Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rats, Part II

Sakura finally reached the point where we had to put her down.  My husband refused to let her live in such pain.

My daughter, the artist, took solace in our suggestion that she prepare a coffin for Sakura.  We found a box from a video card which seemed to be the ideal size and which was in a basic black.  She spent several hours carefully decorating it inside and out.

My husband made the effort to carve Sakura's name in a convenient rock with his Dremel tool, which wasn't easy.

And on Easter morning, the family gathered to pay their last respects to Sakura beside the spreading bush in the backyard.  No pet rat ever had a finer good-bye.

I am still working on getting a new friend for Daisy.  It's surprising how hard it can be to reach people, sometimes . . . or how busy they can be when you actually do.  In the mean time, the girls are doing a good job of making sure she gets a good deal of attention when they are home from school.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Patch 4.1 brought the Tranquility cooldown for talented Restoration Druids down to 3 minutes.

He he he he . . . . .

Last night, while battling the patch boss (the one which glitches encounters, causes lag spikes, and forces everyone to turn off half their addons), our raid went to Bastion of Twilight.  We had three Restoration Druids among our healers.

For Halfus, two of us were assigned to tank heal, while the third was one healing the raid.  After the encounter, the Druid on raid healing practically shrieked in whispered delight.  "15k!  I used Tranquility and Tree of Life twice!"

There was some definite giggle factor in being able to use Tranquility twice.  For me, it was a real change in thinking.  Between the mana cost and the long cooldown, I had almost never used Tranquility, unless we were in dire straits or it was planned beforehand.  But last night, with two Restoration Shamans in the raid, mana was not as big a concern.  And with the cooldown reduced dramatically, making the choice to use the spell didn't seem as momentous a decision.  After all, it could be up again before the end of the fight, ready for that final push.

The evening culminated in Cho'gall.  All three Restoration Druids used Tranquility twice, staggered throughout the encounter.  (How we managed to successfully stagger it and not stomp on each other's Tranquility, I am not sure.  Just got lucky.)  It was downright comfortable.

I think we'll be seeing a lot more Tranquility and a lot more tranquil healers.  (Until we hit Heroics . . .)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3999 Forum Posts

Yesterday, someone in my guild pointed out I was approaching 4000 posts on the guild forum.

I guess this just goes to show I talk a lot, even when I have little to say . . .

He asked if I had something special to post for my 4000th post.  He is probably surprised I have been uncharacteristically silent since then.

I hadn't really thought about it, because I had not been watching the numbers.  But now that it has been pointed out, I feel strangely that I ought to do something . . .

It's probably something most appropriately mentioned in our "Six Words" thread, based upon an idea from an NPR story, which has run to 166 pages and almost 2500 entries.

Four thousand posts, not much thought.

Brainless blonde babblings . . . four thousand posts.

Four thousand posts, almost three years.

Four thousand posts; I win now?

Four thousand posts in Tempest's forum.

Four thousand posts; how many words?

I think I like the fourth.  It's silly without being completely self-deprecating.

Wonder how long it will take me to get to 5000.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Healing Research

That's my excuse, anyway.

The last thing I need is another Alliance character, right? But now that Anachan is well-stocked with mats and supplies, and now that Kaminoko is 85, and now that my Worgen Druid is hobnobbing with the rest of the Alliance (and so has no more purpose), I was finding myself staring at the game again, asking myself, "Why?" (Indication number one that I need to find something else to do when I'm too tired to do gardening, dejunking, cooking, etc.)

This is why, although my husband would protest I can just go play his if I want to play one, I am working on a paladin.  I figure to be a better healing lead, I should understand something more about the abilities available to the various healing classes.  Even if I never make it to max level, at least I will start to understand something more about the lingo of the paladin . . . "Seals?", "Judgements?", "Holy Power?" . . . at least I could understand "Aura".  Instead of just taking someone's word about something, I will be able to experience it a little and gain some further understanding in that fashion.

I am not a talented gamer, which is why I can't just pick up my husband's 80-something pally and know what to do with it.  The plethera of spells and abilities are almost mind-bogglingly overwhelming.  For me to really understand a character, I have to raise it from low-level.

On the bright side, after Elwynn Forest, so much is new that it isn't feeling too much like a grind.  I ran through the Westfall quests with Anachan after the change, just to see what everyone was talking about, so they are still fresh for me.  Last night, I managed to finish off a good deal of Elwynn Forest and went from start to finish in Westfall, skipping the sideline quests for now.  (Six more to get the achievement.  I think I'll go back and do them.) She went from level 8 to level 15.

I thought long and hard about bringing her into the guild, but in the end, I decided she would be better off guilded.  After all, she gets bonuses, including leveling bonuses, and if I want to learn as much as possible about the class, this could be to my advantage.  (Learn about more abilities faster . . .)  I should look at getting her some heirlooms . . .

Her name is Hikarinoko. Sounds a lot like Kaminoko, right? It should. Kaminoko is "child of God", while Hikarinoko is "child of light". I figured it was appropriate for a paladin.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fair People of Stormwind . . .

Not too long ago, I stumbled on a thread at the WoW forums.  The opening poster played on a role-play (RP) realm and was upset at the number of raid leaders trying to find people for their raids in Trade Chat.  Basically, his complaint was that it interfered with his attempts to immerse himself in role play.  His solution was that the number of raids should be limited on RP servers.  (/blink.)

Some of the posters basically told him he was nuts.  Raiding is, after all, a big part of the game, and it wouldn't be fair to the other players to limit the number of raids.  Others differed with his definition of role play.  The entire game, they contended, was role play, because players who are human took control of characters of various races and did things they couldn't do in real life, in the context of the game.  And, as some of them said, what could be more in keeping with role play than to head out to kill the big monsters in a raid?

I do not role play, as some people define it, and I never have.  But I decided to reply, a little tongue-in-cheek.  I suggested that instead of limiting the number of raids, perhaps raid leaders should be encouraged to role play their Trade Chat spam:

"Fair people of Stormwind, today Obsidian ventures forth to BWD to kill the foul monster Nefarian! Alas, our brave and stalwart warrior has fallen ill, threatening the success of our venture. Is there no hero who will stand up and accept the call?"
The opening poster loved it.  I suspected he would, because I figured this was the kind of role play he preferred.  (The slightly over-the-top kind wherein people might make a macro to hit as they charge down from the starting cave in Alterac Valley, shouting motivational speeches about how they are going to decimate the Horde for the glory of the Alliance.  I used to hear it all the time at Society for Creative Anachronism court functions.)  It sort of sounds like something some of the Stormwind NPCs would say . . . or Oxhorn . . .

Interestingly enough, when I was in the SCA, I never considered it a role-playing game, although I suppose technically it was.  (A very expensive role-playing game. We got involved when my husband saw people fencing in period garb on our college campus.)  I approached it as an educationally-oriented non-profit society dedicated to the study and re-creation of Medieval history (as it should have been), so I didn't focus as much on developing a persona or staying in character as I did on learning various old-fashioned skills.  Oh, sure, I went along with a lot of the trappings, choosing a name and a nationality, as well as designing a device.  But my clothing ended up a hodgepodge of whatever I decided I liked and wanted to sew, rather than really focused on one period in time and one location.  (Everything from an Egyptian gawazee coat for dancing to an Elizabethan gown to more simple Scottish garb.)

