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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back from the interview ...

The interview went really well I think, they are going to call me in a few days to do what's called a "job preview" ... sounds like it's basically an 8 hour shift, where I don't get paid and don't do anything for liability reasons, but I shadow another caregiver (not all are CNAs there), to see how it all works and to see if the staff that I meet that day thinks I'm a good fit.

I guess some history, since this is a relatively new blog ... I am a Certified Nursing Assistant, which means basically I do the grunt work of nursing, cleaning stuff up (bodily fluids wise), helping people on and off the toilet, helping them bathe, etc., I previously have worked in two nursing homes, this place I applied at is an assisted living home, and the workload definitely looks and sounds different. They don't wear scrubs, the places I worked before I couldn't imagine being in without scrubs, seriously bodily fluids all day long, they have an executive chef instead of just "cooks," where I worked before all staff had to have BLS (basic life support) certifications, here they don't do CPR on the premises  .. they call 911 ..., where I worked before there were RNs 24/7, here there is an RN 40 hours a week, and LPNs from 8am to 8pm and that's it ... so very, very different .. and it pays more ... I won't say that this place looks like the work will be easier, but definitely different than nursing homes I've worked at in the past.

I'm kind of excited, I hope they call back soon ... they do start all their new people at part-time and then promote to full-time from within their group of part-timers, so maybe I'll be looking at two part-time jobs .. maybe .. GameStop? lol ...

Interview ...

So completely out of form as of late on this blog, yet completely in "true" diary fashion .. I have a job interview in 2 1/2 hours ... it's a group interview so not quite sure what to expect. I need a paycheck now more than I ever have in my entire life, so I feel the anxiety coming on. It doesn't help that I'm sick and sniffling ... I may have to invest in some alka-seltzer to get me through the interview. I hate being sick ... but with everything going on lately, it's a surprise to me that it took me this long to get sick ...

Burn ..

How capable of change are people?

Will a cheater always cheat?

A liar always lie?

A thief always steal?

An addict always find an addiction?

An abuser always hurt those they love?

A narcissist ever see anyone other than themselves as a first priority?

I personally think that a one time slip, a cheat, a lie, a chance to steal taken, a bout with an addiction during a rough time, a one time loss of temper and occasionally being selfish ... may just be that ... a slip ...

But the older I get ... the more experience ... the more people burn me ... the more I wonder ... burn me once shame on you ... burn me twice shame on me ... burn me three times ... well, yeah ...

I think that a track record means that change is less likely. I also think that when these things compound on themselves (for instance a cheater lies because they have an addiction to foreign sex if not just sex period, maybe blaming an addiction for what they did, in the process they are being selfish and psychologically abusive to those they love), it makes someone even less likely to change ... a track record of doing these things in a compounded form ... well maybe they need help, maybe they are still capable of change ... but I think a pattern of behavior is predictable ...

Someone that is likely to change, in my maturing opinion, experiences remorse & regret ... will beg for forgiveness when necessary and do anything to win back the people they hurt in the process ... people who don't experience remorse & regret ... that continue to lie .... that continue to think only of themselves first ... through watching other people's pain .... I think they may be incapable of change ... and that, for the sake of many around me, breaks my heart ....

Just gonna stand there
And watch me burn

But that's alright
Because I like
The way it hurts
Just gonna stand there
And hear me cry
But that's alright
Because I love
The way you lie

... You don't get another chance ... Life is no Nintendo game...

Flashes in my Mind ... Archived from 09/19/2008

I have flashes in my mind
of things I didn't want to see
things I don't want to remember
places I didn't want to be

Flashes in my mind
of things that were done and said
all I want is these flashes
to just get out of my head

Crippling are these images
that just can't let me be
like a flashing neon sign
saying you must remember me

These flashes in my mind
they come on suddenly
they keep me in the past
they just hold on to me

I just want these flashes
to leave and let me be
but I have a funny feeling
they'll always be with me . . .

Monday, August 30, 2010

An hour or two at the SSA

It was a good time to people watch ... nothing else really to do ... it's interesting because people go there for beginning of life, end of life, marriage, divorce and to get their benefits whether it's disability, death or retirement.

However, it was interesting to be sitting there ... divorce decree in hand ... ready to change my name in all legal capacities back to my maiden name ... to watch all these young, terribly in love couples come in ... some of them with obviously sun-kissed skin that I can only imagine came from a honeymoon in some amazingly romantic and tropical place ... I thought back to the last time I sat in an SSA office ... I was one of them ... although he didn't come with me, I was there alone, but I was terribly in love, fresh from my honeymoon, anxious to take on his name and start our new life together ...

Ironic ...

Now I'm sitting there anxious to get my old name back, to take back that piece of me ... and don't get me wrong, my ex is not an asshole, we have an amicable relationship, I've met his girlfriend ... we talk in a friendly manner about the kids ... we filed as co-petitioners for our divorce and didn't fight over anything ... but still .. I was anxious to get this piece of myself back ... to leave that piece of him behind ... and as I'm looking at all these couples .. I'm wondering how many of them in several years will be sitting back in that office ... divorce decree in hand ... feeling the way I do now ...

I've said it before in blogs, I'll say it again ... nobody gets married expecting to get divorced ... nobody wants that .. in fact my ex and I swore we wouldn't do that to ourselves or our children ... but the bad things, in both of us, got the best of us. We got married young, and had you told me back then we were too young to know, that we weren't through figuring out who we were as individuals, I would have told you that you didn't know what you were talking about .. that we were at an advantage because we would learn who we were together .. that we would change and grown together that being young would make us stronger ... although I don't think that argument is completely without merit ... it was not the reality we faced in the end ...

I don't have a horror story to tell you .. there were fights that definitely went to far, but even though things were thrown and walls were punched nobody was ever hurt .. he didn't go off and have elicit affairs .. he didn't have unhealthy addictions .. sometimes he spent way too much time away from home .. I guess for me looking back there was something manic in the way I felt; I either felt neglected or smothered ... but after the first couple years I never felt like we just existed together ... he was either completely gone and unavailable or he was completely there and all over me (in both the emotional and physical meaning) ... I never felt unloved or unwanted ... even when I felt neglected ... he always told me that he thought I was pretty/beautiful/gorgeous/sexy/hot .. whatever word he felt like using at the time .. and he always kissed me goodnight and good morning ... I always knew that he loved me ... but he was possessive, not in a psycho movie kind of way, but my mom would call and I would talk to her, he'd get mad, my best friend called to tell me she was pregnant and he was pissed off because it was during the Broncos game and I was supposed to be giving my undivided attention to him and the game, even though his attention was clearly just on the game; I even left the room to have the conversation. The possessiveness was bad, but not what went wrong in the end ... in the end ... we could not stop fighting ... we fought over everything ... weeds in the lawn, dirty dishes, dirty clothes, his hobbies, my friend, his friends, my family, his family, how we would handle our children, what to have for dinner, money, jobs ... we fought over everything .. he would walk in the door from work and immediately have a complaint ... I would walk in the door from working myself ... he would immediately have a complaint ... I started dreading going home ... I started dreading him coming home ... because I knew the second we were in the same room together the fighting would start. I would drive around for hours sometimes after work listening to music, talking to my friends on my cell phone .. not wanting to go home. I tried to walk away from the fights, when I did that he would get downright mean ... but I admit that if I wasn't done making my point and he tried to walk away I would do the same ... the day I knew it was probably over was the day my 2 year-old son came and covered both our mouths and told us to stop. My daughters had come upstairs from their downstairs bedroom on occasion in the middle of the night to tell us that we had woken them up, but for some reason those little tiny hands covering our mouths was one of the biggest eye-openers in my life. He went to counseling for anger management ... he used what he learned there to turn around and attack me ... to tell me how I was the reason he was angry ... then we went to counseling together .. he would take over the sessions, rarely even letting the counselor talk, nonetheless me ...

