Friday, September 30, 2011

Screenshots and Smiles

So I had three days of constant tears, then another four or so when I unexpectedly burst out in tears at least once a day.  There were times when I wanted to log on, but I didn't think I really could.  It's odd not being part of the group.  I may pop on a little this weekend, on my fishing alt . . . after all, someone has to help keep the guild in fish, and my time hasn't run out.  Might as well spend it in serving some useful purpose.

(On the bright side, when I saw the new application from an elitist high school student on the guild website, after I got done unwrinkling my face in pained amazement, the thought crossed my mind, "Oh, boy, I'm glad I don't have to deal with this person.")

One thing I have really enjoyed (found comforting? helped me through the mourning process?) the last few days has been going over my screenshots.  I don't have a lot of them, really, and what I have is Wrath and beyond, pretty much.  The kids inherited my old computer, which just died, so I can't access my older ones on their hard drive until we get that hand-me-down computer which has been offered us.

But, oh, such fun to see old names and faces and to laugh at the memories of the little things . . . Like the time I solo-healed Beasts . . . Granted, I was in ToC heroic gear with possibly a couple of ICC pieces at the time, if I recall correctly . . .

Some guildies wanted to put together a 10-man ToC alt run one weekend and asked if I'd come along to help heal.  I had nothing else going on, so I joined the raid and prepared for a fun evening.  (Remember, Druid healing in Wrath was actually a lot of fun.)  The ready check passed, the tank pulled, and off we went.

As the encounter proceeded, I realized I was having to work a lot harder on the healing than I expected.  It was mildly disturbing, watching life bars hovering around mid-health, frantically trying to spread the healing around so people would stay alive, and wondering what was wrong with me, as I was used to healing quickly, but being able to keep people reasonably topped.  (Especially with this kind of a gear disparity . . .)

Somewhere along the encounter, I turned on my Recount and realized the 2nd person on the healing meters was the Ret Pally (or was he tanking in this encounter . . . I don't remember).

In choppy chat, I managed to ask if I was the only one healing.  There was laughter as people realized I was, indeed, the only one healing.

We successfully completed the encounter, which certainly gave me a run for my money (and my mana).  It felt good, though, to have met and conquered the challenge, made all the more challenging for its unexpected nature.

One of the guildies leading the raid apologized and said she really had thought she'd picked up another healer.  (Then asked the elemental shammy if he wouldn't mind going into his healing off-spec.)  We all had a good laugh about the incident and continued on in a slightly more relaxed fashion.

My screenshot shows the final healing meters from the encounter, as well as the laughing chat from the group.

I have some portrait screenshots, including one in Ulduar with another Resto Druid with whom I healed a lot until real life took him away from the game.  (As a bonus, it also includes my husband's hunter's pet, during the brief time he raided with us.)  There's a portrait of myself and the last other remaining Tempest Herald of the Titans title-bearer, after the others had server-transferred, before he, too, left for real life concerns.  There is a casual portrait of a few of the guild members in ICC, while we wait for . . . something . . . I'm not sure what.

The last two Heralds in the guild.
You can tell my husband and I have children, or, at least, we watch children's movies.  ;)

Casual "family portrait"

And then there is the upward-angled picture of the guild falling slowly into Anub'arak's lair, after we've all been Levitated . . . And the one of our very first Val'anyr proc ever.  (One of the rogues asked if I would proc it by healing him--he wanted to be the first one on whom it proc'd.  So I did.)  There is the parade of consecutively-numbered gnomes following our guild leader, Namelessone, around Dalaran--a plot engineered by one of the officers and brought to pass by several guildies.  There is the screenshot of one of our first Blood Queen kills in ICC, with only one of the tanks alive, and others, as well, with only one or two raiders left alive--the victories which almost didn't happen.

Falling . . . or Levitating?

First Val'anyr Proc Ever!
Fransham solos Blood Queen!  Pally tank power!
There are screenshots dealing primarily with things said in chat, everything from reminisces of a mispull in the Teron Gorefiend encounter to the sneakily triumphant chess victory by our guild chessmaster over someone who thought he could beat him.  (He sacrificed his queen--telling me beforehand he was going to do it--because he could and still win the game.  It made his opponent feel victorious, until he was checkmated.)