But I knew others who really changed themselves depending on what persona they were playing that day, including clothing, trappings, speech and mannerisms.  Their personas had back stories, down to parentage, previous adventures, and their current opinions of the Crown.  Generally speaking, as long as people made an attempt to wear garb which could pass at 20 feet and didn't do something obvious like bring an electric guitar to play at camp during the wars, most people didn't worry about individual levels of involvement.  But we did have our "garb snobs" and other such people who felt their way of approaching the society was the right way, and others simply did not measure up.

Given that, I can understand something of the different opinions about WoW role play.  There will be some who figure that just being there in a simple t-tunic is sufficient, and there will be those who think that nothing less than displaying appropriate levels of obsequiousness to those of higher rank and station is correct.  There will be some who simply speak within the context of the game and avoid irrelevant topics, and there will be those who believe that all players should use copious emotes and formal language, complete with imagined accents.  (Unless, of course, their backstory requires they came from a low background and so did not learn polite language.)

I cannot judge those who RP in WoW, as I make no attempt at it, myself.  But I hope the opening poster of that thread can come to terms with other people's idea of role play, instead of making himself upset with something about which he can do nothing.

Friday, April 22, 2011

After the 20 Days

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.  I wonder if it sometimes takes only 20.  It seems a little funny not having a topic on a list to post today, after finishing the 20 Day challenge from Spellbound.  (Thanks to Kurn, through whom I found it . . .)

It was an interesting exercise, and at least it kept me posting frequently.  (I can't say it kept me writing every day, because there was a time there where I had to go on a trip, so I pre-wrote everything and just posted from my smartphone each day . . .)  I think, though, that the mentality that I would be writing more carried over outside the challenge.  I found I wanted to write a lot more about different things than I might have been otherwise inclined to do.  (Some are drafts which will probably never see the light of publication . . .)

Sometimes I felt I had revealed too much about myself.  For instance, I probably would have removed half of the "What Upsets Me" material, except for the subsequent events, which made for some interesting commentary.  I also wrote a long post about my favorite place out of game (which was allowed in the challenge), then decided readers would most likely rather hear about my favorite places in-game, with which they could relate.  So I kept that one in my Drafts folder and rewrote the topic.

It was interesting to see Kurn's take on the challenge, as well.  Sometimes we approached the topics from entirely different interpretations.  I guess that's something interesting about the challenge:  no two people will interpret the topic exactly the same.  (There is no "right answer"!)

And now, I'm revealing something else about myself, which is probably not too terribly surprising to anyone:  I get caught in analysis on trivia.  I finish a blogging challenge, and the first thing I do is sit here and analyze the experience.  /rolleyes.  As a writer, this isn't a really big deal, but it becomes a problem when you are faced with the purchase of an item you are not in the habit of buying regularly and get bogged down in "analysis paralysis" until you tire yourself out and just leave the store with nothing because the decision is too overwhelming.  (Yea . . .)

Now to figure out what I will write for the next 20 days . . . or something . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Good Night

Last night started out as a tough raiding night.

For once in the last two weeks, we had enough healers right at the start, but many of our ranged dps were absent.  Faced with the choices available to us (Nefarian, Al'Akir, or BoT), we chose to head to BoT with the 22 raiders we had, hoping more people would show up by the time we got through the trash.

We certainly gave them enough opportunity.

Out of the four mages on our roster, none showed up, which meant that our crowd control had to be a little creative.  (At least we had extra healers during those pulls, so more people lived, even if it took a while.)  It took an abominably long time to get through the trash on the way to Halfus.

We did not find ourselves with a full raid until we were ready to face Council.  And then someone left.  /sigh . . . There was much discussion on the wisdom of spending an hour wiping on Council for lack of dps, but recognizing that we could 24-man it if everyone was paying attention, we went ahead and pulled.  Not everyone was paying attention.  We wiped it after a couple of people died.  The second try produced the same result.

Our very patient guild leader had a few choice words for the raid at that point in time.  He emphasized that we will be recruiting more people, because apparently the number we have on the roster is insufficient to fill the raids.  He also reminded people that only they can improve their own personal performance.  I'm not relaying his message in its entirety, but it apparently had some positive effect.

After all the frustration and teeth-grinding, the next attempt went almost perfectly.  Nobody stood in the aoe.  Everyone remembered to get the wind/grounding debuffs.  Nobody failed on the lightning.  And the boss went down.

With an hour left in our regularly-scheduled raid, and recognizing that Cho'gall could prove to be a problem with our composition, we decided to do something different.  We told the raiders they could leave if they wanted, but if they so chose, they could help us get some guild raiding achievements in Burning Crusade content.  We needed 20 guildies, and they were welcome to bring alts.

The mood was lifted and brightened.  There was a scurrying to log on alts and get them invited to the raid.  In the end, we had 23 raiders who chose to come, using the raid summon function to get us from one point to another quickly.  After about 15 minutes, we had finished both Magtheridon and Gruul, and we were on our way to the Black Temple--the last Burning Crusade guild raid achievement left.

We raced down the halls through which we had struggled in the past--scenes of fond memories and remembered pain.  Somewhere in the merry confusion and the laughter, Tempest reached level 24.  We cheered without missing a beat and finally filed onto the platform where Illidan waited, brooding.

It was a good night, after all.

Day 20: The Last Day

If this was your last day playing WoW, what would you do?

Log off.

Seriously, if you've decided to quit, there's not much to do in-game which makes any sense.  But I guess there are some things I would do, anyway.

I would go through the herbs, flasks, and fish I have stashed away and donate them to the guild bank.

I would empty all the stuff floating around in my mailboxes and vendor them.  They'll be destroyed, otherwise, and it seems a waste.

I would probably send a little gold to my daughters, but not much. Really, they don't need a lot. The rest, I would probably give to a guildie of mine who is always broke. (Too many alts.)

And I would run a few random battlegrounds, just for the thrill of it.  No matter how long it has been between battlegrounds, and no matter how bad I really am at one-on-one PVP, I find playing in battlegrounds to be a real adrenaline high.  Might as well end on a high note.

I'm sure there will be those who smile knowingly and say, "You didn't vendor everything in your bank and you're not destroying all your gear.  You'll be back."  Maybe.  It seems a waste to totally burn bridges.  But if I've really made the decision to quit, it won't really matter.  I can leave those mementos in cold storage.  (Besides, it would be a real shame to vendor Val'anyr, even if I will never use it again.)

One thing is for certain:  at the very end, I would Teleport: Moonglade and find a nice place to sleep peacefully in the Emerald Dream.  Because that is where a Druid should end.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 19: My Stuff

What the stuff in my bags and bank says about me:

It says I procrastinate cleaning things out. There are some items I am pretty sure I will never use again--trinkets two expansions old, for instance, or anything from Wrath meant for feral use, which I never used to begin with--but I just haven't gotten around to pitching. (Maybe I should go do that today.)