So, a few months after my son so brilliantly opened my eyes ... and after talking and trying ... and going to friends for their counsel ... we went to my middle child's pre-school graduation ... we came home .. we laid in bed next to each other and decided we were done ... that we couldn't do this anymore that regardless of how stupid it sounded to us years ago, and how we knew people would perceive us .. that we had to get divorced, for the sake of our children ...trying to force something that wasn't going to work, that was clearly something we couldn't do in a mature and civil manner, in order to keep a family together ...was in the end going to do more damage than cutting our losses, doing it as amicably and civilly as possible and just moving on ...

Some drama ensued for a few months after ... he called many of my family and friends and told them that it wasn't a mutual decision and told them everything from I was going to try to get full custody of the kids and take them away from him to I cheated on him to I was an alcoholic and neglected my children ... he in all honesty, kind of went crazy for a few months ... in his defense; I was really his first girlfriend ... he had never really even dealt with a breakup before, nonetheless a divorce ... after spending 10+ years with someone and 8+ years of marriage ... when things calmed down is when a new woman entered his life ... he became civil again, we were able to discuss, negotiate ... etc., ....

So, again, here I sat in the SSA office ... "decree of dissolution of marriage" in hand ... ready to take back my maiden name ... and I wonder how many of those happy young girls sitting there anxious to take on their new husband's names ... will have a similar story to tell ... sometime down the road ...

Dancing ... Archived from 09/09/2009

So, a while back, someone posted one of those stickers on my bumper sticker board that says "life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." In the last few weeks, the very deep meaning of that has come to light for me.

Life will let you down, people will let you down, things will happen that you never dreamed would. You will find out that people you thought you knew aren't the people you thought they were, or maybe even your instincts and bad feelings about people or situations were right, and things you hoped weren't true, will turn out to be true. You will lose your car keys, your kids will do things like color on the couch ... random people will try to make you feel bad, to feel sad, to make you cry ... because apparently nobody ever taught them the basics of the golden rule and respect ... there are times in life you will feel used, you will feel like a doormat ... there are times in life you will feel like a failure ... that you will feel that you are not worthy of love or friendship ... there will be times you need  a hug and nobody will be there to give you one ... there will be times when all you need is to hear a friendly voice .... and nobody answers their phone ...

You will have times where you feel like it is too much ... where when it rains, it pours, the roof leaks, you don't have the money to fix the roof, so everything special to you is ruined by the rain ...

The thing is ... all of these things only have as much power as you let them have ... and none of them need to affect who you are ... how you are ... you must learn to dance in the rain ... not sit and mope and hope it goes away ... some of us choose to stay in our own personal thunderstorms completely conscious of the fact that we are doing it ... some may think that's crazy ... but we all have our reasons ... I have been much happier in the last few weeks than I have been in a long time ... because I've been trying to appreciate what I have ... not what I wish I had ... and accept things as they are ... last night I let people get to me ... over something that should never affect me in that way ... I let myself cry... let myself be hurt ... and today ... I am learning to dance again ... I can only be the best me I can be ... I cannot control other people or the way they hurt or betray me ... in the end I am very aware that if they don't want to hold their spots in my life ...if I decide they're toxic and walk away ... it is their loss ... not mine .... most of them will never even realize what they lost ... they could have chosen to smile with me, to laugh with me, to dance with me ... but they chose not to ... that is out of my hands ... out of my control ... all I can do is keep on dancing ... and fill my life with people who are willing to dance with me ....

Insomnia ..

I couldn't sleep last night, my mind in 500 different places ... pretty much every aspect of my life.

I think that one of the hardest things for me when I can't sleep is knowing that the other people involved in my insomniac thoughts are in all likelihood sleeping just fine ... there's a line from a song (Almost Lover by Fine Frenzy) that says "I can't go to the ocean, I can't drive the streets at night, I can't wake up in the morning without you on my mind, so you're gone and I'm haunted, but I bet you are just fine, do I make it that easy to walk right in and out of my life" that's kind of how I feel about some of this stuff.

Some of the people I'm worried about or upset with or going through my head trying to figure out how to handle things with ... I just think that often the issues don't bother them anywhere near as much ... they don't give it as much thought .. if any ... they don't worry as much ... if at all ... so then in essence do I do this to myself? The answer is undoubtedly yes, so I must find a way to move past and move on ... maybe a way to come to a place of indifference as many of these people that I spend so much time thinking about seem to have.

But I hate indifference ... I want to care, to be passionate ... but I want it back ... I want what is right ... I want what is just ... and the presence of indifference in anyone around me hurts me ... because I let it, I get that ... but it does. However, indifference, lack of empathy, lack of compassion ... allows them to sleep at night, while I lie awake obsessing over the trespasses they have made, the pain they have caused ... I give them too much power ... I have to learn how to let that power go ... which may mean just walking away completely from some ...

Sunday, August 29, 2010


This should probably really be called "intimacy vs sex" but meh ... this was kind of inspired by my earlier blog; Contact and the comments that followed.

Intimacy is a very necessary thing, I think more so for women than for men, although not always. I know that I have had relationships with men who needed and wanted a lot of intimacy, although rarely as much as me. I think that sometimes people confuse intimacy for sex and vice versa. They really are two very different things.

The lack of intimacy is what tends to lead to that "disconnected" feeling that many people in relationships experience at different times. Intimacy can mean an intimate conversation, it can mean a form of physical touch. The definition sometimes varies by personality. To me it's a feeling, something completely subjective. It's a feeling I get sometimes when someone holds my hand, plays with my hair, snuggles with me, or is having a conversation with me about hopes and dreams, fears and let-downs. I think for me it boils down to vulnerability ... it's when someone let's themselves be vulnerable, and allows you to do it too. Which is why it can be so subjective. It's tearing down your walls, helping someone else tear down theirs ... it's giving someone the power to hurt you.

In my personal opinion and experience it seems that sex without intimacy is just that; sex .. while sex with intimacy is where the true experience of making love lies. However you can have intimate conversations, intimate moments with people that you have no sexual relationship with at all ... sex is not intimacy ... and intimacy is not sex.

I think intimacy is a basic human need, some need it in larger quantities than others, but it is a basic human need. It's where the idea of "quality time" comes into play and while some may have different definitions of what is considered quality time, the idea is to gain intimacy. Intimacy, at the level most of us experience it and want it,  is actually something that I think separates us from the rest of the creatures on this lovely planet. While other species express physical love and even some level of snuggling etc., I think that people, the only possible exceptions I can think of that could possibly achieve that are primates as well, we are the only ones capable of intimate conversation, intimate love, intimate friendship.

I also think intimacy is vital for the survival of romantic relationships. For me, intimacy is one of the ways that I am shown security, reassurance, affirmation ... it's another way that I know that he cares, that he loves me ... and when it's lacking and that feeling of being "disconnected" comes in ... that's when I need quality time the most ... to gain that back.

But that's just me ... for the rest of the world it could be different ...

Adrenaline Letdown .. Archived from 08/03/2007

 So, last night, well really shortly after we got home from "doctor torture" I realized I was really depressed, like really depressed . . . (like cry over cereal commercials depressed) I had no reason to be - I have good friends, wonderful children . . . I had no clue what was wrong with me. I couldn't sleep, so in the interest of making my brain stop thinking so much and relax my body, I turned to the bottle of Cuervo in the fridge (which is pretty out of character for me as most of you know) - I didn't overdo it as much as I originally thought I did last night, but I was pretty out of it. I still didn't really sleep though. Sometime in the middle of the night I realized I was running on adrenaline for the last three weeks. I've had work in crisis, 3 friends in crisis, family bs and Hailey's "stuff" and all of the sudden it was all over. Friends all better, family stuff over, Hailey's stuff over and work coming to an end, with only three shifts left at that store and those shifts being fairly stress-free, everything I'd been dealing with for the last three weeks over. I crashed - literally, emotional rollercoaster, crashed . . . my two friends that I always turn to for late night conversations are both out of the state right now . . . so with noone to talk to, I just laid there trying to sleep, without much luck.