Yes, the name of the historic Druid chat channel is a carefully guarded secret.  ;)  And I did actually write that blog.

Let's face it--as our MT said, "Vit's pretty much unbeatable for us mere mortals." (I'm on my priest alt, Kaminoko.)

Good memories of good times.  Makes me wish I had taken more screenshots.

Come to think of it, every day my kids are growing and changing, and I should take more screenshots.  Brb while I get the battery charged.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The End of the Road

A few weeks ago, my very first raid leader in Tempest commented he had seen more friends leave the game in the previous few months than in the rest of his time in WoW.  The thought occurred to me that all of us knew we would one day be that person.  We all would one day leave the game, for whatever reason.  In the back of my mind was the fact I had already declared Cataclysm would be my last expansion.

There were a few reasons for this.  One, I don't like the expansion process, in general, as a raiding-focused player.  For those who cannot take a week off and level up as part of the vanguard of the guild, leveling and the subsequent gearing grind seems a long, lonely process.  I've done it three times now.  Two, Cataclysm has not been interesting enough to me to maintain the level of enthusiasm necessary to want to continue onward.  I'm not sure exactly why, but several other bloggers have touched on some elements which seem to resonate to one degree or another.  Something has snapped.

It got to the point where the only reason I was playing was for Tempest: to be with my friends in the guild and to help ensure the progression of the raid.  After a while, with turnover due to one thing or another, things changed.  Some of the people I really enjoyed left the game or left raiding.  Others with whom I did not enjoy associating joined our group and wore on my patience.  It was sometimes difficult for us officers to either field the raid properly or keep a good balance, because of changes in the game and on the server which made it difficult to recruit sufficiently.  And not everyone was understanding about the difficulty or particularly helpful.  While I understand this is the lot of leaders everywhere, it became a struggle to maintain my calm and upbeat attitude at times.

And in the midst of these in-game changes, things were also changing at home. Two of my teenage daughters, one of whom is autistic, came home to homeschool, because of inadequacies in our local rural school district. (Ask me anything about the GED; I've done the research.)  One other teenage daughter just started high school, including extra-curricular volleyball and drama. And I just recently realized my youngest daughter, age 8, is showing unmistakable signs of being somewhere on the autism spectrum, which means, of course, more focused effort for me. (As it can run in families, that wouldn't be entirely out the realm of possibility. At least I know better how to handle it this time.)

It is not easy to manage a family of seven and a twelve-hour raiding schedule, while holding down a full-time job.  There is a certain amount of sacrifice which goes into it--perhaps sacrificing the quality of meals three nights a week, when I have limited time to cook between returning home and starting raid.  Perhaps it's more effort on my part to make sure kids have finished their homework before raid, or, in situations where that is not possible, juggling homework help with healing assignments.  Perhaps it's just living with the fact the bathroom didn't get cleaned that day, but will get cleaned the day after raid.  And then there are the times when one has to repeatedly reassure one's husband that the necessary tasks will be accomplished, despite the time taken for raid.  Life on those days becomes very hurried and sometimes harried.

I finally reached the point the other night when I realized I was done.  This was it.  It was time for Anachan to enter the Emerald Dream.

For the guild, it's a pretty good time for my exit.  We successfully downed Ragnaros before the nerf, and now, after the nerf, Heroics are looking pretty reasonable.  We have sufficient healers with excellent attendance to fill the needs of the raid and enough experience in Firelands by now they can most likely just assign themselves.  Good timing, indeed.

