. That small quirk is not the only quirk about these amazing treats. The Hendy’s mix has to be mixed and made the night before your breakfast.

My family is known for these pancakes. There is no judgement on how many you can eat, because they are so small, having 25 to 30 pancakes isn’t much at all! (Although I would not suggest it.)
My Uncle Jim is the Maestro of Hendy’s and has taught me well. So I hope you enjoy using the recipe for your next breakfast.

To prevent the use of many dishes, I suggest mixing the Hendy’s mix in the container you use to pour them on the skillet in the morning. We often use an old juice container. This offers a more precise way of pouring since your pancakes have to be so small.


Here are the ingredients you will need to make Hendy’s: (4 servings)
1 cup of sour cream
1 cup of half and half
3 eggs
1 small teaspoon of salt
1 cup of baking mix (Bisquick/Jiffy mix)
1 teaspoon of baking soda


The night before:

Mix the baking mix, salt, and baking soda. Stir in eggs and add sour cream and half and half. Mix all ingredients with a whisk. Make sure that you get the baking mix that inevitably is sitting at the bottom of the container. Make sure there are no “clumps” of baking mix at the bottom or floating around in the container. Place the container in the refrigerator overnight.

The morning of:
Warm up a griddle. I would suggest the griddle to be on medium heat. Remember that these pancakes should be small, so if medium heat is not hot enough and your pancakes begin to look like Pangea, please adjust accordingly. My Grandmother suggests the griddle to be at 380 degrees if yours has a temperature gauge. Take the container out of the refrigerator and grab something with which to stir. You will realize that the batter is much thinner than your normal pancake batter, and that is very normal.

Pour the batter on the griddle into circles only about 2 inches in diameter. I gauge when to flip them based on the bubbles that are created when poured. I would suggest you not flip them too early, because, well…they won’t flip especially due to the very thin texture of the batter. If you flip them too late, meaning all the bubbles have popped, then they are silver dollar hockey pucks and serve no use for your tummy. Since these take a longer time to make and flip, my family often has the oven on the keep warm setting, and I put the pancakes on an oven safe plate in there. So while I make 12 to 15 on the griddle at a time, I will put those 12-15 right onto the plate in the oven. If they are left out, they will stick together and won’t be as tasty!

It is suggested from the recipe to serve these with melted butter and warm maple syrup.
Every person has their own way of eating these. I am a melted butter and syrup girl, but many of my family members mix them with their eggs or cover them in peanut butter. Don’t even get me started on those in my family who turn the Hendy’s into tacos with the sausage or bacon in between the Hendy’s.

I hope that these little pancakes will be a staple at your next breakfast!

Thanks for having me on your blog sis! Hope you all enjoyed!

The photo below is the recipe we use. This recipe is on the last page of the Gourmet Gab: Presented by the Junior League of Saginaw.




Mrs. Richard Wendland is my Gaga…my Grandma who without her this blog post wouldn’t be possible. For You Gugs!




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Numb



Today, when I found out that Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, passed away, I said "I have no words. I really don't."

Well, I have found words.

If you follow my blog, you know music has always been a big part of my life. My Dad was a choir teacher for 35 years. College is where I really start to find great new music. I even did a blog post about Billy Talent, who helped shape my early adulthood. In that blog post, I allude to my roommate and my ex-boyfriend introducing me into the type of music I have embraced as the kind of music I now enjoy the most. A big part of that, was obviously Billy Talent but the other big pieces were Evanescence and Linkin Park.




Many adults today can attest that Linkin Park was the soundtrack of their teen and early adult life. I had to stop reading the comments on the Reddit post made, not because of the trolls, but because of how many people were able to verbalize how important his music was a part of their growing up.

Breaky and I went to Blizzcon where they performed and it was something special to share as we both loved the band. It was Breaky's first concert, and he had a blast. The band's music was one thing of many that we connected over while first dating. That concert was special then, and means even more now.






I admired the band for creating the music they wanted to. They changed, shifted, and molded their "style" of music, and lately had caught some flack for it. I honestly enjoyed the new music for reasons different than why I enjoyed their original music. 