It says I have a certain amount of sentiment relative to some items/experiences in the game. In my bag, I keep the Fortune Card sent to me by my GM, which just seemed to fit. In my bank, I have Wrath tier, as well as some other items I just don't want to get rid of yet. I have Memento of Tyrande, which dropped on our first Illidan kill. I have Val'anyr, of course, which needs no further explanation. I have a few seasonal items, which would probably be the first to go if I decided to seriously clean things out, because I know I could get those again if I really wanted to do so.

It says I like to be independent and prepared.  In my bank, I have a 36-slot herbalist bag, made by my mage alt, in which I store stacks of herbs gathered on two characters for cauldron flasks.  I also have up to two stacks of Seafood Magnifique feasts, waiting to be used in the next week's raiding.  In my bags, I have stacks of flasks and Stormvine, ready to be mixed into cauldrons.  (Knowing, of course, that cauldrons are soulbound, and not knowing if I will actually be the one who is called upon to drop them.  I might be better served passing the non-bound mats to another person chosen for the task.)  Although I know the chances are high we will have a mage in raid--we have four--I have at least two stacks of water, just in case.  Also just in case, I keep gear in my bags for playing balance, as well as pvp.  (Admittedly, I only have a couple of pieces for pvp, but it's a start.)

My bags also say I do not like to spend a lot of gold for little return.  Although there are larger bags available on the market, I have the unique-equipped bags I picked up in Wrath, as well as Frostweave bags made by  my mage alt.  I figure the cost required to get 2-4 more slots, in most cases, simply isn't worth it.

And, yes, that applies to me out of game, as well.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So My Priest Hit 85

And now I have a problem.

To be honest, I'm not sure I wanted her to hit 85.  Hitting 85 means that, except for the accumulation of gold, there is no point to questing.  Hitting 85 means that the only game left to her, really, is gearing, and she is not intending to raid.

I no longer have my favorite little "casual" character.  She's 85.

She could have dinged 85 a long time ago, if I had wanted her to ding.  But I stopped questing and employed her in gathering herbs for raising her Inscription.  (As one of our chief Inscriptors got banned, I figured we needed someone else to help make glyphs for the guild achievement.  That said, trying to sell glyphs is a pain in the neck.  Good thing I'm not really in it for the money.  I can just go gather herbs, mill them, make them into glyphs, and figure I'm helping the guild.)  This meant she spent a good deal of time within four (then three, then two) bars of 85.

Finally, I decided I needed to be able to go to Twilight Highlands, for something relating to her Inscription.  So I ran around with the prince of Stormwind, doing the quests to start her on the path for Twilight Highlands.  And then it happened.  She dinged.

Congratulations came in from the guild, to which I said, "Thanks."  But the moment was bittersweet.

Maybe next weekend or something, I'll feel inclined to play her a bit.  Maybe I'll even dust off my Discipline healing skill and run a regular lower-Cataclysm instance or something.  Maybe I'll run a bg or two (my mage made her some nice resilience stuff in the process of leveling Tailoring.)  But for now, I'll let her rest.

/whisper . . . I've been hiding out the last couple of days with my Worgen druid . . . She has no future once she joins up with the rest of the Alliance, but right now it's fun to see the story line.

Day 18: My Favorite Outfit

Generally speaking, I have approached my character's outfits with a practical frame of mind.  If the use of an item will make me a better player, I will deal with the ugliness, although I will be thankful when I can replace it with something nicer.

The first piece I had which I really enjoyed wasn't even tier.  Way back, when I was leveling slowly, my husband found something on the Auction House which he thought would be beneficial to me and picked it up.  It was the Big Voodoo Robe, a crafted item for a level 38 character.  (Wish I knew how to make those little boxes pop up to just show the stats, instead of putting in a link.)  It was the cutest outfit I had to that point, and the stats were good enough I wore it for several levels.  I had a blue shirt on beneath, which technically didn't match, but which ended up being good enough for me.  It made me feel pretty and somewhat individual, as not a whole lot of people actually ran around wearing it.

That kind of individuality is pretty much lost at end-game, it seems.  We all aim for the latest fashionable (or unfashionable) tier.

Monday, April 18, 2011


This post is not about the World of Warcraft.  You have been duly warned.

One of my daughters has pet rats.  Given that I have traditionally hated rodents to the point where I had battles with the family hamster, I'm sure this is surprising to some people.  She had begged and begged, and after many years of persistent begging (and research on her part), we finally capitulated and got her the supplies a year ago Christmas.

A couple of months later, we happened to be up in a city large enough to have pet stores, and we looked for pet rats.  Unfortunately, none of the pet stores had rats in stock.  In desperation, my husband decided to stop by a reptile store he was passing and ask them if they knew who might have pet rats for sale.  The man said he really didn't know, then he hesitated and said, "Well, actually, I have rats."

The reptile store bought rats from a breeder who bred them specifically for feeding to the snakes.  They were, therefore, chemical-free and very healthy.  My daughter selected two female rats--one a sort of champagne color and one two-toned, with a brown middle and white ends.  She named the two Sakura (Japanese for cherry blossom) and Daisy.

Rats are very social creatures, which is why we picked up two, instead of just one, but sometimes they take a little while to become accustomed to socializing with humans.  Sakura was friendly from the start.  Daisy required a bit more persuasion to be socialized.  My daughter took a small pouch with a strap and placed Daisy inside it.  Then she carried the pouch everywhere while she was at home.  In this fasion, Daisy grew accustomed to her, while feeling safe inside her little hiding place.  (My daughter originally used this for baby chicks which needed special attention.)  Soon both Sakura and Daisy were friendly and well-adjusted, sitting quite happily on her shoulders or playing on the keyboard tray of her desk while she did her homework.

I, who detested rodents, fell absolutely in love with my daughter's rats.

A few weeks ago, my daughter noticed that Sakura had a large lump, which has since grown.  She also developed an abcess on it, possibly from the rate of growth.  After much research and inspection, we believe she has a tumor, which is a common killer of female rats.  We called our vet, but he doesn't care for rodents, and the nearest one which might take care of rodents is about 2.5 hours away.  When we weighed the cost of the vet care to save her (if she could be saved at all), we realized it was more than we could afford.  We, along with our daughter, decided the best thing to do would be to care for her the best we could and give her a lot of love while she is still with us.  (We thought about dispatching her as things got worse, but between the fact that she's too small to dispatch cleanly, my daughter and me getting emotional at the idea, and the possible effects on Daisy if Sakura just disappears and she doesn't know why, we decided against that course of action.)

Accordingly, we've treated her infection the best we can, cleansing it and trying to keep her environment clean.  My daughter fixes the rats nightly "treats", including things such as leftover rice, grated carrot, and soy milk.  (Soy is supposed to assist in preventing tumors.  She hopes it will help Daisy.)  And she takes the rats out on the lawn in controlled conditions so they can run around and experience new things.  (Without having to worry about the cat or any owls.)