Looking back over the years, I can see there have been a lot of positive things which have happened during my WoW experience.
  • I've learned about economies, as well as taught my daughters, from our experiences with the in-game auction house. (When I tell them about supply and demand, or cornering the market, they understand, because they've seen it in action.)
  • I've been able to "meet" a lot of people from around the world and chat about everything from education to religion to dating advice.
  • I've had people with whom to speak when I had nobody else, living as I do in a very rural area.  In addition to our raiding, we shared casual fun and a lot of laughs over the years.  Some, I gladly count among my friends.
  • I've been a leader in my guild, working with the GM and other officers to create our "vision statement" and codify policies, as well as work with my healing team to organize and accomplish our goals.
  • I've exercised perseverance in achieving goals, both individual and with a team.
  • I've had moments of complete and all-consuming triumph and ecstasy, when the stars aligned and the players did everything just right, to finally see bosses fall or achievements accomplished.
  • I've had great fun with my blog and had the chance to hone my writing skills a little more. (New task:  find a focus on which to create another blog.)
  • I've increased my vocabulary to at least understand words such as "uber", "noob", "pwn", "ima", "leet", and other things I don't encounter in my outside life.  ;)
  • I've run in-game dungeons with my husband and daughters, teaching the girls more about teamwork and what can be accomplished if people communicate.
  • I dressed up as my character for Halloween one year, complete with long ears attached with spirit gum.
  • I was introduced to the world of machinima, WoW songs, and WoW parodies.  (And  of course, my daughters still run around singing various Oxhorn songs.  Lately, they've been singing his medley, or trying to, anyway.)
  • I had inspiration for poetry! (Not always very good, but still fun to write.)
  • And I won a Moonkin Hatchling in a song parody contest.

It's been a good run.

And now what?  Well, I have other hobbies, believe it or not.  I enjoy learning to bake new things, especially breads from around the world.  (My most recent one was a Norwegian cardamom braid.)  I have done various forms of needlework, from bobbin lace to embroidery to sewing (not my favorite) to knitting.  I can still write, although I will have to think of another passion to follow in my writing.  (Maybe this year, I'll finally participate in NaNoWriMo.)

I am unsure how to replace the socialization value.  I'm serious when I say I live in a rural area.  In real life, my only real local "friend" is my husband.  (It is a good thing he is a friend, lol!)  The reason we reactivated my account after moving here was because of my loneliness, to be honest.  My current work puts me in contact with several people, but my social relationship with them is only on the very superficial.  (We have little, really, in common, when you consider background, values, or interests.)  Somehow, I will need to figure out how to overcome this dilemma.  (If you see me talking to myself, you'll know what is going on . . . Oh, wait.  I talk to myself, anyway.  That's why I blog so much.)

I know I will mourn the loss of what used to be, because I always mourn when I have to give up something which means a lot to me.  Tears have been shed, and most likely, more will be shed before I am finished.  (Who am I kidding?  I cried myself to sleep the last three nights.)  But what I am mourning is not necessarily Firelands raiding.  What I really mourn is the loss of the intense passion with which I once enjoyed the game, and I mourn the loss of the almost daily presence of my long-time friends, my second family.  (We still have the forums and e-mail!  And I may pop into Stormwind every so often, if I can stand the pain of knowing I am now peripheral.)  I mourn the passing of the good times we had beforehand . . . Spending long hours in magical Ulduar, making lines of jumping Druid cats or sleeping bears, witnessing the redemption of Arthas after the fall of the Lich King, forming a circle to assign Yogg-Saron portal positions, dancing merrily through the PVP encounter in the Tournament, fulfilling achievements with the "Leet New Mexican Healing Team", standing on the log in the Archimonde encounter to avoid the fire, solo-healing the first wing of Naxx 10 while the other healer mixed up a smoothie, merrily bubbling as much of the raid as possible whenever Val'anyr proc'd, watching another Resto Druid discover all the ways he could kill himself off any ledge in the game, or hearing the silly jokes a certain warrior told which made everyone laugh or groan--but which somehow seemed the magic charm to make the next pull a kill.  Thinking of all these little things warms my heart and brings a smile to my face.

To all my WoW friends, especially those in Tempest, with whom I have played for almost three and a half years, I wish you well.  Show Deathwing who is boss.  Good luck in your leveling/questing/crafting/PVP/raiding, and have fun with your adventures in Azeroth.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Knew It Was Coming

The nerf has arrived.  And I had to laugh.

Sure, we were expecting a nerf, but I wasn't expecting it to be quite this big.  Perhaps there would be a 10% reduction of boss health or damage.  Perhaps enrage timers would be lengthened or a particular ability would be changed.