I rarely cry when I find out celebrities have passed. Many times I will be sad, and feel bad for friends and family, but I rarely cry. I was an absolute mess at work when I found out that Chester not only passed away, but took his own life. I had to close my door as my eyes got puffy and my snot was creating problems for my appearance.


Knowing that Chester committed suicide, the song "Heavy" really hits home.





We may never know why Chester took his own life.

It breaks my heart every time I hear that someone was so lost in their own mind that they think the only way to stop it is to end their life. I've seen reactions of suicides bordering on anger and blame, and I get it. Suicide is a very personal thing, and friends and family are left behind. You have to understand, many people who are that desperate truly believe their loved ones will be better off without them.

Depression messes with your head and logic is warped severely. Depression lies to you.

If you are struggling, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE seek help. Call 1-800-273-8255 or go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ to chat with someone online.



Wednesday, June 28, 2017

My Harry Potter


If you haven't been on Facebook or Twitter in the past week, you  may have missed that it has been 20 years since the first Harry Potter book came out.

20....frickin....years.



It was my aunt and uncle who suggested I read the first Harry Potter book pretty much right after it came out. Their kids, my cousins, liked it and thought I should give it a try. Now, the first book, I am not sure where I got it from. I still have it, but no dust cover.



I was 11 when I read the first Harry Potter book. The same age as the main characters. Every book that came out, I became just a little bit more obsessed. It was almost like I was growing up with Harry, Ron and Hermione. You know the angst-y parts, especially in like, the 5th and 6th books? Pretty much corresponded with angst-y parts of my teenage existence. I believe I was the same age as the main characters up until the 5th,  6th and 7th books, when JK Rowling couldn't quite keep up with the once-a-year pace. I don't blame her, as the later books were YHUGE!

Then came the movies. I love the movies, I do. I was a little disappointed in the 3rd movie, as the 3rd book was my favorite. I just feel they tried to be too artistic, leaving out so much "good stuff. Other than that, I thought the movies were great! Casting was pretty spot-on.



Now, a lot of people say that the whole series taught them things. For some younger generations, it instilled a love of reading they never knew they had. For others it was about friendship. Others it was political. Me? It taught me how to not give a damn about what people thought, and to be unabashedly nerdy.

For quite a long time, I'd say some time when the movies were coming out, I "got over" the Harry Potter "sensation" as so many people my age thought it was super nerdy and uncool to like kiddy Harry Potter.






I think it must have been sometime in college or even after I graduated that I honestly just stopped caring about  what other people thought. If I remember correctly, I reread the books, rekindled my obsession, and the rest, they say, is history.

From there, JK Rowling launched the Pottermore site, continuing the magic for us muggles years after the last movie came out.

Now, many quizzes I took me in Hufflepuff. At first I was disappointed, but then very proud. I took the "Pottermore" house quiz and ended up in, you guessed it, HUFFLEPUFF. For those of you that are curious, Breaky ended up in Gryffindor, and we even took a "dog sorting quiz" and DogCPK ended up in Slytherin.




I do have to say, trying to find Hufflepuff merchandise has been hard. They will always make Slytherin and Gryffindor things, but unless they purposefully did all four houses, usually my house is skipped over (I'm lookin at you ThinkGeek!)

However, one of my favorite pairs of sweatpants are my Hufflepuff pants. No joke, the most comfortable pair of pants I have ever owned.


Ok, got a little side-tracked.


What the point of the post is, Happy Birthday Harry, and thank you for inspiring a young generation in a multitude of ways.



Friday, June 23, 2017

Skeleton Key Cosplay Feature

College is a great place to find friends.

I established a ton of fantastic, long-lasting friendships, both personal and professional at the Student Ambassador Office at the university I attended. If we are being honest, it was because of this job that I ended up in higher education in the first place.

One of the wonderful people I became friends with was Denise. She was super into fashion design, and being an all-around super person. She rocked those campus tours with me, and was always nice to everyone she met. It was an honor to not only work beside her, but consider her a friend.