I do not think it will be much longer.  And now it is time to think of Daisy.

When Sakura goes, Daisy will need a new friend.  Unfortunately, the shop where we got Sakura and Daisy is five hours away, so traveling up there just to pick up a four-dollar rat (or two--we're planning ahead for when Daisy leaves in another couple years, so the new rat will still have a friend) seems a bit excessive.

Then we remembered the desert museum more local to us.  Perhaps they would have rat breeding contacts.

I called them today.  While they feed their snakes mice, instead of rats, one of their employees breeds rats to feed her own snakes.  Turns out I know her, from my CCW class.  She will be back at the museum tomorrow, and I will tell her my story and see if she can help us out with a couple of new rat friends.

I hope so, for Daisy's sake.

Day 17: My Favorite Spot In-Game

Throughout my WoW life, there have been several places which could vie for my favorite spot in-game.

1.  The Moonglade.  How could I not include the Moonglade?  The Druid's Refuge.  The simple way for a Druid to get from the Eastern Kingdoms to Kalimdor . . . the fast and easy location for respec, no matter where you started . . . the peaceful glade, with nothing to threaten the young Druid looking for a bit of quiet.

Once, I saw a Druid pointlessly kill a squirrel there, and when I asked him about it, he said, "He was looking at me funny."  Now, so many people kill critters that nobody even notices, but back then, the Moonglade was such a place of tranquility that it seemed almost sacreligious to cut down a squirrel in its prime.

The first time I saw someone in Moonglade who was not a Druid was the first time I felt any sense of danger there.  In my early days, no Druid would have dreamed to assault another Druid in the Moonglade.  Once, a Druid attacked me, but I think it was a misclick, and the guards killed him.

2.  As I leveled, going at a snail's pace and taking plenty of time for fishing, I discovered Feralas.  When my husband and I discussed where we would like to live if we were to live in any of the zones in-game, we both agreed that Feralas was a place where we could feel at home.  The lush greenery appealed to us two desert-dwellers, complete with a lovely river and ocean access.  (Although to be honest, my husband probably wouldn't like quite that much humidity.)  Sometimes I would just go to the area to soak up the green overdose and enjoy feeling like I was in a cooler location, breathing in the fresh air of the plant-rich environment.

I was sad to see that Feathermoon Stronghold had been destroyed and rebuilt on the continent.  Although I can understand the location is more convenient, it was kind of fun to be able to shift into water travel form and beat the boat going from the continent to the stronghold.

3.  In Burning Crusade, I discovered Nagrand.  Who wouldn't love gorgeous green scenery with floating islands supporting waterfalls being fed by unknown means?  I loved questing there, because it was so easy to get so much done, all while surrounded by the refreshing greenery and the pastel sky.  When I made my first mini-page for Anachan, attached to my family webpage (but not actually linked from it, because, again, my parents wouldn't have been particularly happy to hear I was still playing . . . when do you outgrow the desire to please your parents? Or should you?), I made divider graphics from the pastel skies of Nagrand, cropped to thin rectangles.  For a while, my desktop background was from a screenshot I took of the Nagrand scenery, which brought a smile to my face and peace to my heart.

4.  In Northrend, I loved Howling Fjord and Ulduar, but I've already written about those.

It's difficult to say if I have a favorite spot in the new Cataclysm zones.  Of course, I'd have to like Mount Hyjal, at least the pretty parts.  I play a Druid, after all.  And if I had a real reason to be there more often, I'd probably go.  But by and large, I'm usually focused so much on results these days--getting mats for things, reaching a goal, etc.--that I haven't been taking the time to sit down and look around me as much. 

I guess my favorite spot in-game right now is any place where I am with my guildies, working toward a goal.

And maybe Arathi Basin.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Day 16: Things I Miss (Post Cataclysm)

I miss the old Guild Relations Forum.  I think we lost a lot of good contributors when it disappeared and then reappeared in another form, quite a while later.

I miss the Wrath healing style.  On the bright side, however, I can just accept that I won't always top the meters and focus on doing my job.  There were times in Wrath when, if the Druids weren't topping the meters, we were probably doing something wrong.  I tend to assign myself to tank healing because I have a defined success:  if the tank lives, and if I live, I've succeeded, no matter what the meters say.  (We have/had one Resto Druid who consistently showed higher on the meters than I do.  I suspected he was tossing heals in quadrants other than his assignments, so I just started assigning him raid healing, since he was going to do it anyway.  It's called "playing to his strengths," *ahem*.  Not sure how he managed to maintain his mana through it all.)

I miss the Stormwind Park.  I remember training there while leveling, and it was always nice and peaceful, as if I had a little bit of the Moonglade stuck in the middle of the city.  It's sad they chose to have Deathwing destroy it, but I guess it really was the part of the city which would affect the game least by its destruction.

I miss not having to follow quest chains in a certain area "just so".  True, the story lines are tighter, which is nice, but it reduces the individuality available.  (What if you just don't want to do xyz that day?  You're kind of stuck, unless you go play on a different character or in a different zone.)

Really, I've become used to the fact that the game changes.  Why dwell on what I miss when whatever I miss is gone and there's nothing I can do about it?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 15: My Desktop Background

Long, long ago (in a galaxy far, far away . . .) I used to like very large, elaborate and colorful desktop backgrounds.

Then my computer lagged behind the software I was using.  My brother-in-law suggested that having such complicated backgrounds might be taking up more memory than I wanted, so I went to very small and simple backgrounds.

After a while, I realized I actually liked less complex backgrounds, because I tend to clutter my desktop with icons.  If I have a complex background, it makes it difficult to see the icon clutter.

For a long time, after I got Memento of Tyrande, I had a picture of Tyrande in the center, with the outside all black.  And that was all.

I finally decided it was time to change.  After looking around, I decided upon the Night Elf crest, which is placed on a black background:

And that is all there is to it.  I have this in the center, and the rest is black.

Now, my computer could handle a more complex background--it's a far cry from that computer which was having trouble--but first, I'd have to declutter my desktop.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 14: What Upsets Me

Children who do not get up in the morning when I call.

Seriously, not a whole lot really upsets me in game.  The things which do, I have already written about in this blog.  People who are condescending, those who are disloyal, etc., tend to annoy me.  But it's reasonably simple, when your primary communication is a chat window, to keep such things to oneself or at least keep them in controlled quarters.  Just don't type.

(Unlike real life . . . I had an incident happen a couple of months ago when I was in a training session from which I almost walked out.  I'm the wife of the director where I work, although I do not report to him officially, so when the training facilitator asked people what caused them stress, of course there was a lot of ranting against my husband.  Now, I see the flip side of the coin--how he works for half what he could have worked for because he believes in the cause, how he gave up every hobby he had and loved because his job took so much time, how he gave up most of his opportunties to see his family because of his job (we pretty much assume we can't plan on him), how his vision brought the facility from something which didn't know its purpose to something recognized on the national stage in our arena (not exaggerating), doubling the number of employees.  Because of this, they have steady employment in a rural area with very little economic opportunity (he is always conscious of the fact that his decisions affect about 90 people, which is also a source of stress).  And here they were, insulting him to my face--the ultimate disloyalty not only to him and his efforts, but to me, who realized that although I could get along with everyone there, I really had no friends.  I don't know if it was just ignorance on their part or selfishness, but I vowed I would never again attend one of those training sessions, because I could not bear to go through that again.  The only way I managed to make it through that experience without totally coming out with something I shouldn't have said or walking out in tears was by furiously scribbling Japanese characters in my notebook.  Using that as my focus, I could maintain a somewhat controlled and dignified calm, but I almost lost it.)