This morning I got up with the kiddos and we had to mail something. We left the house at 8:30 with them literally still in what they slept in and me not much better, 250 miles and 7 hours later we were home (I know very un-green of me). When we mailed the bill (which was going to Boulder), Alyssa started asking a gazillion questions about where things were, so yet again, for another geography lesson, what the hell, let's drive up Lookout Mountain . . . . so we're up there and I'm pointing out various places to her and then she and Hailey wanted to know where I lived when I was a kid . . . so, yeah, next thing we're filling up the gas tank and heading up I-70. As we were driving I found myself teaching my children about things like mining, waterfalls and even the continental divide, they were amazed at going through tunnels, it's not that we'd never been up there before, but we usually took the passes, because we would go in the fall to look at the leaves or something. Hailey was really interested in the whole continental divide thing too . . . . she's the "logical" one. We stopped to eat lunch (in the car, given our appearance) in Silverthorne, then headed to Frisco where they got to see good old Summit Middle School, on to Breckenridge, where, yes Alyssa was so excited to learn that I actually went to Kindergarten at some point in my life, then by the house I grew up in down the road in Blue River. What's crazy is I have taken them up there before, but never with that purpose, I've never driven them by the places where I actually spent my time . . .

As we started to head over Hoosier pass to Fairplay, I realized that I was starting to feel better, a lot better, and I started to realize that I had been taking my stresses out on other people, not so much in the obvious ways, in the not so obvious ones though, I've been kinda clingy and annoying to a lot of my friends over the last three weeks which is out of character . . . I kinda knew that all along, but somehow that crisp mountain air brought it to the forefront of my mind. So, to those of you that I did that to, I'm sorry.

We headed down into Alma, and I showed them the house I lived in there, then into Fairplay. I didn't take them by the other three places I lived out there, I would have had to drive halfway to Buena Vista to get to one, and the other two were about four miles each out of the way as well, but they did get to see good old South Park High.

Sometime after we went up and over the top of Kenosha pass and were coming down into Grant, all three of them fell asleep, I felt even better. That was what I needed, just me, my music and my car (although a minivan is not nearly as fun to drive on those roads as my old Jetta or my mom's Eclipse). No cell service, obviously no computer and all three kids dead to the world, so they were quiet too! I had a moment of reflection as I came around the corner and saw Platte Canyon High School for the first time since those horrific events there, I had so many friends that walked the halls of that school, heck, some of you walked the halls of that school. As I kept driving, through Bailey and starting up Crow Hill, Nickelback's "Photograph" came on the trusty iPod in an ironic and symbolic way as I was at the tail end of this journey heading away from my past and back toward the civilization of the Denver Metro area and my present and future then up and over the hill as Nickelback faded and Blink 182's "Dammit" came on the phone started beeping from the missed calls and voicemails I had. So I took a breath, checked my voicemail and then checked my e-mail (yes, from my cell phone) . . . and life goes on, rejuvenated and refreshed, and I'm not even sure why. Maybe it's because I haven't done anything that spontaneous in like a decade, maybe it's because I was sharing with and teaching my children, maybe it's just because I had time to think, I don't know, but I feel better.

Archived Blogs

I think I'm going to bring back some archived blogs from various times in my past ... see what's worth republishing ... I won't overwhelm, maybe one a day or something!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I think that trust is the number one, most important characteristic in any relationship. Whether with a lover, a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend, even our pets. Without trust we have nothing, nothing to hang on to. There may be strings tossed here or there, but there isn't a rope to hang on to.

When trust is broken I think it takes a very, very long time to get over, if someone is ever able to get over broken trust. It also takes a lot of effort, a lot of reassurance, a lot of flat out honesty, humility and other unpleasant things that the one that broke trust may not want to take part in.

Trust is not something that can just come and go, and the security that goes along with it is even harder to get back when it's lost. This is the reason that sometimes we must be brutally honest with those we are closest to, they say what you don't know can't hurt you ... that may have moments when it's true ... but sometimes what is best for everyone involved is brutal honesty. Being lied to hurts way more than hearing even the most hurtful things.

This is true when a parent breaks our trust, when our children break our trust, when a friend does or even a significant other. There aren't many truths that will hurt more than knowing you've been lied to, deceived, tricked ... that your views of a person or of a relationship are completely based on lies ...

... stress lately ...

I normally am not as negative as I have been in recent posts ... it's just in the last two weeks ... I've;
  • Moved
    • then exaggerate that by adding "into my mom's basement at 32"
    • then add "by force because my dad kicked me out of a house that he bought for me, that I never asked him to"
  • My baby boy started Kindergarten
  • My girls started a new school
    • exaggerate that by both of them having stomach problems (that my dimestore psychology thinks is probably psychosomatic), one of them having hives, and both of them not wanting me out of their site 90%+ of the time
  • My divorce was finalized
    • then exaggerate that by adding that my child support was cut to 25% of what it was during the separation ... adding financial stress
  • My relationship went from live-in to long-distance
    • then exaggerate that by adding the fact that he has no cell service where he is and really no privacy for phone calls 
  • My dog was forbidden to live in this house, so I now have a long-distance relationship with my dog

I'm sure there's more, but that's what I can think of right now .. so it's not that I'm always negative ... I just think I have had the two most stressful weeks of my life ever ...

Ironic, don't you think?

So, when my father sat me at a table in a restaurant and told me that the reason that I could no longer live in the house that he bought for me and my children to live in, to have stability ... was because it was "hurting our relationship" .... I don't think he really thought that through ... because here's the thing ... as my daughter stood in the driveway of said house for the last time today, and looked at her friend, her sister and me and said, "I hate grandpa. I hate that he made us move out of this house. I hate that he made us change schools. I hate him, hate him, hate him." (she had said things like this months ago, but I thought she had worked through some of it) ... anyway, as this was happening and as I'm watching the reaction of her friend, and realizing that it saddens me that my child is hurting, that my child is actually capable of hate, but I also empathize with her, sympathize with her ... the ironic thing is ... making us move probably hurt his relationship with his grandchildren, and with me, more than anything that came up while we were living there ever did or would. He permanently scarred his relationship with both his granddaughters ... my children will be stronger for it ... and maybe losing trust in someone just because they're defined as "family" is a good lesson to learn, I just hate that they learned it so young ... also, I guess I need to say, that I don't encourage this feeling of hate, I tell her I understand how she's feeling, and that it's okay to express that ... they don't understand why, anymore than I do ... but they do know who made the decision, it's hard to hide that, when they know who bought the house in the first place ...

Friday, August 27, 2010


I think even the strongest of women sometimes need to have the man in their life be their man. There's a line from a Shania Twain song; the woman in me, needs the man in you. I can completely understand that line.

I am a very physical person anyway, author Gary Chapman wrote a book on the 5 love languages and I come out pretty strongly on the physical side. Despite this I think even those that don't lean that way sometimes need contact.

There are times when I feel like I just need to be held, to feel the strength of my man's arms, the smell of his skin. Despite how that might sound it's not even remotely sexual (although it could be), it's just sheer human contact. The brush of a hand, the warmth of a hug, just the security that comes with being held.

I have had a few stressful days, that have emphasized the fact that I am now in a long distance relationship, and that contact is harder to come by. Sure, I have my kids, my mom, my cats; but it's just not the same, it's not the same level of security or strength; for my kids I'm sure that it has that meaning to them, and there is security in the snuggles of my children, but it's still not the same.

