Merry Christmas to All

It’s Christmas today. Christmas morning has passed and you probably have a million places that you are expected to be today. From my family to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. Or whatever you celebrate. Or just a really amazing day even if Christmas isn’t your thing. This is posting a little bit early today than normal, as a Christmas treat.

Today, there are a few things I would love for you to remember.

It’s not about the presents you get; it’s about the company you keep. I could get a pair of socks from someone I love and I know that this was a gift that came from their heart. Plus, I like socks. I’m weird like that. When you feel disappointed with a gift, remember that someone probably spent a great deal of time trying to figure out something perfect for you. If they didn’t, it’s pretty obvious that they didn’t care enough but the point is that they did it anyways. Even the most thoughtless gift should be accepted with grace and gratitude. Even no gift should be appreciated because some people just can’t afford to give. Cherish the moments with your loved ones because who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s what’s most important today.

It’s about the family you have, or the one you made. Sometimes people have to make their own family around the holiday through close friends or a spouse’s family. I’m fortunate that I have amazing in-laws and my own family to share this holiday with. People may not be as lucky, so friends become their family for the day (and many other days). Family is anyone who is there for you no matter what, blood relation or not. Appreciate the people who are in your life; don’t worry about the ones who choose not to be.

It’s about the joy on your child’s face, making lasting memories while eating cinnamon rolls and listening to Christmas music. When you become parents, Christmas becomes a day where you create your own traditions that can be carried on by your children. It’s not about politics or unpleasantries. It’s about family. It’s about giving back. It’s time to celebrate as a united group.

So Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or whatever makes you happy. Embrace your loved ones and cherish these moments.

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The Overwatch League: All-Star Weekend Edition

As much as I loved Overwatch, when they announced plans to do a professional league that they hoped would be as big as the NFL I was skeptical that they could accomplish that. Still, I was going to watch because I loved the game. I loved reading about Fury, a D.Va I really tried to learn from who ended up on the Spitfire. (Which is why, for those who complain about my having both Spitfire and Uprising gear, I support them whenever they are not playing the Uprising.) I was even more excited when Kraft decided to purchase a team in this new league, allowing my love of the Patriots to merge with my love of Overwatch. And NotE just might have taken over as my favorite D.Va. And Striker makes me want to hug him every time he cries. My mom instincts just kick in, I can’t help it. Avast is the meme king. These are a fantastic group of guys and I really hope to see them all back next season.

The year was an amazing ride and I loved being a part of it every second. I also loved being able to write about it and have people enjoy the posts. I’m sad I have no more OWL to post about for the next few months, but at least I can still enjoy my mediocre play and the fact that my beloved football starts soon. The league exceeded my expectations. It was well-produced, the casters and analysts were entertaining and knowledgeable. My only complaint is that Uber and Mr. X weren’t casting Uprising matches all the time. I bet next season is going to be even bigger and I can’t want.

Now that I’ve wasted your time reading about my overall happiness of how the league played out, it’s time to talk about the highly anticipated All-Star Weekend. I was disappointed that no Uprising members made the main squad, but Neko, Gamsu, and Striker all ended up on the roster as backups. Unfortunately Neko was unable to make it due to visa issues, but Gamsu and Striker made us proud.

The first match of the All-Star weekend was Lucioball, one of the game modes I never tried and refuse to. This 3v3 special map is only available during the Summer Games. After some savage trash talk before the match from the Pacific side, namely Fissure, the Atlantic team beat them in this first head-to-head of All-Star weekend. Next up, was one of the matches that I was the most excited to see: Mystery Heroes. Mystery Heroes is hands-down my favorite arcade mode in the game. In fact, I probably spend more time on Mystery Heroes than anything else in the game. Again, the Atlantic team came out on top in a hilarious show that even pros struggle against the ridiculous comps that come out of Mystery Heroes’ RNG. Then you have the Lockout Elimination round, which I was super excited the it featured Gamsu. The Atlantic team won this, giving them a 3-0 head start against the Pacific.