What used to really annoy me is not being in the screenshot for a boss first kill, regardless of the reason I was not there.  (Hmmm, I think I've mentioned this in this blog before.)  I consider it a great step forward that my guild killed Nefarian for the first time a week ago, and although I couldn't be there because my daughters had a drama performance, I was only slightly disappointed.  There was a time when I really would have pouted about it inside.  (By the way, the girls did great in their play.)  It's a lot harder if I have to be in Vent and not be in the raid for a boss first kill.

Really, the statement that something upsets me is the wrong way to look at it, I think.  I have to remember that nothing can upset me if I do not choose to let it do so.  Therefore, when I become upset, it is because I have allowed myself to become upset.  When I remember that, it empowers me to choose not to become upset, which is very liberating.

I still permit myself to become upset when children do not get up and get dressed when I call them in the morning.

Note:  I probably shouldn't have written this one at work.  Not too long afterward, a fellow employee who specializes in constant complaining went off about stuff, including my husband.  Having written this just before, the emotions were still rather raw.  (And in addition, I had a health scare the previous day, which didn't help my mental state.)  I totally lost it.  Nobody here has ever seen me lose it before.  (Now, me losing it consists of tears and telling him what's what.  No yelling, no abusive language, etc., but I'm sure that doesn't surprise you.  (There was a witness.)  I told my husband ruefully afterward on the phone--he's travelling--and he commented, "Well, maybe good things will come of it."  I can only hope so.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 13: People (players/bloggers) That I Admire

There are several people whom I respect and admire, but I will only mention a few here.  Not too surprisingly, the ones which come to mind first are those with qualities I do not possess, but wish I did.

Evol and Rhaina are two players who played a large role in the Guild Relations Forum.  Evol, I believe, still posts on the new version.  I don't think I've seen Rhaina lately, but I haven't been following as closely as I used to do.  Evol has great insight and took the time to put together references so people could take advantage of the resources available there.  Rhaina was a female guild leader, older than me, with real life experience she applied successfully to guild leadership.  Through her, I learned a lot of basic leadership principles which I may or may not apply successfully.  I admire these two because they were able to discern the root of a problem and offer good advice without passing judgement on the person asking the question.  I hope that I will be able to learn this and apply it not only to my duties as a healing lead, but also in my real life, with my children.

The other person I will mention is my guild leader, Namelessone.  (Really, I am not trying to curry favor, lol.)  In the time I have known him, he has always been fair in his dealings with people, as well as merciful.  He believes the best in people until they prove they do not deserve it, and he is willing to give people more than one chance.  (This is the biggest complaint against him by those who are more competitive.)  He is also calm and reasonable when dealing with problems.  There have been times when I have been somewhat upset and venting about something, and he has come back with a thoughtful question putting the issue into perspective. 

I think you can tell from these that I value wisdom and the ability to make clear evaluations and decisions.  Maybe someday I will pick up a bit of these qualities here and there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 12: A usual day in my life/online time

Usual day in my life . . .  I'll stick with a raiding day.  (It's easier to predict.)

5:45:  Alarm rings.  I go call the girls to get up and head to the kitchen to make hot chocolate in my hot chocolate maker.

5:55:  Remind the girls to get up and praise the ones who have.

6:05:  Start getting a bit mad at the girl who hasn't gotten out of bed yet.  Remind her to feed her rats and remind my eldest to feed her dog BEFORE she gets to fixing her hair.  (Remember, the dog can't feed himself, and it's not fair to make him wait.)

6:15:  Stare at that last daughter until she gets her clothes on and gets out of bed.

6:20:  Pray and read scriptures with the girls, discussing topics and drinking hot chocolate as we go along.  Maybe do some key scripture reference practice, where they compete to see who can identify the scripture and find it in their books first. (They have breakfast at school, and most of them aren't hungry at this time in the morning.)

6:40:  End scripture study and send the girls off to get their teeth brushed.

6:50:  Remind the girls to put their backpacks on so they will be ready when the bus comes.

6:55:  Bus.  Get the girls out the door.  Go get dressed if I haven't been able to fit it in earlier.

7:05:  Kiss husband, leave the house to get to work.  (Yes, you can tell how much time I spend fixing my hair.  The advantage of keeping it kind of longish.  The ladies here would kill me if they knew how long it took for me to get ready . . .)

WORK.  Lunch somewhere in there.  Work is a lot of stuff done at the computer, mostly.  Honestly not terribly interesting most days.

4:40 pm:  Call the house to remind the girls (especially 2nd daughter) to start working on homework.

5:30:  Go home.  Start working on dinner.  Check up on girls with homework.  Send some girls to the stable to feed the horses.  Toss a load of laundry in the washing machine.

6:30:  Dinner.

6:45:  Dishes.  Check laundry.

7:15:  Get the two little girls ready for bed.

7:30:  Raid time.  Make sure 2nd daughter is seated at her desk if she has homework she hasn't finished.

8:00:  Sneak away (ok, not sneak--but manage to get away) to tuck in the little girls.  Give hugs, kisses, rub noses.  Sing silly song, and start a CD playing.

9:00:  Remind the teenagers it is time for bed, as it is a school night.  Give kisses as desired.

9:30:  Raid break time.  Make a smoothie or get a glass of water for husband.  Find the almonds or get a bowl of cereal or whatever other snack he is wanting.  Make hot chocolate or get a glass of water for myself.

11:30:  End of raid.

11:45:  Sleeping.

My showers are snuck in between things, such as when dinner is in the oven and such.  I only take about 10 minutes, anyway, from start to being dressed, with wet hair.  (My eldest daughter attended New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) for a while, where the females were only allowed 3-minute showers.  A lot of us, including myself, tend to take NMMI showers these days.  Some might call it "environmentally friendly."  We call it "making sure there is enough hot water for everyone.")  Last night, my NMMI shower happened during raid break.  (And, yes, I was back on time.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 11: Bad Habits and Flaws

Bad habits and flaws?  You expect me to admit these?

I've already mentioned the movement and clicking aspects with which some people may take issue.  I'm not sure they are totally bad habits, though, given the healing tools and role.

One bad habit is that in the first hour of raid, I may not be paying as close attention as I should be doing.  This is because I may be coaching my second daughter through her homework.  (Remember, her desk faces mine for a reason.)  Fortunately, that hour usually consists of trash and farm bosses, so it's not really a big deal.  But, really, coaching my daughter is more important.