I am a pretty strong girl, woman whatever female term you want to use, but there are times when I just need to be weak, to be vulnerable, to just be held. This is something I will have to get used to for the foreseeable future, as sharing a city, nonetheless home, with him is something out of reach right now.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I don't like lose/lose situations ... I don't handle them well.

What happened to me tonight is not something that hasn't happened before. I was asked to do something, I felt horrible, had a migraine, but because of who I was doing it with, who was asking me, I reluctantly agreed. Then that person ended up not doing it. I've had this happen many times before in my life, with friends, parents, significant others ... being talked into something and then being stuck there without the people/person that I went there to spend time with.

What's hard about it is that at that point you've made a commitment, you're there, other people are counting on you ... so you come off as whiny or a bitch or many other bad things if you back out; even though it was something you didn't want to do in the first place.

So, now a bunch of people probably think I am a whiny bitch, because I have a migraine and really, really need sleep. I was willing to make sacrifices for someone, but when I wasn't even going to be spending time with that person, the sacrifices were no longer worth it.

Maybe I am whiny, maybe I am a bitch, maybe I made the wrong choice, but I would have been miserable either way; if I had stayed and followed through to save face and honor a commitment or left and taken care of myself ...  and really how it turned out, I didn't even make a choice; because I chose to share my frustration with the person that left me it was made for me ...probably making me look even worse in the process ..

Sorry if this is all twisted & contorted ... I took a sleeping pill ... so I'm a little out of it ... goodnight blog world ...


My baby boy, my youngest child went off to his first day of Kindergarten today. In some ways this is relieving; a house to myself, the need for child care drastically diminished, my boy slowly turning into the man I want him to be someday. In many ways this is sad and depressing; for the foreseeable future this is the last of the pre-school-age milestones that I will see with my own children. This was the last first day of Kindergarten, it means this phase of not just their life, but mine is over.

I know for some that don't have kids, or kids of their own, or maybe even just some parents that don't have the sentimentality that I do that it doesn't make sense. My kids have been my world for 9 years, for 9 years a large part of my identity has been as a mom, mostly a stay-at-home mom of kids that weren't in school yet. I know that as they get older, which school is a part of, they need me less (which some may say is a good thing), they start developing their own lives, their own hobbies, and while they still are my life, I become less and less of theirs. Back to school nights, Kindergarten graduations, last days of school, birthdays ... these things are all very sentimental to me, probably just as much as first steps were.

So far, the baby phase is my favorite phase of motherhood, from birth to about 18 months, then it gets hard, until they hit about 3 1/2, and then it gets easier again. There is a lot about recent milestones, and the fact that I'm getting older that makes me question whether or not I ever want to have more kids. The answer in reality is that I do, so yes I'm crazy, I have 3 and I want more. However, the practical side of me knows that right now is absolutely out of the question for about 100 different reasons, and as my little boy gets older, it becomes less and less practical to go back to "start over" when I've already brought 3 this far. I think that's part of the bittersweet feeling of today as well.

Overall I am happy for a successful first day for him and I just hope that the sadness of it is fleeting. I am blessed to have the three amazing children I have and that they are the kids they are, the people they are and despite some of the bittersweet stuff I am happy to be able to witness all these amazing milestones in their lives!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Moved in ... mostly

I am mostly moved in now, to my mom's basement.

It is a very, very hard thing to move back into a house that your parent(s) run when you are 32 years old and have lived without a parent for almost 12 years. Besides, I'm used to being the parent, not having one.

My mom and I agree on a lot and disagree on a lot ... in the end I know it will be okay.

I still have to go clean out and pack a few things from my kitchen, dining room and yard at my old house. My dad has actually been very understanding about timing, which I am thankful for.

After a couple days of settling in here, I will be back on the job hunt and figuring out where I go from here, because here is definitely not where I'm staying.

My girls started at their new school today, I'm excited to hear how it went. I'm glad they will be back into a normal schedule, they will have that sense of normalcy.

I'm exhausted and it's almost time to go pick them up ... so goodbye for now ... so much more to write ... just no energy ...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Exhausted ...

My kids have been amazing today ... well my oldest 2 anyway ... they packed up a ton of my kitchen ... so I could work on other stuff ... it's almost time to go pick up a moving truck and I don't fee incredibly overwhelmed, but I still feel like I'm not ready. We'll get it all on that truck somehow though ... we have to lol ... I am not looking forward to cleaning ... but that has to be done too ... I think this may be last blog post for a few days ... but my computer will only be down for 18 hours or so I'm thinking, so I could be wrong ... but if I'm right ... I'll see you all on the flip side!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I want you to want to do the dishes ....

So, this is a blog post that I have been writing in my head for years (that's my way of saying don't take this as a slam on the current man in my life ♥) ... but it seems to be an ongoing theme in my relationships with men and in those of my friends with their significant others. I have heard it reversed and I will get to that as well!

So, let's start with that line; "I want you to want to do the dishes" ... for those of you that don't know where that line is from, it is from the movie, The Break-up Jennifer Aniston's character says it to Vince Vaughn's character after a party has occurred at their house and he sits down to play video games while she is in the kitchen doing the dishes. She of course is angry, she wants his help, he responds and says basically fine, I'll come help, she says something like I don't want you to do it because I'm asking you to, and then says "I want you to want to do the dishes" ... he of course finds this ridiculous, stating, "who would want to do the dishes?"

Unfortunately, the metaphor in all that is one that most women know very well, and some men do too. Nobody wants to do the dishes, well maybe a few do, but not many. She wanted him to want to help her to want to spend time with her, to be part of the household of people instead of just a fixture in it.

No girl or woman wants to force a guy to take her on a date, or snuggle and watch a movie, or hold her hand in public or make love to her ... we don't want that ... we want them to do it because they want to. Maybe not even that it's something they want to do, but because they want to make her happy. Robert Heinlan once defined love as; "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own" ... this is basically the concept at play in this whole metaphor of "I want you to want to do the dishes" ...

When I was married to my ex he had a hobby he did every Saturday morning at first and then it turned into every Saturday & Sunday morning, so along with his work, this meant he was gone from the house no later than 7am, 7 days a week. Sometimes I wanted him to stay home, sometimes for as selfish a reason as then maybe I could sleep in one day, but because I wanted to spend time with him, wanted to actually eat breakfast with him for once ... but it was never the same if I asked him to stay home. I wanted him to know that was something I wanted and make the choice to do it on his own, to choose me over his hobby, over his friends ... to choose to stay home just because it was something I wanted. I didn't want him to stop going altogether or to not go all weekend, just one day, every now and then, to just either realize the night before or the morning of that he wanted to and think something like, "you know what, today I'm going to spend some time with my wife, eat breakfast with my kids" ... it rarely happened, in fact I think it only happened when I asked him to, and even then there were times that he still went, just sometimes for a shorter amount of time.

I think there are a lot of situation where this falls into play and on the "gamer widow" side ... yes, my current boyfriend plays a lot of WoW & COD ... part of what I think I have a hard time with when it comes to this is that it's not predictable. I am a spontaneous person, but at the same time I like to know certain things in advance. It's the part where it catches me off guard ... like we just got done raiding on WoW together, and we get off the computer in my mind to go to bed and watch TV or whatever, and then he tells me he's going to play COD, I never react well. It's not that I have a problem with him playing, it's that in my own mind it wasn't the plan, so the lack of knowledge and the unpredictability don't help. However, it's the same thing in a lot of respects, if one of his friends IMs him or texts him and tells him that they want him to play, every once in a while it would be nice if he said, "na I'm going to spend some time with the girly tonight" or something ... it's actually a very hard thing to explain, but I think most girls get it.