But 15-25% reduction on health and damage for normal bosses?  Wow.

I was amused to see Alysrazor's tornadoes would be moving more slowly on normal difficulty.  Now that I know what I'm doing on that encounter, they do not scare me, but I know they were still a challenge for some people, especially those with slower connections.  Now that they've been slowed, we may have more of a challenge not catching up to them when we're following them, rather than worrying if they are catching up to us!  (No feathers, perhaps, or use feathers and stay in caster form . . .)  And, of course, anyone who does manage to fall to a tornado will most likely find themselves mercilessly teased . . .

I was also amused to see Wrath of Ragnaros in Stage 1 of the normal mode Ragnaros fight will only knock targets up, not back.  That really is rather funny.  While I understand how this does make the fight easier, as I have seen people knocked into void zones when the timing was wrong, the nerf ends up making it a minor annoyance, instead of a real obstacle to overcome.  To be honest, however, I don't think it was one of our larger obstacles.  Add control was a much larger issue.

Heroic bosses, aside from Ragnaros, have had their health and damage reduced by 15%.  Obviously, this will work to our advantage, as we're just starting out at the Heroic level.  (We pulled Shannox at Heroic level a few times, just to get the feel of it.)  The other features I mentioned above have been unchanged in Heroic, so people are still expected to exercise some forethought and skill when working their way through those fights.

It would have been nice to work on tackling the Heroic bosses pre-nerf, but at this point, we'll just have to be satisfied with knowing we downed Ragnaros in regular difficulty before the nerf.  Like it or not, the game moves on.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Firelord Has Fallen

We did it.

Last night, before the regularly-scheduled raid was halfway over, the Tempest 25-man raid defeated Ragnaros.  Before the deadline.  Before the nerf.  (Yes!!!  /happy dance)

It was sloppy.  I think there might have been four people left alive at the end, with crazy numbers of meteors rolling everywhere.  But in the end, Tempest stood victorious.

I'm in the pink dress closest to the reward chest.  :)
I was told we were the first 25-man raid on the server to defeat him, but I'm not sure that is true.  Wowprogress lists at least two other currently existing guilds' 25-man victories, but how it can distinguish between 10- and 25-man, given that there are no differences in achievements or loot, is beyond me.  It does not really matter, in the end.  What is sufficient to know is that in the midst of the forces in WoW which discourage 25-man raiding, and in the midst of the perceived decline of Gorgonnash, we persevered and we prevailed.

Take that, Firelord!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guess We've Got a Deadline

Back in Burning Crusade, word came out of a giant nerf to the raiding content not too many weeks before Wrath was due.  Tempest was still in Black Temple, staring Illidan square in the face.

We all felt it was a matter of pride to kill Illidan before that nerf, and we worked hard toward that goal.  But at the end of that Monday evening, Illidan was only "nearly dead".  It was a somber group which logged off that night, thinking if we had had one more night, he would have gone down.

The next week, he died fairly simply, but it was something of a bittersweet moment.  Sure, we finally had Illidan down, but knowing we could have done it pre-nerf with just a little more time removed some of the feeling of victory.

Now, we're in Firelands, still on normal modes, and we are staring Ragnaros in the face.  Our 10-man group which cleans up the lockouts has killed him at least twice, but in 25-man, he is still very much alive.  And once again, a nerf is scheduled.

We have one week--one week in which to kill him before everyone decides Firelands is trivial.

I'd rather not have a repeat of Illidan.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Herbing Relaxation

Last night, a guildie commented, "You know, herbing can be sort of relaxing."

It really can, especially in flight form; that's one reason I enjoy doing it.  It's kind of like WoW Zen.

And after the day I had yesterday, I needed relaxation . . .

It all started with the full moon.  As most parents or Sunday School teachers know, while our children are not werewolves, the full moon does something to them.  And yesterday was no different.  Church was an exercise in patience, reminding kids to be quiet, turning kids back around on the seat to sit facing forward, and rearranging seating when it became obvious that this sister was not going to be quiet sitting next to that sister.