One of my biggest flaws is that I am loyal to a fault.  Sometimes my husband has asked me if my loyalty has been well-placed, which really is the $64,000 question.  To be honest, the worst thing a guild can do to me is to prove that my loyalty in them was misplaced.  Overnight, I can turn from being the most staunch, stalwart person to being gone.  (This is what happened with The Shadow Guards, way back on Warsong.  I was the third longest member of the guild at that point, and when it hit me in the face, I turned around and left.)  On the flip side, I absolutely bristle if someone tries to speak against my guild/friend/family/etc.  (The bad part about this is that sometimes the person might be speaking truth, and I have a hard time seeing it.)

I am also a horrible housekeeper, and my daughter management skills need work.  Housekeeping seems to be an exercise in futility:  no matter how well I do it, it has to be done again the next day.  (Can you sense a bit of procrastination here?)  If I was a really good manager, I wouldn't have to worry about the housekeeping, because, as the Country Bunny in the old story, I'd have my kids doing a good deal of it.  And sometimes I try.  But I get so tired of cajoling, persuading, threatening, or whatever else I have to do to get them to do stuff, after they've come home from school and I've come home from work, that it just doesn't seem worth the effort.  (And, after all, I want them to like being home--to feel it is a haven.  Therein lies the quandary.)  I've recently started working a 4-10 work schedule, just so I can have an extra day off to work on my house.  The girls only have a 4-day school week, so they are home, as well, and I can get them to help out.
I'm pretty sure I have more.  But I think this is enough for now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 10: Blog/Website Favorites

Blog favorites:  Look to the right.  ;)

That is not a complete list of all the blogs on my reading list, however.  I'm still discovering.  :)

WoW Website favorites:

I like to hit Tankspot for strat videos.
Wowhead, of course.
I go to the official World of Warcraft site, but I don't browse the forums as closely as I used to do.
Of course, Tempest's web site.

Non-WoW Website favorites:

Drudge Report
Amazon  (When you live in the sticks, you order a lot of stuff.)
Rush Limbaugh (Yep, I'm a "Rush Babe".)
Reuters' Oddly Enough  (They do manage to collect some interesting stories.)
LDS site (Official church website for members.  As a Sunday School teacher, I find it handy to be able to look up curriculum and resources easily.  The site geared toward non-members, with more basic information, is at

(I will refrain from being so tasteless as to link my own blog as a favorite website, lol, but I sure do spend a good deal of time here.)

Day 9: My First Blog Post

Oooops!  Should have posted this yesterday.  (Jet lag?  Will you buy that?)

This seems a silly topic.  After all, you can just look in my blog history to see my first blog post for this blog.

But in a manner of speaking, this isn't my first blog.  Years ago (Wow--before 2000), I created a family website, mostly so I could have a "web presence", so old friends could find me if they wanted.  (Facebook wasn't around.)  I started on a free service called "Angelfire", then moved to "Geocities".  Later on, we moved it to our own domain, hosted by Godaddy, and there it sits, not updated for the past three years . . .

I had a page with books I recommended.  I had a page linking to some of my bad poetry.  I had a page with recipes.  I had a page "About Me", mostly so I could have a place for my full name, including maiden name.  (For those old friends who may not have known my married name.)  And I had one oddball page with a colorfully-told (in my opinion) story of my battles with the family hamster.

I didn't really consider it a blog--I didn't know what a blog was at that time--but it was my first foray into web publishing.  I had to code the HTML when I first started it, which meant I did some learning from on-line tutorials and discovered the joy of looking at someone else's webpage and reading the code to see how they did something.  Web publishing has come a long, long way since then, but that page is still the simple thing it was, and when I finally get around to updating it, I will not change that aspect.

I will not link to that page, because that really would be more information than I am willing to give out in conjunction with this blog.  I had thought to leave you with one of my pieces of bad poetry, but then I Googled it and found it lead right to my family page . . . (Bing didn't have me in the first 5 pages.  Didn't look after that.)

Oh, well.  You can live without more of my bad poetry.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 8: 10 Things You Don't Know About Me

Ten things in-game you don't know about me:

1.  I spent a good deal of leveling time in Ashenvale and almost all my time in Stranglethorn Vale in stealthed cat form because of the Horde.  I was a real chicken, and I hated being ganked.

2.  I combination keyboard turn and mouse turn.  Hey, why lock yourself into just one?  It's hard to mouse move while healing with mouseover techniques, but there are times when keyboard turning just won't do the job.  (Obviously.)  When I'm just traveling, I tend to mouse move.  It's easier.

3.  I click.  At least as a healer I have an excuse:  Vuhdo or Grid and Clique.  Call me bad; at this point, I simply don't care.  (If I ever got serious about playing a dps character, I'd bind.  But questing with my shadow priest just doesn't require it.)

4.  Anachan learned First Aid at level 60, only because I read a guide on soloing the spider in LBRS for the boots, and it recommended learning First Aid for the attempt.  (Never did attempt soloing.  Did a stealth 3-man run and got the boots the first try.)

5.  Anachan learned Cooking at level 70 because I had a suspicion I was going to be server-transferring, so I was not going to be able to send my fish to my friend who would cook them for me anymore.

6.  Anachan leveled Fishing early.  I ran down to Booty Bay way before I should have been able to go there, just for the fishing.  I fished in Southshore with my character in her teens, before any fish schooled, and sold the Oily Blackmouth on the AH.  (In sets of 4, because that was the amount required for one potion and there was no AH deposit for that size stack.  A stack of 4 sold for about 35 silver or so at the time on my server.)  This is how I got my 100 gold for my first riding mount.

7.  I spent hours and hours fishing because I had eye surgery and couldn't see well for several weeks.  As long as my pointer was generally positioned over the fishing bobber, I could hear when the bobber splashed and click at the right time.  I used to say I fished "by sound."

8.  I don't drink alcohol in-game.  (I don't drink alcohol out of game, either.  Of course, I do a lot of things in-game that I don't do out of game, but in-game alcohol drinking is usually unnecessary, so I choose not to do it.)

9.  My first Horde character, made in BC to visit the Blood Elf lands, was a mage named Anachan.  (Such originality in names, hm?)  She only made it to level 20, when she had to leave the BE lands.  I just couldn't bring myself to associate with the rest of the Horde.  (I couldn't even do the quest which required killing Night Elves . . . waaay too overdeveloped sense of loyalty.  I have since managed to get a BE hunter to level 50, but she was started much later in Wrath, and I was playing her primarily so I could chat with friends who had faction-changed, so the circumstances were different.)

10.  I think I really used to be addicted to WoW, although I did not want to admit it.  The need to log on and accomplish something every day was almost physical in its strength.  The best thing I can say about Cataclysm is that it has cured me of this intense need.  I am no longer addicted.  There are some nights (non-raid nights) when I sit down, log on, look at my character screen, and think, "Why?"  The other night, I sat down, logged on, looked at my character screen, thought "Why", logged off, and painted a wall in my kitchen.  It is a lovely blue.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 7: Blog Name Reason

To be honest, I've already talked about this one.
If a group of Druids could be considered a grove, then "Thoughts From the Grove" just sort of fits. (I apologize for the over-short post. I meant to add more, but my smartphone is choking on WYSIWYG entry. The challenge of trying to edit and post on travel ...)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Day 6: Workplace/Desk

There is no way I will put a picture of my workplace here.  I doubt I will ever take a picture at all, to be honest.