The male analogy that my boyfriend gave me when he said that it made sense to him, was to say that he doesn't want me to sit there and watch the Broncos game with him because he's forcing me to, he wants me to do it because I want to. Whether he means that in the literal watch the Broncos because I want to watch the Broncos or in the "girl" sense of I want you to do it because it's something I enjoy and we can spend some time together, I don't know, but it is kind of a way of looking at it from a male perspective.

It's hard, because us girls are pretty willing to admit that a movie is a "chick flick" .. but we want to see it! We also want to see it with the men in our lives in most circumstances, but we also don't want to hear them bitch and complain the whole time or after or anything else about how "girly" it was or how we "made them watch it" ... we know that our men don't want to watch these movies .. and a comment after about how "girly" it was or something is one thing, but ruining the experience for us is a totally different thing. It comes down to the fine dance of a relationship ... guys don't want us to sit there and watch sporting events (I use sporting events as a stereotypical example, I actually like watching football & basketball) with them and bitch the whole time about how stupid this game is, and say things like "how can anyone watch this, they're all just a bunch of steroid driven male animals out there trying to prove their masculinity to each other" ... and roll our eyes and act like this is just the worst possible thing as a man that you could have made us do. Again it goes back to if you're with someone you truly love their happiness should mean close to everything to you. I don't believe in sacrificing who you are, but you should be able to bend, to open your horizons ... to compromise!

So, you don't like the same kind of music ... make a mix cd or a playlist on your iPod that has alternating music and then music you both like. So, she likes chick flicks and he likes horror ... alternate, a chick flick this week, a horror movie next week .... these are things couples everywhere do in order to compromise in relationships. The point is though it ruins the experience for the one that wants to see that movie or listen to that music if the entire time it's being complained about, eyes are being rolled, snide comments are made, etc., .... we know you guys don't want to watch The Notebook for the 5th time ... but it means the world to us for you to sit down with us and watch it, and do it without whining and complaining and qq'ing ... we want you to want to watch The Notebook .... starting to make sense yet?

As far as the actual dishes, the housework ... us girls do want you to want to help us. If you are part of the household, you are equally responsible for it. Sometimes we are stay-at-home moms or even housewives, and that means that we do take on more than half of the work, but you men out there can still help. In relationships where both or neither work, it seems only fair to split work 50/50. My ex and I made a deal when I started working part-time that he would take care of the kitchen .. dishes, counters, etc., he also did the litter boxes the bulk of our marriage, because I was pregnant for so dang much of it ... I did everything else. He helped before get togethers and sometimes helped put away his laundry, but as a stay-at-home mom I did everything else. That was a compromise that we came to, and it worked, however we did a lot of fighting before we wound up with that solution.

When there are things to be done in "common property" ... I think men and women alike think the other should help, but that should be something that is done naturally, not something that one forces the other to do .. such as the dishes .. us girls want you guys to want to help to want to do the dishes to want to do your part in the household to maintain it and keep it running.

I hate being naggy, it actually is harder for me to say "hey, can you help me with this" than about anything else. I am a hinter .. which is bad .. all men tell me that's bad. I'm like, "gee those dishes really need to be done," or "wow, the dogs shed a lot this week, we really need to vacuum" or "it's trash night we should get the trash out," or "the bathroom is disgusting" .. and it's not that I expect the men that have shared my life and my home to jump at the opportunity to clean something, and I'm all for cleaning myself as well .. but I absolutely detest having to flat out ask an adult type person to help clean something or do something that I see as obvious ... I want them to want to do the dishes, to want to vacuum, to want to help take out the trash, to want to help clean the bathroom ... I want them to want to help me and participate in the household that we share ...

Having talked to some girlfriends about this, I am not alone in this ... there are many of us women that detest the need to be naggy, we don't want to be bitchy, we don't want to make "honey do" lists ... we just want help when it's obvious that we need help ... we want you to want to help!

I know I've said basically the same thing now in about twelve different ways ... so I'm going to stop ... years of writing something in your head, could almost write a novel ;) ... so boys when it comes down to it we do want you to want to do the dishes!


Here is the definition from Webster online for Defensive;

a. 1. Serving to defend or protect; proper for defense; opposed to offensive; as, defensive armor.
A moat defensive to a house.
- Shak.
2. Carried on by resisting attack or aggression; - opposed to offensive; as, defensive war.
3. In a state or posture of defense.
n. 1. That which defends; a safeguard.
Wars preventive, upon just fears, are true defensives.
- Bacon.
To be on the defensive
to be or stand in a state or posture of defense or resistance, in opposition to aggression or attack.

So exactly when did this become a negative word? When did defending what one thinks is right become a bad thing?

When I was a teenager I had the typical "think I know everything" attitude, I would defend positions vigilantly. However, as I've gotten older and less black and white in my thinking, adding more areas of gray, I STILL am the kind of person that will defend against unwarranted attacks not only against myself, but those I love as well.

There are certain situations, certain places, such as the workplace, where I virtually become a doormat. I don't defend at all, I just go with what is expected of me, what they tell me.

Recently in a forum for our raiding group in WoW someone said that a thread was turning into the "typical defensive thread" basically saying that about me. I am very active in our forums, etc., however when someone is attacking our guild, our raiding group, our leadership, who not only do I respect in game, but in this particular raiding group, consider all the officers (there are 4 of us plus an adviser) to be real life friends. The only one I don't know in real life I have spent hours talking to online about real life and we have a ton in common.

My father also likes to blow off anything I say as being "defensive."

Again, I ask when did defending what one believes is right, or defending against offensive attacks and aggression become a bad thing? And since when does being "defensive" mean that what you say has no value; that what you say can be blown off as "just being defensive" rather than actually listening to the words you say.

Defending ourselves, our friends & loved ones, what we believe in, protecting what is right, protecting those that are innocent, and aren't there to defend themselves should be an act of nobility and should be revered by people ...

I've decided that people "blow me off" as just being "defensive" when they don't have a defensible position themselves ... people use it as a way to stop an argument sometimes, but it does seem whenever I make a very valid point and make it clear that I'm not backing down from that point, that is when I most hear people say, "oh, you're just being defensive."

I guess to them, I'm supposed to just sit back and take whatever they can dish out, and not stand up for myself or those I care about.

Yeah, that makes sense ...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Move ...

So this will be a lot of venting I think ... plus a chance for me to tell the entire story to the best of my knowledge.

When I first became separated from my ex, I asked my dad to co-sign on an apartment for me. I fully intended to be able to pay the rent, between my paycheck at the time and my child support, I would have had the money to pay the rent and the utilities and everything with no problem. My father agreed stating, "you have so many other things going on in your life, so many unsures, you need a stable place to live, and where you and your mother won't kill each other." ... I had moved from my house in Castle Rock that I shared with my husband to my mom's house and now, in June 2008 was getting ready to move to an apartment in Parker.

Two months after I moved in my ex was laid off, I lost my child support. For the first few months I just needed help with the rent. All this time I was looking for full-time work (my job at that time was part-time retail) ... my work history is all retail and accounting, but I came into a job market where CPAs are applying for accounts receivable jobs, there were no jobs for someone that had some accounting experience, but hadn't worked in the field in 6+ years, especially when you factored in that I needed benefits and an income to help cover the childcare.

I had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom ... a decision that I do not regret, however it did not help my post-divorce circumstances.

After the Christmas season was over, my retail hours dropped tremendously, to the point that I earned a bonus, but wasn't bonus eligible because I hadn't worked enough hours. So, now, no child support, my paychecks had been cut in half from what they had been, I was desperate. I upped my job searches, started selling things on ebay, I sold jewelry off to jewelers to pay the electric bill ... I needed more and more help from both my parents ... in March 2009 my dad told me I had to find a cheaper place to live if he was going to continue to pay my rent.