This year, she started "Skeleton Key Cosplay" with an Etsy page as well. I kept noticing the completely awesome cosplay and outfits she was sharing, and I just had to share! All pictures come from Skeleton Key Cosplay and are being shared with permission,



Chun Li: 








Nightcrawler:





Frozen/Jack Frost: 




Just look at that detail. 


Check out the Facebook Page and the Etsy Page 

Can't wait to see what she can accomplish next! 


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The CPKs in Chicago Days 5 & 6

Friday June 9, 2017 & Saturday June 10, 2017

It is a two-for-one! Not because either day was boring or short by any means, I just couldn't stay up until like, 1:00 am starting and trying to finish a blog post and ensure the quality.


So, Friday.

Today we woke up to yet another beeeaaaauutiful morning. We have so incredibly lucked out with the weather, let me just tell you. We did notice how freakin bright it gets so frickin early.

We ate again at Yolk. This was the first meal in Chicago in which I did not actually enjoy. This was completely my fault. I ordered the "West Coast Crepes" which was a really weird mix of sweet and savory, with not enough of either to be really good. I am glad we had gone there before and had a really good meal (if you don't remember, that was my salmon eggs benedict). Breaky had kind of a "breakfast nachos" but that is not what they were called. Neither of us can remember the name, which is what happens when you wait a day to do a blog post. :)


From there, we headed out to the Museum of Science and Industry. We both thought this was the best museum we've been to in Chicago. We had a really great time. 

We started out with the Robots exhibit. It basically was an exhibit about all the different types of robots, and how far we've come with them. It was super interactive, with many of the stations giving you the ability to control a robot, or in some cases, building one. 




This robot was a Black Jack dealer. I busted and Breaky lost :( 
Robots playing soccer!! (or futbol for my non-USA readers)

The weather exhibit was pretty darn cool and interactive. From avalanches to tornadoes to waves, the exhibit was comprehensive. I was super into storms and weather when I was in middle school, however, I was never super good at the science/math stuff, so that just did not happen. 


video

From there, we headed to the area designated to the planes, trains and automobiles area. 





We did a flight simulator, which was....meh. At least we didn't have o pay extra for it, since we had the City Pass. It was too hot, and it was obviously designed for kids. 

There was a "You" exhibit, which talks about the human body. It had parts like the nervous system, the digestive system, skeletal, etc... Had a really interesting thing where you held your hands to these handles and the giant heart would beat according to your pulse. 


We then did a mirror maze, which was one of the best ones I've ever been in/through. Usually there are little tricks, like the molding repeating when it shouldn't be, things like that. This didn't have any of those fun tricks. Honestly, if I was younger, when I had really bad anxiety, I probably would have panicked and needed to leave or something. Breaky and I made it all the way through, after about three times getting quite turned around. 




After leaving from the Science and Industry Museum, we headed SHOPPING on Magnificent Mile. We stopped first for some Wow Bao. Then we spent too much money, because, shopping. 





We headed back to the hotel room where, if you were our neighbors, you may have thought we were having a marital dispute for the ages:

"MAKE UP YOUR MIND" 
"YOU ARE HOT AND THEN COLD"
"OH....MY....GOD"
"OH JESUS"

When in reality, I was simply arguing with my shower. It was soooo bad. Super hot, then icy. The pressure was non-existent. It was so bad. 

Then it was Breaky's turn. I am really surprised we didn't get a noise violation for simply yelling at the shower, as the walls were thin enough. 


We met up with some friends who have a connection with the fantastic restaurant "Le Petite Paris" in Chicago. French cuisine, which is something Breaky and I are not used to. We both tried, for the first time, escargot! We had a full meal, with soup (french onion), an appetizer, which was the escargot, a drink, wine with dinner, the entree, which for me was the liver and onions (which I loved btw), and dessert and a dessert drink. 

The restaurant is a small, blink-and-you-miss-it gem and we are so lucky to have great friends to take us there!



Saturday

Our last day in Chicago welcomed us with a bright, sunny, hot morning. 

Breaky and I headed back to Peet's Coffee for some coffee and a breakfast sandwich. 