Our family lives in a three-bedroom house.  Fortunately, the master bedroom is so huge, my husband and I decided to give it to the girls.  Their three bunkbeds (two with full-size beds on the lower bunk), fit in less than one half of the room.  (You read that right--less than one half, even with nightstands in between the bunkbeds.)  There is room in there for chests of drawers, as well as space to play, even space to play on the Kinect.  My husband and I have one of the smaller bedrooms (which still fits our king-size bed and a bunch of drawers.)

The third bedroom is the "catch-all" room.  In this room, there are three sets of wire shelves about the size of rhino racks (18"x3', 18"x4'), one reasonably large bookcase (poor books are double-shelved), two 2-drawer filing cabinets, two gun safes, and two fairly small desks, sitting back to back.  (There was another shorter bookcase in there, but I moved it to another room.)  The closets are full of sewing stuff, a fire safe, a couple of boxes with assorted computer-related cables I have to have my husband go through and pitch, some of my lesser-used but still occasionally useful clothing, and more than half of my husband's shirts.  (He has way more clothing than I do.)  On one of the walls is a hat rack made of deer antlers from a hunt my husband's grandfather went on years ago, and on another wall is a hat rack made of horseshoes.  (They are both full of hats, by the way.)

I sit at one of the desks, with my back to the wall holding the hats, facing the door.  I purposely put my desk that way when we moved in, so while I was on the computer, I could see the kids in the living room and keep tabs on any shenanigans.  (I have since developed a sense that I don't like to have my back to people when I am on the computer.  It gives me the creeps.)  One of the wire shelf sets is next to my desk, forming a sort of wall next to me, holding my computer, UPS, and printer.  My widescreen monitor is on my desk, and my G15 keyboard and 5-button mouse are on a nice, wide keyboard drawer.  (The wide keyboard drawer is why I chose this desk out of the two used desks which were given to us.)  I keep a stack of various papers all over my desk, which I occasionally go through, sort, and destroy.  (Usually in that stack are a bunch of notes about gear, encounters, etc.)

It sounds pretty chaotic, and it actually is.  I keep trying to brainstorm, figuring out ways to rearrange the room to still allow functionality, but make it seem more orderly.  But until I take a measuring tape and graph paper, I don't think I will be successful.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 5: Favorite Item(s) in Game

Right now, my favorite item in game is my Chef's Hat.

When I toss down a cooking fire, it's usually so I can turn out 20-40 feasts or something.  Now, I have never liked crafting time.  When I started working again on my mage's tailoring, I would get the cloth, click the button to turn it into bolts of cloth, and alt-tab out.  Watching the crafting time tick by was agonizing.

It used to be the same way with cooking.  And then . . . they gave the vanity Chef's Hat a use.  I actually wasn't going to buy one until that happened, but then it suddenly became worth the cost.

With my Chef's Hat equipped, I don't even bother alt-tabbing.  It's actually kind of fun to watch how quickly each feast is being made.

Makes me grin.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 4: Best WoW Memory

That's a tough one.  Could it be when I managed to reach my Commander rank?  How about downing Archimonde or Yogg-Saron?  Could it be Herald of the Titans?  Or the honor and elation at being chosen to receive Val'anyr?  But I've already written about those.

There is one night which may not have been terribly spectacular, but which was very memorable.

My eldest daughter had raised her Death Knight to level 72 or something, and my husband had raised his tanking paladin to about the same level.  I was decked out in Ulduar healing gear.  (Yea, a certain amount of disparity.)

Normally, my daughter and I did not play with my husband very often.  Throughout our WoW experience, his patience had been somewhat lacking, which meant that if one or the other of us didn't play as he thought we should, we would find ourselves the target of a lot of disparaging remarks and minor losses of temper.  This didn't do much toward making us better players (some people thrive under the put-downs of the drill sergeant; some people lose their minds even more.)  At any rate, although we wanted to play with him, we had learned it generally did not end well, no matter how pleasantly started.  It got to the point where I outright refused to play with him and told him exactly why.

But this day, he promised he would control his temper.  (We cautiously decided to give him a chance.)  He thought it would be fun if we ran some instances together, as a family.  We set up everyone's computers in the same room, so we could talk directly with each other, and prepared for the experiment.

We entered Utgarde Keep and prepared to face the first pull.  Coaching our daughter on basic dungeon techniques ("Target the tank's mob", etc.), my husband's pally pulled, and off we went.  Each pull was carefully planned, and I both healed and dps'd.

We finished the dungeon in record slow time, I think, but we finished.  Elated, we went to another instance, then another.  We went farther than we would have thought we could have made it, with just the three of us.  We were slow, but we were successful.

After a few hours of this, it was time to quit.  There were no losses of temper, and the evening actually ended better than it began.  We never did do this exercise again, but that night remained in our memories as proof that when you work together and communicate, you can accomplish much more than you might have thought possible.

Monday, April 4, 2011

From Chicken to Champion, Part II

Last night, my daughter purchased Artisan Riding.  What is remarkable is that, unlike her sister or even her dad, she saved all the money herself.

At one point, when she was about halfway there, I had thought about handing her the rest of the funds.  But something held me back.  She was doing a great job sending things to my auction character to auction for her--greens, blues, copious amounts of leather, and whatever else had some monetary value.  I knew that it would be even more rewarding for her to accomplish this big goal and know she could do what she set her mind to do.

Seeing the look on her face, I'm glad I didn't steal that satisfaction from her.

You go, girl!

Day 3: First Day of Playing WoW

I'll be frank:  I don't remember it very well.  It was a long time ago.

My first day of playing WoW was about 2 days after Vanilla came out.  I was a little leery about starting another MMO, but my husband really wanted us to be able to play together, along with his brother and sister-in-law.

Previously, we had played Dark Age of Camelot, and I had discovered I had a strong tendency to become addicted.  When my youngest daughter was born, we quit playing, because I would be busy with the baby, and it seemed a good time to be able to just quit with less trouble.  I was, therefore, concerned about addiction when my husband wanted us to start WoW some 20 months later.  Despite my concerns, my husband installed WoW on my computer and set up my account.

I had not read anything about the available classes, but my husband had.  We knew we would be playing Alliance, because his brother had already decided to play Alliance.  I knew I wanted some sort of healing ability, because my DAOC character had not had any healing, and I had realized what an advantage it would be to have it.  My husband suggested playing a Druid, which could turn into different animals.  ("They what?  Why?")  Well, he showed me the trailer, and there was something rather fascinating about the Druid there (and they had healing abilities), so I figured I would give it a try.

I chose the name Anachan because it had been my long-time web name, and why not?  My husband helped me understand how the abilities went together (pulling with a long cast time spell, then tossing on a DoT, then maybe a root, then the general damage spell, using a heal when necessary (or even stacking heals before a pull)).  At least he had the good sense to teach me the principles behind it, so I didn't need him to teach me when I finally did roll another class later on.