Within the dollar amount that he gave me, I could either move to the slums of the Denver metro area or I could move to a smaller town, so I chose to move closer to him, to be closer to his help, to be in an area that has a lower cost of living, where the rent amount he was willing to help me with did not mean I would be fearful of my children playing outside.

I had been researching nursing schools & programs and had found out that the CSU-Pueblo program attached to Pueblo Community College was one of very few public schools in the state that didn't have a long waiting list to get into their nursing program ... I wanted to be a nurse for a while, but just hadn't pursued it.

When the time came to find a place in this lovely city that my father lives in; we found a house that was for rent or sale ... my dad figured out that buying it would actually be cheaper per month than renting it ... so my dad BOUGHT me a house ... I thought this finally meant stability for me and my children, that there would be no more school changes, no more friends to say goodbye to, that they would have the one thing I wanted for them; a place to call home ...

So, when I moved closer to my dad, I had to quit the part-time job I had, something that was hard for me, and literally moved with no income ... no job, no child support ... nothing ...

Luckily about a month later my ex found employment and started paying me a decent amount of child support. I started school to get my CNA certificate. I started searching for jobs before I even moved, I submitted resumes, online, in person, by mail ... I applied for every job I remotely qualified for and never even got a call back, by November I was getting very discouraged, but I was weeks away from a CNA certificate so I saw light at the end of the tunnel.

This entire time, my father seemed to be very understanding .. telling me he knew the job market was tough, and he knew it would take me a while ... at one point even saying, "I know it may take you until March or so to be able to pay rent."

In December I was having a hard time getting my bills paid, I couldn't even think about Christmas shopping; I sent an email to both my parents, my mom wrote back that she would help me with what she could, my dad wrote back and harshly told me that my kids and I needed to learn we couldn't have everything we wanted. That we had to learn to live without ... this was something I never understood ... we live without a lot ... sometimes power, sometimes hot water, sometimes phones, sometimes food, sometimes medicine ... trust me, even my kids weren't being greedy that Christmas ... I didn't know what it was he thought we were spending money on that we shouldn't .. food? electricity? .. heat? ... I didn't understand. It made me leery of asking for any kind of help though.

I started applying for CNA jobs in late November, I received my certificate in the beginning of January, which opened up a lot more jobs to apply for.

In February my father and I had a misunderstanding about him dropping off Valentine's for the kids which escalated ... on a Monday he had left me a message that the long-term care facility where his wife worked was hiring CNAs and I should call ... I was hesitant, I admit fully, because they already owned my house, paid for my school, had a ton of control over me, the last thing I, or they really, needed was to be MORE involved in each others lives. I was planning on calling anyway, I was sick, my kids were sick, my son was on oxygen at home ... I was going to call, but as of Wednesday morning when I hadn't called yet, my dad decided that I "wasn't trying" ... that I "didn't want to work" ... this started a slew of emails back and forth ... and while my tone may have been off in some of them, there was nothing I said that wasn't true ... he said many hurtful things to me and things that were absolutely ridiculous; like I "expected (him) to fully support me until the last kid was out of college," which is absolutely untrue, first off; he NEVER fully supported me ... second ... I was trying SOOOOO hard to find a job, get on my feet and support myself ... there was so much else that was said about how awful a person I was, about how I made a series of "bad choices" including having my children ... and staying home with them ... and that I had nobody to blame but myself in this ... real supportive parent, huh?

Now, mind you, to those that are reading this ... outside of asking him to co-sign for the initial apartment, and the rent he had to pay as a consequence of that, I asked for nothing ... when my lease was up at that apartment, I could have moved in with my mom .. I had other options as well. I could have kept my job, my ex would have gotten the same job he got, child support would have played in too. I could have continued my job hunt up there, that at some point in time would have HAD to come up with something ... I am 99% sure that I would have been self-sufficient long before now had that happened ... it was a risk moving me down here ... and it was expensive. I discussed these things with my father before he moved me, that there would be deposits on utilities, costs of moving trucks, movers (because even my dad said the only way I was moving out of a 3rd story apartment was with professional help) ... I was taking the ONLY income I had and getting rid of it ... it was a risk ... I was cautiously optimistic ... I don't know what he was in all honesty, maybe no matter how many times I discussed the risks, the costs, maybe he just didn't get it ...

In late February I received a very legal letter in the mail telling me that I must be out of the house by July 1, 2010. I was in shock ... I moved here with a promise of stability, with hope for my future ... with basically my dreams laid out before me ... all to watch it go up in flames in front of me ... I took some time before I responded ... I waited about three weeks ... I typed, I revised, I sent it off to my mom, to several others that know my dad, and some that don't, I typed more, I revised more ... in the meantime ... I had a job interview .. the only one in 2 years ... and low and behold a job offer ... as a CNA ... making enough money to afford rent, and with my child support to squeeze by every month ... so I sent the letter.

My dad asked me to go out to lunch with him, I agreed ... we sat down and he asked me almost immediately about job hunting, I told him that I had a job ... he preceded to tell me that I still must get out of the house, but that he would help with deposits or something if I needed help with that. This all left me with a feeling of "what's the point?"

At first I was ready to just set my mind on finding a new place to live here ... keeping this newly found job etc., ... however when I sat down with pen and paper and worked the numbers, I realized I was setting myself up for failure. I would be able to handle all the expected stuff, however, anything unexpected, including unpaid leave from work because of a sick child, or an extra tank of gas, or some fee the school needed for a field trip, or medicine for sick kids, would put me in a spot where I couldn't live ... nonetheless ... if my ex was laid off again ... if I stayed here, my backup plan would be 120 miles away and a school change. I would have been setting myself up for failure and for making that 120 mile move on the spur of the moment with no resources and probably mid-school year ... it was a risk I just wasn't willing to take.

So .. I decided to go with the backup plan as the main plan ... move into my mom's house. This is a place where I know I will have stability, it won't be fun, it won't be pretty, there will be times I will feel like my "adultness" has been stripped away ... it WILL give me motivation to get out ... but I know the floor won't be ripped out from under me ...

I could have been there a year ago, I could have never left to move into that apartment in the first place ... there are a ton of what ifs ... but this is where I am now ...

For my oldest, getting ready to start her 4th school in 4 years ... for my middle .. her 3rd in 3 ... this is NOT what I wanted for my children ...

My anger and frustration is only exacerbated by the fact that when my father came to pick up my daughter to take her camping this weekend he went over to the neighbor and told him that once I was out he would fix up everything ... weeds in the rock drive etc ... I would have taken care of some of that except I can't afford anything beyond basic necessity, including weed killer & gas for the lawnmower, and honestly I don't care at this point, however, it makes me mad that he will "fix things up" once I'm out ... so it's okay for my house to be all nice and white trash while I'm living here ... but not once I move out? Why did he not want to help me with these things while I was still here ... rather than waiting until I was out ... I understand it's to make the house more sale-able or rent-able ... but really, why not help make it look decent for your daughter and grandchildren, while they are living in it? That doesn't seem that far-fetched to me.

I just have lost a lot of faith in the meaning of family ... in promises ... I have lost a lot of trust period over the last few years ... friends that were lost as a part of divorce ... my husband that was lost as part of a divorce ... and now my father seems to have forgotten why he helped me in the first place ...

I completely understand that I am responsible to a large degree for my own circumstances, however, I keep ending up in situations where I am given just enough rope to hang myself with and not enough to pull me out of the hole that I'm in ... if you're not going to stand by a "handout" ... then don't give it ... you only hurt everyone in the end ...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Colorado Girls

I think there are parts of this video that only people from Colorado, particularly the Denver metro area will understand, but all & all I think this is the best made spoof of Katy Perry's "California Gurls" I have seen, plus it speaks to Colorado pride. I downloaded the mp3 and have listened to this song many times, it makes me laugh, makes me happy inside!