The Widowmaker 1v1 was something I wasn’t entirely excited about. I mean, how entertaining could this have possibly been? I watched, to write this blog and because I wanted to see Striker show everyone how underrated he really is. I predicted the Sayaplayer was going to be Carpe, because Carpe had the tendency of being very streaky. I was wrong. I then predicted the SoOn was going to come up on top over Architect, which also happened. At this point, it was more thrilling than I thought it was going to be.  Then, the match I was really excited about: Pine vs. Striker. My husband picked Pine, because as much as he loves Striker, Pine plays a lot more Widow than Striker. An accurate call, but I chose Striker anyways because I had faith in him. If he lost, at least it would be to Pine and that’s still respectable. This was one of the most entertaining of the matches, if only because of the hilarious dance-off that they decided to do mid-match. You put 2 pranksters in a map together, you are bound to get hilarity. In a close match, Striker came out on top and Pine could not be happier for his competitor. Surefour, another underrated player who I thought was going to make it to the finals, also came up on top over Fleta. Striker eventually fell to the unstoppable Carpe and Surefour took out SoOn for a matchup that no one saw coming: Surefour overpowering the man who declared himself the best Widow in the league (Carpe), to end up the winner.

Then it was the second match I was the most excited about: The Talent Takedown, where the casters and analysts had their fun playing on the big stage. Aside from Reinforce, none of the talent qualifies as pro OWL players. Reinforce is representing Team Sweden in the World Cup, but despite the walkout and jokes he didn’t actually entirely carry the team. Soe represented well and Semm made me jealous at his D.Va play. This was still easily the most entertaining of all the matches. The Pacific took away their first win with their Talent Roster of Puckett, Soe, Reinforce, Semmler, Hex, Crumbz, and Monte. This was followed by the aforementioned 1v1 Widow final where Surefour brought home the second Pacific win.

The Final match was the actual All-Star game, which saw everyone on both rosters play, including Gamsu and Striker. Gamsu was stoic, with a rare smirk the entire time while Striker, SBB, and Pine were having the time of their life on stage. (Including SBB dancing during the pre-match interviews.) Mickie was also the life of the party, as always. After a easy 3-1 takeaway from Pacific, they played a 5th match anyways that was just as entertaining as the whole event. I would love an All-Star weekend every weekend until OWL starts up again.

Final notes to wrap up. Mickie was the obvious choice for getting the Dennis “INTERNETHULK” Hawelka Award, which was awarded to the person who had the most positive impact on the OWL community. He’s always so positive and hilarious to be around  (it seems) that it was definitely earned by him. If he didn’t walk away with it, his former teammate and retired OWL player Seagull would have deserved it as well. Even in his speech, where he said he didn’t want his fans to be sad if he was sad, showed off what a remarkable person he is. He makes me proud to be a fan of OWL.

The fact that OWL ended up broadcast on cable channels live shows that this is growing faster than people anticipated. With the new teams they are hoping to acquire next season and the growing list of sponsors, this could actually make eSports tournaments more mainstream. This makes me happy. If boring sports like baseball, golf, tennis, poker, and bowling can get as much screen time as they do then OWL should get more attention.

 

An Exciting New Announcement

Whenever I tell people about being a writer, I typically get one of two responses: “That’s not a real job” or “Do you write children’s books?” It is entirely frustrating that people assume that I’m wasting away my college degree by staying home and writing and how I’m not making any real money. “What a waste of intelligence.” I think the bigger waste of my talents and intelligence is listening to them.

Recently, my youngest son’s bus driver asked me what I do all day under the assumption that I’m watching soap operas and cleaning the house. When I mentioned that I write, she asked if I wrote children’s books. I explained that I write novels/novellas that are generally geared to younger adults and that I do a lot of ghostwriting for other websites to earn an income in between. Rather than judging me, I got a rare response of excitement and interest that only happens every few years.

I kept thinking about that for a while, then the incident with my son happened. (As seen in “When Racism Attacks“, my previous blog post.) Then it hit me: I’m going to write a children’s book. The story has been written and all that is left is the artwork. I am extremely excited about this. If you want to kept updated about how this process is coming along, feel free to like my author page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrianneKLaRochelle/

 

Remodel: The Kitchen

This one is short and sweet. Just like my kitchen? Har har.