I'm not sure if the full moon had anything to do with the 10-yr-old climbing a tree outside the church after the services in her dress, but I wouldn't be surprised.  (Who knows?  This is the one who was doing jumping jacks in front of a rattlesnake.)

The first I knew about the tree was when she came back inside the church, big tears in her eyes, and what could only be described as "tree rash" all on the underside of her arm.  The branch on which she had been standing had given way, and, while she had not completely tumbled to the ground, the effort to avoid this had cost her a certain amount of skin.  All I could do at the church building was wash out the dirt and bits of bark, waiting until we returned home to perform more extensive First Aid.

And then came the refrigerator . . .

I'd be prepared to accept that refrigerator performance has nothing to do with the full moon.  I'd even be more prepared to accept the idea that household appliances lie in wait to break until my husband is on a business trip which will last at least a week.  The evidence is in my favor on this point.

At any rate, after we got home and ate, things settled down a bit . . . Until my 13-yr-old approached me. "Mom, something is funny with this ice cube." "Oh?" (My girls like to take ice from the freezer and suck on it . . .) "Yea, when I reached in to get it, things felt wet, and it broke right away when I bit it." (You were biting ice? How many times . . . never mind . . .)

Sure enough, the freezer and refrigerator inside the house was not working. I conscripted the 13-yr-old and my injured 10-yr-old (now wearing large gauze bandages on her arm) to help me carry the contents to the garage refrigerator and the freezer, not before things thawed, but before they actually reached room temperature. (Sometimes, there are advantages to living in the sticks . . . like having multiple appliances . . .) Between tossing out the stuff which should have been tossed a while ago and keeping out the leftovers to use for supper, we managed to fit everything into the other refrigerator, but only barely. (I was threatening to throw out the flavorings for snow cones . . .)

At least we can be thankful that on two counts, complete disasters were avoided: the 10-yr-old didn't break a leg or something like that, and another refrigerator was available to store our food.

But that meant by the time I sat down to play, I was well and truly exhausted.  I stared at the screen.  Queue for an Heroic, to try to cap my Valor?  Why?  Not much more I need from Valor, to be honest.  I found myself just hovering above Stormwind in a sort of aimless daze.

What I needed was herbing.  I took a look at the gbank to figure out which herbs needed replenishment.  Cinderbloom . . . definitely cinderbloom.  (All those Volatile Elixirs do a number on our cinderbloom stock.)

I spent the next couple of hours flying around Twilight Highlands and Mount Hyjal in search of Cinderbloom.  By the end of the evening, I had several stacks of Cinderbloom, along with Stormvine, Twilight Violet, and assorted bits of Azshara's Veil, along with roughly 70 Volatile Life.

Between chatting and herbing, I hardly noticed the time flying by until I realized I'd better stop and sleep, or risk being unable to wake up in the morning.  It was a good end to a tough day.

Postscript:  My daughters and I did take the time in the middle of everything to remember 9/11 and to honor those who have fallen defending our freedoms.  Two of them were in a play last year centering on the events of 9/11, so they've heard my 9/11 story, as well as that of their father's.  They were two young to remember much, themselves, so we make a point to tell them the stories of that day.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Have you ever noticed that there are times when you just have a feeling something is going to happen, and it does?  Or when you think something, and for some reason, that thought just sticks in your mind as significant . . . and then you recall it later on when it turns out it actually was?

Silly little trivial example of this . . .

Last night, I spent some time on my baby Blood Elf priest.  As I ran around Ogrimmar on my way to the zeppelin station, this thought came clearly to my mind:

"Wow, this server must really be different.  I'm all the way to level 29, and not once has someone asked me to join their guild.  It's kind of refreshing."

Fifteen seconds later, someone asked if I would be interested in joining their guild.


I thanked him, but politely told him that I was not looking for a guild at that time.  Then I headed out to Northern Stranglethorn.

When I was about to quit for the evening, I decided to hearth out of the situation I found myself, instead of taking the time to fight my way through the raptors and trolls to safety.  After I started the cast, I left my computer to pull some bread out of the oven.  When I returned, I found myself safely in Ogrimmar, with pink text in my chat box.