Moving ... Stress Factor Maxed ...

So, I'm in the process of moving ... it's a long story ... but basically I'm moving out of a house that my dad bought for me into my mom's basement ...

When I got divorced I had been a stay at home mom for 7+ years, outside of a part-time job. Nobody gets married thinking they will get divorced, nobody does ... I was actually very judgmental of people that divorced in the past, but now I am one of them, and that is somewhat guilt that I have to live with, especially for my children, but when it comes down to it now I am.

It put me in an odd place though, I didn't finish my education because of the birth of my first and my pregnancy with my second. I didn't have any solid, full-time work history, so it left me with not much to support myself with, outside of my part-time income and my child support. I lived in an apartment for a year and searched for full-time work, without finding anything that would cover my childcare and provide an income. My dad bought me a house in another city and offered to pay for me to go to school for nursing. I received my CNA certificate in January, my father gave me until March to be able to start paying rent, I got a job in March, but it was too late for him, so several months later I had to give my notice, because to try to make it on my own on the small income this job provided was basically setting myself up to fail. So, my father is going to continue paying for my education despite a lot of resentment both ways over this whole house thing, and I am moving in with my mother for a few months while I get on my feet in another city.

This is a hard move, it will be my oldest's 4th school in 4 years, for my middle 3rd in 3 .... what is hard is if my father had never helped me in the first place I would have been in my mom's basement over a year ago, my kids would have had one less school change and I probably would be completely on my feet already/again. The constant moving doesn't make it easy for me to get a stable income and settle in to the responsibilities I need & want to have. It is also horrible for my kids to have to change social circles and schools as often as they have.

This is also a hard move because my mom's basement is about the last place I want to be, but that's good because I will have a lot of motivation to get out of there. I hope to get through school and get my RN within 2 years, so that I can really, really support myself and my kids very soon.

So, packing and moving over the next week will be interesting ... the change in my life will be hard ... I'm grateful to have a wonderful circle of friends to help me through it, and I'm grateful to have kids that are strong enough to handle it.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Mommy Wars

On Facebook recently I was part of a debate on a friend's wall. This is something I actually try very hard to avoid, nobody likes their wall becoming a place for argument, and many of these debates can be moved to private forums.

This is the debate that took place; a friend asked as her "status message" for advice from veteran parents about what to do with a biting child. Several people said bite him back, myself included, based on experience that I have with my own children, some things work on some kids, some things don't, but when it comes to biting I have seen it work with several children. A child can't learn empathy unless they experience pain, much like a kitten has to learn how to control the strength of their bite and the power of their claws by playing with other kittens and cats, a child has to learn that certain words hurt, certain actions

The hard part about blogging ...

I wanted this blog to be a true diary, but given it's public nature, I have to decide how far into my life I want to let my readers ... how much I want to put myself, my relationships and the other people in my life into a spotlight ... now if I could remain completely anonymous that would be nice, but I know I can't do that; my mouth is too big, I will want those I know, those I love to read it. In many cases I can use symbolism and other means of telling my story without putting the true story in the spotlight, but in some to tell the story I want to tell I can only use things that are obvious. So then it becomes my honesty vs protecting people that may be hurt by my words or may not want me to share publicly the details of our relationship(s) or lives ... this is the hardest part about blogging for anyone, I am sure.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

WoW 101

I know I waited all of 15 minutes after my last post to post this one ... don't worry ... as time goes on I'll run out of things to talk about.


So I don't even know where to start WoW is an amazingly complex game, with millions of people, it's own economy, "real life" crime, social systems and structures, and an amazing story line. The biggest part about WoW is for the most part there is no ending, it is rare that anyone has completed everything that can be completed in the entire game ... and even if there are a handful of people out of the millions that play, they can always start all over with a new character, a new faction and do it all again, from a completely different point of view.
An artist's rendering of the Alliance Night Elves

An artist's rendering of some of the horde races; Blood Elves, a Tauren & an Undead
That leads me to one of the very basics. Within the World of Warcraft there are two factions, the Alliance (typically thought to be the "good guys") and the Horde (typically thought to be the "bad guys"). When you do anything that is Player vs Player it is typically done with these two factions fighting one another. Each faction has their own towns & cities, auction houses and quest lines. There are 3 kinds of servers or "realms" you can play on, PVE (player vs environment), PVP (player vs player), & RP (role-playing). You can engage in player vs player activities on all 3 kinds, however if you are on a PVP server members of the opposite faction can attack you at any time, making things a little bit interesting and frustrating. Within the factions there are races, this is how you can customize your character or "toon" ... you pick a race and then you can adjust the facial features, hair, jewelry, facial markings, and other things, to make your toon your own. The Alliance classes are Humans, Gnomes, Dwarfs, Night Elves, Draenei and soon the Worgen (a werewolf class coming out with the Cataclysm expansion). The Horde classes are the Undead, Trolls, Taurens, Orcs, Blood Elves and soon Goblins (also coming out with the Cataclysm expansion). Certain races can be certain classes, so sometimes your choice in class effects your choice in race. Classes are basically the role you play within the game, the kind of toon you have. Before I explain each individual class, let me explain for a minute how group events work within the game.

There are several group events that require people to play different roles; tanks, healers & dps (damage per second). Tanks basically keep the aggro or threat, it is their job to make sure that the "bad guys" are attacking them and not the dps or the healers. Their entire job is to generate threat and hold the mobs so that the dps can kill them. In larger groups it is usually required that you have a main tank and an off tank, so 2 tanks in the group. This is necessary because sometimes two "mobs" need to be separated or a boss of some kind has to be swapped between two tanks to make sure the tanks don't die. Healers are kind of self-explanatory but their job is to keep everyone alive, in large groups there are two kinds of healers, tank healers & raid healers. Tank healers focus on just keeping the tank alive, while raid healers focus on keeping the dps and other healers alive. Finally, the dps is there to kill things, there are a few kinds of dps; caster, ranged & melee. Technically speaking casters are ranged, but that's a complexity I won't get into right now. Casters are the basic "magicians" the kind you think of when you think of fantasy type games, Harry Potter, etc., basic magicians. Ranged (non-caster) dps is basically just one class, the hunter, that does most of their damage with a gun, bow, crossbow or thrown weapon, so they are considered ranged. Melee dps is any of the classes that literally beat on the bad guys with weapons; swords, daggers, axes, etc. In a 5-man group there is one tank, one healer & three dps. In a typical 10-man raid group there are two tanks, two-three healers & five-six dps, usually balanced between caster/ranged and melee. In a typical 25-man raid group there are three tanks, five-seven healers and fifteen-seventeen dps.

Classes can fill different roles and customize their game play by choosing their own talents withing talent trees as they level, these various talents make you stronger at doing certain things and can define the role you play in a group or raid. Okay that all being said I will break down the classes in the most simple way I can.

Druids can fill all roles, they are the only class that can. Druids can take on a bear form to be a tank, a cat form to be melee dps, a tree form to heal, or a "moonkin" form otherwise known as "boomkin" basically looks like an owl with horns, and in that form they can be caster dps.

Hunters fill a physical, ranged dps role. Hunters shoot special arrows or bullets with a ranged weapon and use varying pets to help them maintain higher damage. Different kinds of pets fill different roles, so hunters can choose which pet best fits their talents and how they play their hunter.

Mages are casters filling a dps role. They have three talent trees; arcane, frost & fire. While arcane is the preferred tree for raiding both frost and fire have their benefits.

Paladins, much like druids can fill many roles. In their protection tree they can become tanks, through their holy tree they can become healers (tank healers primarily), and through their retribution tree they can become melee dps.