Before

Before

When we first saw the picture of it on the website we were searching for homes on, everyone winced at the picture. I understood; it was pretty tiny and I love to cook. How was this ever going to work?! It turns out there was a name for this kind of kitchen: a galley kitchen. When we saw it in person, we acknowledged how small it was but it wasn’t as small as we thought. The pictures certainly made it look like it was too small for more than one person to stand in it. We can fit most of our family in it at a time, so that was

Before

Before

fine. Being that I am the only one who really cooks in the family, the fact that it was small wasn’t really a big deal to us.

The only real change in terms of remodeling was the floor. It was simple adhesive stick on tiles that you can just grab boxes of at Home Depot. It is both very inexpensive (bought 3 boxes at $27 a box) and it is quite lovely looking. The cabinets received several cleanings before I felt it was ready enough to just leave it be. Originally it was discussed to paint them, but the lovely solid wood was really hard to part with and with the urging of family members, we left it alone. The pass through in the wall is incredibly handy and I love how classic it is. That, along with the shudders on both the kitchen and dining room window, provided a lot of charm that I felt should stay because it’s something you can’t buy in a more modernized house. I love how unique it is.

After, showing off my awesome mixer

After, showing off my awesome mixer

The other big changes are the appliances. The oven didn’t work so we had to get a new one, and we wanted to upgrade to an energy saver fridge

and not leaving the 1960’s appliances in. The 1960’s hood range still exists. We are too poor to replace it, and quite honestly it is still in very much working condition. Which is the same that I could say about the washer and dryer that was left. Old, but in working condition. I’ll take it.

Friday, the living room. Monday, will come the tween’s bedroom clean or not. I suppose showing it a

After

After

mess will give a realistic picture of the tween lifestyle.

It’s Been Too Long

I had hoped that a successful run at NaNoWriMo, that I would be able to get back into the swing of things. I failed to take into account that I spend my day chasing around an active toddler that is an expert climber, while working on editing said novel to claim my hardcover first edition. That has taken a considerable amount of time, as has my yearly holiday baking. Those homemade cookies do not cook themselves, though I wish they did. I hope to get back to my routine after the holidays.
I can’t wait to hold my first edition. I want to be able to hold it, hug it, and show it off. It’s one thing to publish an ebook. I felt really excited when I put both books up on Amazon. But this is different on so many levels. When I came up with this story 10 years ago, that was one of the pushes that led me to college. I put it on the back burner for a long time after that, until I decided to resurrect it for this year’s contest. This was to be my masterpiece. Then, I get to see my masterpiece in my hands. It’s more real than a ebook you have on a Kindle. This is going to be great. This is my other baby. I am proud of it, and extraordinarily proud of myself for completing it.
I am fearful if I spend too much time editing it that I’ll question it and tear it apart unnecessarily because I’m too hard on it. Even the cover has to perfectly fit my vision, which unfortunately my husband has to deal with as my go to photographer. It will work out though, I have faith in the both of us to accomplish this together. And I can’t wait to share it with all of you. In case I don’t get back here until after the holidays, I wish you and your families a Happy (and safe) Holidays.

This Week’s Happenings

There was a few items in the news that I didn’t have the will or ability to focus an entire blog edition on. So like usual, I compiled them for one post of its own. They aren’t important news tidbits, mostly random discussions on Pop Culture related topics. Enjoy this week’s happenings.

  1. The Death of “Glee”. With the death of the real life “Finn Hudson” Cory Monteith, I wonder what’s left in “Glee” for me. I enjoyed the show, because the lovingly dubbed “Frankenteen” was adorably dumb and bumbling and I really enjoyed him and Rachel. I don’t mourn his death, and that’s probably terrible. I feel bad for his loved ones, but I didn’t know him as more than a character on a television show. Most people would take this moment to go on a debate about drugs and whether or not you feel bad if an addict OD’s, but that’s not what this is about. I think “Glee” should consider the possibility of killing Finn off in the same manner to use it as a teachable lesson, though most people might think that this means they are profiting of the death of a main character. They would be silly, because they show is already going to profit off of the death with those people who love the macabre that will watch the show to see what the writers do about this. Also, I have no reason to watch this show since both Finn and Britney are gone and those were the only real reasons to watch the show without Shue or Emma being main characters. Half the fun was also all the hair and sweater/sweater vest jokes that Sue would toss towards Shuester, so I’m pretty much done with that show.
  2. Royal Baby Mania. I don’t get it. Okay, I sort of get it. Kate Middleton is a smiley, lovable ball of commoner turned royal. She’s the epitome of the tales we grew up with. She’s Cinderella, well, if Cinderella were rich before finding Prince Charming and marrying him. She’s down to earth and seems to genuinely care about people. I admire her as a human being, but I can’t say I want an app on my phone to let me know that the royal heir is born. I don’t follow her wardrobe though I admit seeing pictures of some of her outfits sometimes and think “I wish I could afford that”. Maybe I’m missing the allure of this love of the Royals.
  3. “The Purge”. I’ve seen this movie recently and it was a decent movie, not great but decent. I admit that I definitely thought about the premise and considered my own “purge” list. No actual person I know, but I’ll share the list: Justin Beiber, the people responsible for the reason why TV shows and commercials have such a volume difference, and whomever made the decision for Entemann’s to stop making that delicious blueberry coffee cakes.