Someone else had asked me if I was interested in a guild.

As I had no idea exactly when this person had asked, I decided to ignore it, play possum, pretend I was afk . . . And another whisper showed up.  "Interested in a level 14 guild?"

No, I really wasn't.  So I logged off.

It just seems really ironic that just after I noted the lack of guild invitations, whispers would suddenly start pouring in.

Unrelated side note:  I think I have a cactus spine in my knuckle, but I can't find it to remove it.  Looks like I'm going to have to let the body's natural defenses take care of this one, after whatever disinfecting I can manage.  Ugh.  It hurts.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

This and That

Overcoming Obstacles . . .

I finally did get my Blood Elf priest out of her dilemma, thanks to the fact players no longer have to grab all flight points from a capital city.  I noticed that Silverwind Refuge in Ashenvale was available, and, since I did have a quest to deliver something there, I skipped the area in which I had been agonizing over the tasks assigned there and flew on over.  It was rather nostalgic, as that area had previously been owned by the Night Elves.  (Didn't particularly like the tone of voice of the Orc cackling as he talked about how clever they had been to capture the area from the Night Elves, who thought they were so smart . . .)  In that area, the biggest concerns were furbolgs and water elementals, threats with which I could comfortably contend.

And while contending with those familiar threats, I dinged 25 and picked up the quest to take me to Northern Stranglethorn.  Yay!!  Back to annihilating tigers, raptors, and headhunters.

One of the difficulties about being a rerolled character on an established server is the cost of everything on the auction house.  When I first looked at picking up a glyph, it was 100 gold--my entire bankroll.  (My priest only had that much because I made her an herbalist.  Hey, if costs are outlandish, you'd better have something you can sell for said outlandish costs, or you'll never be able to buy anything.)  With a sigh, I put off glyph-buying and went my merry way.  Well, the other day, the glyph market was closer to what I had seen on Gorgonnash, and, as I had managed to accumulate about 170 gold on my priest by that point, I was able to pick up a few glyphs.

I think I am now confident enough in the abilities she has, coupled with her glyphs, that I might try to run an instance this weekend.

Swimming With the Fishes . . .

Ok, so technically, they are not fishes; they are mammals.

One of my younger sisters (I have seven) is an animal trainer at Sea World, San Antonio.  Recently, on the Sea World, SA, blog site, she was briefly featured in a video in which she swims with a beluga whale.  I would embed the video here, except it is unlisted . . . so the Blogger insertion tool won't work . . . and I don't know how to embed it myself.  /pout.  I tried . . . I really did . . . before finally giving up and just creating the above link.

Here is one from a couple of years ago which also shows off her Sea World skills . . . (They rotate the trainers through different tanks in the park year to year.)

At any rate, she has a lot of fun with the animals.  (Her real life is interesting and active enough to not need video games, lol . . . Her husband plays console games, but she's not really into them.)

To be honest, I don't want to swim with Shamu or even the belugas.  But I am proud of my little sister.  She has been the only one of us to really grab on to a dream and dare to follow it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Divided Loyalties

Recently, for the giggles of it, I've been playing a Blood Elf priest on a different server than my main every so often on weekends.  She's doing fine at level 23, except for one slight difficulty.

I like leveling in the Blood Elf lands, but one can only level up through about level 20 before being more or less forced to leave and expand one's horizons.  Accordingly, I accepted the call to duty in Hillsbrad Foothills and headed in that direction, grateful to not be an undead as I ran through their areas.

But when I got to Hillsbrad Foothills, I found nefarious schemes to grow spider eggs in the flesh of bears, then kill the bears and collect the eggs.  With bile in my throat, I completed these quests, thinking it would be over after that, and I would be back to animal control or crafting materials quests.  But after that, I found quests about which the questgivers displayed attitudes of devilish delight at the schemes in place.  And I found I simply could not bear to follow these quests.  How could I be a part of such things, which sickened my stomach?

No problem.  There is more than one place to quest, and I already had a quest to take me to Ogrimmar.

In Ogrimmar, I accepted the call to duty to Ashenvale.  But when I got to Ashenvale, I found the Horde busily fighting Night Elves.