Priests are primarily healers, they used to be the be-all, end-all healers, but have been "nerfed" and other healing classes made stronger. They can also fill the role of caster dps. In their Holy tree they are primarily raid healers, in their discipline tree they are primarily tank healers and in their shadow tree they are caster dps. However, priests can dps in both holy and discipline trees, but their damage will be much lower than in a shadow tree.

Rogues are melee dps with the added bonus of applying poisons to their weapons, so when they attack the bad guys they also add poisons to them. Rogues are also able to pick locks and pickpocket, making them valuable outside of raiding.

Shamans can fulfill three different roles; in their restoration tree they are healers, in their elemental tree they are caster dps and in their enhancement tree they are melee dps. Shamans put down totems providing the entire raid with "buffs" ie benefits like improved spellpower etc., that along with a spell they have called heroism on the alliance side, bloodlust on the horde side that increases damage done, haste and healing for a short time make them a huge benefit in all raids.

Warlocks are caster dps with the benefit of a pet. Warlock pets are basically summoned demons and they have several to choose from that fill different roles. The first minion that warlocks get is a genie looking thing often referred to as a blueberry that is a tank, making low level questing and leveling much easier. In raids warlocks are very beneficial due to the nature of their spells. They cast many DOTs (damage over time spells), so they continue to do damage even when they aren't actively casting.

Warriors can be tanks or melee dps. Warriors started out as the prime tanking class, but over time (kind of like priests) have been nerfed while other tanking classes have been made stronger.

Deathknights are the first and so far only hero class in WoW. You must have a level 55 toon in order to create one and they start at level 55 rather than at level 1. Deathknights came out with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and basically are minions of the Lich King that saw the light and turned good. They can fill the roles of tanks or melee dps. They cast diseases with their weapon strikes, killing enemies with various plagues and fevers. They have become a very strong tanking class, and are a unique breed because they can tank in two different talent trees (some would argue all three), they can also dps in all three trees. This variety makes them very personal toons to play.

So, those are the classes .... so you pick your class, race, gender you design your toon and you're launched into the land of Azeroth as a level 1 in a "starter area" ... starter areas have many quests that involve "neutral" enemies. This means that nothing will attack you unless you attack it. Typically speaking it takes less than an hour to get to level 5 ... maybe 3 hours to get to level 10 ... this can be the hook. It seems so fast, so easy, it makes you want to just keep going. You do various quests, given out by NPC's (non-player characters), kill things and complete dungeons in order to level up. At level 20 you get your first ride-able ground mount, these are race specific, humans get horses, blood elves get hawkstriders, gnomes get mechanochickens, etc., at level 40 you can upgrade your mounts to faster ones, at level 60 you can get a flying mount, making questing go much faster and an enormous help on PVP realms. So you do all this leveling to get to level 80 ... and then you actually start playing the game. This is where the fun starts, you see the story unfold in what is called end-game content. This is where the progression raiding happens, where the "just one more level" turns into "just one more boss" ... this is where you really start worrying and caring about the gear your toon has; their boots, trinkets, weapons ... this is where the fun begins ...

I could tell you so much more ... there is so much more in WoW than all I have described ... I haven't even touched on the social aspect ... the friends ... the wonderful people. I haven't really mentioned the inner-working economy and the auction houses ... the tier gear ... the tier bonuses that come with tier gear ... there is so much more to say ... but to anyone that is actually interested in learning about WoW that doesn't already know, I have probably already bored you to death =p

Monday, August 2, 2010


So, I guess I have to start this thing out with some kind of a welcome so that then I can dive into the juicy parts of my life, my gaming life and my real life. I haven't decided how many people I know "for real" in either I will invite to read this blog, because then I might have to censor my words to some degree. I'm sure within the next 48 hours or so most of them will know this small piece of property on the information highway exists. I guess I'll start by telling you all a little about myself.

I'm 32 years old, a divorced mother of three little angels; sometimes their halos are held up by horns, but they really are angels. I am a gamer girl (umm duh) ... I've played games since pong and pac man ... my first real "favorite" game was a game called Balloon Fight on the original NES. I played many, many games on various systems over the years, I never thought I would be a computer gamer (beyond Freecell and Minesweeper), and then my boyfriend introduced me to Guild Wars and then the highly addictive World of Warcraft. I never thought I'd be a WoW geek, never thought I'd be this passionate about a game that basically has no end, but I am. I currently have 4 level 80s (for those of you unfamiliar with WoW 80 is the highest level you can be at least until the expansion, Cataclysm, later this year). All my 80s are alliance although I do have horde toons on other servers. My 80s consist of a Holy/Shadow Priest, Arcane/Frost Mage, Demonology Warlock & Restoration/Elemental Shaman. I am part of a casual raiding guild, but we have an inner group of progression raiders that I heal for on my priest. I probably could devote an entire blog to explaining WoW in layman terms, and probably will sometime soon. I also have an XBox 360, Wii, PS2, Gamecube, N64, NES, DS, and probably other ones I'm forgetting. I have sold and given away systems over the years, so that's far from all the platforms I've played on.

That all being said, as it mentions in my profile, I do understand the "gamer widow" side of things. The girly point of view ... the casual raiding guild that I am in, my boyfriend is the GM of, he spends a lot of time outside of WoW playing COD on the XBox (one of very few games I haven't started on yet). With administrative business within the guild and raiding groups and actual raiding time, we spend quite a bit of our free time playing WoW, and then we spend time outside of WoW playing other games. While we are doing these things together, rarely does it fall under the category of "quality time" by my definition. We both have fun playing together and apart, but sometimes the girl in me needs more than game time, so to any girls that just have guys in their lives as gamers reading this, I get that part!

Something that many people don't understand is that online gaming, regardless of the platform, is a social life.I have met so many people that have turned into amazing real life friends through games. Think about it, it's a social activity that you engage in with people from all over the world ... and if you play often you may talk to these people more often than you talk to your classmates, friends or even family. Let's say in WoW you raid 3 hour raids, 3 times a week. Even if that's all you play ... you are talking to 9 other people for 9 hours a week. It's not much different than being in a class together. There is a stigma associated with online gaming (PC, Xbox, PS3 and Wii), which is part of why I decided to write this blog. We are normal people, playing these games is really no different than being part of a book club, soccer team or any other extracurricular activity people choose to be a part of in order to be social and do something fun with people they enjoy spending time with. It is also relatively inexpensive, especially compared to going out to eat or even just have drinks with friends. Someone once said to me it was a cross-section of America ... and now I would say the world, I am a part of a huge cross-section of the world ... I play with people in England & Germany, California & Maryland ... all without leaving my home. I have made amazing friends that have helped me through very hard times in my life. As with all social interactions, there are those that annoy the crap out of me ... there are those I have fought with ... those I have had to put on "ignore" ... but overall the social experience has been very positive ...WoW has been much more positive than any other online gaming I have ever done. Halo had more sexist jerks and quite frankly perverted boys, Guild Wars doesn't promote as much social interaction as WoW, so the "friend making" isn't quite the same. WoW is built around social interaction, making quests and achievements within the game that require 10, 25 or 40 people to work together on in order to complete. WoW in many ways has changed my life, in a very positive way. My children all play on a limited basis, but they do play, I have a friend and fellow gamer that has links to reports about how games that involve as much problem solving and analytical thinking as WoW does improve their learning abilities and makes them more successful later in life. I believe it. There is a lot of problem solving required on social levels, logistical levels and developing strategies that work, because one strategy in the game does not work for everyone.

I guess I'll have to do a WoW 101 at some point, but for now I think I'll end this little post ... I will as time goes on be writing many posts about my real life; kids, boyfriend, school, work, etc., ... this I am thinking will be a true diary .. at least what I want to say in public .. but for now you get the mostly gamer side! :)
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