We were told by several people after we went to Lou Malnati's that we should have gone to Giordanos instead. So, we met up with them after checking out of that hotel we stayed in. 




Again, a huge shout out to our awesome friends! Thanks guys!

After that, we did a little more shopping in the area.

We then caught our last Uber of our trip, which took like, twice as long as it was supposed to. Headed to the train station, boarded after a "delay", then for 2 miles, the train had to go 4 miles per hour. You read that right. It took us a half hour to go 2 miles. 

We FINALLY arrived home a good hour later than we were scheduled to. 

Good to be home. 





Friday, June 9, 2017

The CPKs in Chicago Day 4

Day 4 in Chicago. June 8th, 2017.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, we woke up to yet another gorgeous morning. We headed out to a late lunch to meet up with some friends of mine I know from high school/college who have been living in Chicago for quite a few years, so that was quite fun. We went to a place called Tweet, which is connected to a place that is a bar at night, which the names escapes me.



We debated about what to accomplish today during the rest of the morning and afternoon. We ended up at the Chicago Art Institute. I had been there before, but it was so much more than I remember.








We saw the Thorne Miniatures, works from Monet, Manet, some ancient weapons and armor, and most impressively was A Sunday on La grande Jatte by George Seurat.






I always enjoyed the painting, I have a special connection through the musical "Sunday in the Park with George" which is a telling of the making of the painting featuring Mandy Patinkin and the lovely Bernadette Peters. Many know Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya from Princess Bride, which is also a great movie, or Criminal Minds and Homeland. Here is Mandy from Sunday in the Park with George singing "Finishing the Hat"

**I will have you know as a result of looking up Sunday in the Park with George, I spent about 30 extra minutes going through Youtube videos of Mandy Patinkin singing,which included songs from the Secret Garden. If I don't stop now, I will not get this blog finished**



Once we say what we could there, we headed to Millennium Park and the surrounding parks and gardens, where we did some sight-seeing, ate some hot-dogs then decided it was a great idea to rollerblade in this designated area. Yes, you read that right, rollerblading. OH my God, I forgot how painful it is when you have flat feet. Don't get me wrong, it was fun. But holy moly.


Down the way was a mini golf course. We kept score which with us is dangerous. "Officially" we tied, BUT, the question remaining is if it counts as one or two if he hit my ball in the hole after my first stroke. Isn't that a hole in one? I didn't touch it twice! 

Wife vs Husband! 



After that, we headed back to the hotel to change, because we headed to....


A Cubs Game!!

Took the train (which was a bit of an adventure in and of itself) to the famous Wrigley Field, and let me tell you, it was an experience we were so glad we could do. Our seats were just above field level, right where foul balls would be if they went just a little higher than normal. Breaky insisted on wearing his San Diego Padres jersey as well as his WMU Tiger's baseball cap. He got comments on both, but no one was rude or threatening. After all, it is just the Padres. :)



The stadium was obviously older, with a lot of character. Lots of green, of course, and throwbacks to classic baseball that you don't often find anymore. Mind you, I don't have a lot of experience with different baseball fields. The old Tiger's Stadium and the "new" Comerica Park" is about it. Obviously, we are Tigers fans first and foremost. I did buy a Cubs t-shirt to wear to the game. When in Rome, right?



The Cubs played the Colorado Rockies, and unfortunately lost. We left at just around the 7th inning, for several reasons. We did not want to take the train, and the stadium was packed, so we figured if we wanted to catch an Uber that wasn't incredibly expensive, we should high-tail it outta there sooner than later. And we went to the game as an experience and not die-hard Cubs fans, so we accomplished what we wanted to. 







The Uber we took after the game was a hoot. Had great conversations, got us back to the hotel with tons of time to spend. We talked about everything from Ohio State to football to basketball. No worries, despite him being from Ohio, he doesn't like Ohio State, so we could get along. He also gave free candy, which now sounds really creepy, but at the time was really clever. Honestly though, had the car ride been any longer, the amount of talking may have become tedious, but for the 20 minutes it took, it was a welcome distraction. Still one of the bets Ubers we've had in Chicago.