Night Elves . . . . . . . my main is a Night Elf, and has been for six years . . . Every day, when I've logged on, I've seen and identified with purple hair and long ears.  This attacking army was my group, not some enemy.  (I had even skipped the quests in the Blood Elf lands which required mass killing Night Elves . . .)

I decided to try skipping the kill quest which required me to kill numbers of attacking Night Elves and pursue gathering arrows and wood and such, instead, killing only when attacked.

This worked to get me past that area, amazingly enough.  But the next area was also embroiled in war.  And in this one, there were a few more nefarious schemes.  Using the blood of the Night Elves to corrupt the wood of their sacred tree?  You've got to be kidding me . . . Even the Horde were calling it diabolical.

A co-worker who never really maxes out her characters, but tends to restart and replay early zones often, had told me she was disappointed with some of the new quest chains for leveling Horde.  Her reason?  It made the Horde seem evil.  I thought she was exaggerating, but today, I couldn't help but remember her comments.  You see, this is a difficulty I did not encounter when I was leveling my Blood Elf hunter, pre-Cataclysm.  But, obviously, the quests were different then.

So where can I quest now from level 23 which will not make me feel dirty or feel like I am killing my own family?

I know there will be people who think I am being completely and utterly silly about this.  "It's a game, already!" they'll holler at their computers.  Call it my overdeveloped sense of loyalty.  Call it my oddball sense of identifying too closely with my characters.  But for whatever reason, rational or irrational, to me, it is a problem.  I can't work with these people.

I'm beginning to think I'd better just run instances and gather herbs until I can make it past these zones and go to, say, Stranglethorn Vale, where all I have to do will be to slaughter helpless carnivores with sharp teeth who would gladly chew my bones if they could get hold of them.  Or is that still what happens in Stranglethorn Vale these days?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

With a Family As Weird As Mine Is . . .

. . . you never know exactly what will happen.

Yesterday, I unexpectedly had to go pick up my 9th grader from volleyball practice.  As our rural school is about 20 miles away, this would take some time.

My husband, knowing I would be gone during the time I would normally have been preparing dinner, and knowing I had not planned ahead for this event to happen during my limited time at home before raid, told me as I walked out the door, "I'll take care of food."

When I came home, I found in the kitchen my large stainless steel bowl with cleaned rattlesnake meat.

That wasn't exactly what I had in mind.  (My husband, of course, grinned and said, "I told you I'd take care of dinner!")

How it really happened:

My husband had gone back out to the garden and seen our 10-yr-old doing very fast jumping jacks like a wild woman, staring at the fence and repeating, "I'm big!  I'm big!"

As this is unusual behavior, even for our hyper 10-yr-old, he was very curious.

It turned out that alongside the fence was a rattlesnake.  The sharp-eyed 10-yr-old had seen it and, having heard somewhere that jumping around can make your heat signature appear much larger to a snake and thus discourage it from striking at you, was attempting to try out this theory.  (Instead of, say, backing away and finding her father.)  The snake was just sort of looking at her as if it was saying, "What kind of a nutcase is this?"

If it had chosen to slither away into the desert, it might have made it out of this situation alive, but as it was, it chose to head along the fence toward the yard.  That's when my husband, who is an excellent shot, popped it in the head with an air gun from 20 feet away, much to the delight of the girls.

Neither my husband nor the kids believe that something should be killed and thrown away when it can reasonably be eaten, so he cut off the head and rattle, skinned it out, and cleaned out the interior.  By the time I came home, the piece of meat had stopped trying to climb out of the bowl, but the idea of snake for dinner just didn't sit well with my appetite that night.

The conclusion to this saga is I didn't eat any for dinner, because my stomach just didn't feel right about it, although I'd had rattlesnake before this.  (I ate instead some of my homemade bread and hummus.)  I did, however, at my husband's request, prepare a batter for coating the rattlesnake for deep-frying.  My husband deep-fried the rattlesnake, which he and the kids had for dinner, along with slices of homemade bread, carrot sticks, fruit, and a sliced garden tomato.

Apparently, they enjoyed their deep-fried rattlesnake very much.