Enjoy this terrible heat and weekend.

 

The Battle of “Shoulds”

I should be taking a nap. That’s the story of the past few days. The baby, still feeling a bit under the weather from the surgery and might be for a few more weeks, hasn’t been sleeping well. I missed Friday’s post for no other reason than “I should be taking a nap”, so I did. Today I realized I wanted to, but I really couldn’t let myself out of my own sense of obligation. The downside of working for money from home is you really sometimes can’t fight the temptation to just sleep instead of doing the work. Most days I fight it, and today I won.

With all this news over the George Zimmerman trial, I can’t help but to think that I should be writing a post about my thoughts on the matter. Since focusing my Hubpage on parenting, the blog is left to fend for itself. Usually I try to write about current events, but sometimes I can’t help but to rant about whatever I feel like ranting about on a given day. I keep fighting this battle of “shoulds”. Like, I should do some dishes and laundry while the baby is sleeping. But I chose the readers instead. Also, I choo chooo choo choose you, George Zimmerman.

One thing that bothers me is that when talking about the trial, you only hear George Zimmerman referred to as “Zimmerman” while Trayvon Martin is referred to by his first and last name. I don’t like uneven-ness. I don’t like the double standard, hell even Ted Bundy gets both his names uttered when being spoken about. And I would rather hang out with George Zimmerman than I would Ted Bundy. That’s a minor pet peeve in the whole scenario. Another thing I would like to point out, at the risk of getting readers mad at me, is that I don’t think that George Zimmerman is a racist. Do I think he’s guilty of trying to play a hero and chased after a guy he profiled as a criminal because of what he looked like? Absolutely. If I were walking down the street wearing a hoodie, I can safely say that I wouldn’t have been pursued as a criminal since my translucently pale skin would glow in the dark, giving away the fact I’m a white girl in a hoodie and we’re innocent and never do anything wrong. This isn’t about racism in America, I would even dare to say that this isn’t even about racial profiling in America. This is about a moron that wanted to be in the newspapers as the hero of the day for solving the slew of petty crime in his neighborhood. Well, at least he got his wish of being in the newspapers.

The issue at hand, unfortunately, isn’t really about someone who looks white killing an African-American child. I say really because it is a tragedy and it should be made to light that a kid died. But let’s blame the real culprit here: the law itself. This law needs to be changed, because who’s the next person that is going to get killed and have someone go “well I was just defending myself, he looked dangerous”? It’s similar to the gun debate: it’s not the guns that kill people, it’s the crazy people who are allowed to carry them that do. This law gives people a blank check to do this and walk away with their hands being clean. Next thing you know, Aaron Hernandez is going to say that “Odin Lloyd was going to kill me so I killed him in Florida and used a private jet to get the body up here. According to Stand Your Ground laws, this is perfectly acceptable!” People should be outraged that this guy got a blank check to kill someone. Maybe he should have stayed in his car. Maybe he should have followed him in his car while waiting for the police to properly handle the situation. Maybe Trayvon Martin shouldn’t have fought George Zimmerman. Maybe we should think for a moment what would happen if Trayvon Martin had killed George Zimmerman and gotten away with it because of this law. Maybe we should think about the outrage that would come out of that: “A black thug killed innocent neighborhood watchman who was trying to protect his community”. Maybe we should consider these points. This… this is the Battle of the “shoulds”.