My game play was nothing remarkable, as I recall it now.  I was happy that WoW had a lot of quests, unlike DAOC, which could start to feel like you were out killing things for no reason.  And I liked Teldrassil; it was pretty and peaceful.  I played for a while, then logged off.  I was in no hurry.

And that was Day 1.

I had another Day 1, in a manner of speaking, some time later.  I really didn't play very long before we decided to just quit playing.  We had a lot of other things to do (kids, house, homeschooling, horses, SCA, church) so we figured we didn't need to spend the time on WoW.

A few months later, we moved from what I thought was a rural area to a really, really rural area.  There were no homeschooling groups to break the routine for my daughters or myself.  There were very few opportunities for me to socialize at all.  I was living across the street in these isolated conditions from my parents-in-law.  I didn't like the landscape.  It was 50 miles to go grocery shopping.  There was a certain amount of danger in the air, because of the illegal drug-runners crossing the border and passing through our pastures.  (And lest you think I am exaggerating, yes, we saw them passing through our pastures or found the empty burlap packs under our bushes.  I learned to shoot a gun, just in case.)  And it seemed half my day was taken up in watering trees planted around the house so they wouldn't just die--an arduous process which involved moving three hoses to wells beneath trees over about an acre. (Carrying my gun.)

I started sinking into a mild depression.  And it was in this circumstance that my husband said, "Why don't we reactivate your WoW account?"  Again, I worried about the addiction issue, but he insisted that it would give me something to look forward to and enjoy.  And so I sat back down to the computer to reacquaint myself with my Druidic abilities.

It felt something like meeting up again with an old friend.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 2: Why Blog?

I like to write.  I always have.

When I was a teenager, I did copious amounts of hand-written journalling.  (Now, they make me laugh, but at the time, I was very serious about it all.)  As a young college student with my own computer (*gasp*), I started journalling on my computer, but I printed everything out, as well, mindful that formats may change, etc.  (Especially since, back then, we had 5.25-inch floppies for backup, which were very fragile.)  I still have all those journals, tucked away.  Maybe someday I'll let my kids read them, if they can decipher my handwriting and if they don't get too bored.

My teachers always thought I would become a writer someday, so I figured one day I would write a book.  But as time has gone on, I have realized I don't really like to write novels or fiction much, in general.  I have tried--I really have--thinking that maybe I would turn out some great novel which would enable my family to have financial security, or even some not-so-great novel I would publish under a pseudonym which would just help to pay the bills.  But although I have documented my basic premises and even done some character development, those projects quickly lose my interest.  They are saved, though, in case I ever catch fire.

I do, however, enjoy essays based upon personal experience.  (No surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog, I'm sure.)  And I find that writing is a great way for me to think things through or collect and organize my own thoughts.  It's cathartic, helping me work through emotions, as well, and helping me make sense and learn from my own experience.  (And I've always wondered what is the use of my going through certain trials if I cannot pass on that experience to others, as well.  Ask my children:  I frequently teach them by stories from my own experience.  Luckily, they love me enough to sometimes ask to hear them again.)

So, really, I started this blog because I enjoy writing and I benefit greatly by the exercise.  The subject matter is removed enough from my private life that I don't worry about publishing it, because it's not overly personal (except the ones I don't actually publish and, perhaps, except for my one about Raiding and Autism), and it is one with which I can have a lot of fun.  I've also found that there are a lot of things which go on in the WoW game experience which can be applied to real life situations, as well, and I learn from those when I write about them.

I make no claims to being a superb WoW analyst or anything, just someone who writes commentary.  Like some of the people who write opinion columns, I see things happening and like to write about them.  (Preferably in generalized terms, so the people involved will not feel like there are fingers pointing at them.  That's where I differ from the columnists, lol.)

While I never expect great things or large audiences, it is nice to know there are some who do enjoy reading my scribblings.  I still keep a record of the countries from which people have discovered my blog.  (I'm up to 32 countries, as of yesterday!)  When one lives in a rural area, it is nice to feel that there are other people out there with whom they can communicate, even a little bit.  It's like someone out there reached out their finger and touched mine, much as Michelangelo's picture of God giving life to Adam.

Anyway, it's not very spectacular (I didn't wake up one morning and think, "I have so much to tell the world, I've just gotta blog!"), but that's about it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

20 Days of Blogging?

Soooo, Kurn decided to take up Spellbound's 20 Days of Blogging challenge.  I thought it sounded interesting, so I took a look at it.  The trouble is that some of the items in the challenge may make for some pretty short blogs, either because I don't have much to say about it or because, as in the case of Day 1, I may not want to say too much.  (Then again, I've been known to be able to write pages and pages when I didn't think I had anything to say.)

But I think I'll give it a go.

Day 1:  Introduce Yourself

I thought I had done something like this way back when I started the blog.  But I guess it is pretty sparse.  I had some concerns about privacy, so I kept it very, very simple.  I've mentioned more along the way, though, so I guess I don't mind giving out a little more information.

You can call me Anachan or Ana for short.  I have been withTempest on Gorgonnash server for coming up on three years and have been the healing lead for almost a year.  In my past, I have played moonkin and tanked in raids, but I am much better at healing and vastly prefer it.  (Ok, that tanking episode was probably a big mistake . . . but I can at least say I've done it and I understand a bit about the challenges tanks face.)

I am a 40-something married female living in the American southwest, close to the Mexican border.  I have five daughters--yes, five, and they are all girls--ranging in age from 16 to almost 8.  We belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormons.)  When I was 21, I served an 18-month mission for my church, in Osaka, Japan.  I am not fluent in Japanese, as I once was, but I do still teach my children a little here and there.

Someone once told me I should come with a warning label, because I do not appreciate profanity (yay, profanity filter), so I put one in my guild forum signature:  "Politically conservative, religiously Mormon.  Now you know."  Really, neither one comes up in conversations, unless someone asks me questions in whispers, which is appropriate.  But the statement defines a lot about me.

I do work, but I am not really going to go into what I do.  Mostly it's a bunch of on-line research and paperwork.  My degree, however, was in physics education.  I started in physics, then decided I didn't see myself in a lab, so switched my focus to secondary ed.  I never did end up teaching on contract in a classroom, but I did end up teaching my children at home for five years after my 2nd daughter exhibited autistic traits which her school could not manage.  So that degree did not go to waste.  (The girls are now in a different public school, where they are famous for their mathetmatics ability, but my 2nd daughter will come home at the end of this school year to study for the GED, because of the harrassment of her classmates.)

I don't watch a lot of TV or movies, but I do the odd bit of reading.  Recently, I got a Thunderbolt, so I've been enjoying free books for the Kindle app.  I like listening to custom music channels on Pandora.  I like various crafts, from knitting to lacemaking (vestiges of when I played with the Society for Creative Anachronism) to embroidery.  And, obviously, I like to write and create cheesy poetry.  (Used to take myself a lot more seriously, lol . . .)

That's probably more than enough for now.  ;)