Signs of Life

23 11 2011

Wow…over a year since the last post. Sorry about that!

So, let’s see. What’s been going on in my life since then? Gains, losses, and changes. Norman passed away in October of 2010 at the age of at least 19. The hubby and I were devastated as his passing. We shouldn’t have worried, though…Norman had things well in paw, as it were. A week after his passing, we went to the Greater Birmingham Humane Society on Halloween and made the acquaintance of a 4-month old kitten that came to live with us that day. He’s mostly Siamese (of the snowshoe variety), if not purebred, and his name is Merlin. We chose him because the husband wanted a cat that would be close to both of us, and not just me, since to Norman, I was his especial human. Now, a year after the fact, said husband says “be careful what you wish for, ’cause you just might get it.” Merlin runs to meet him at the door each day, demanding to be picked up. The little guy is an absolute joy, and exactly what we needed.

In January of this year, we lost Toby, our retired racing greyhound, to osteosarcoma of the hips. He wanted very badly to stay, but his pain was too great. He was a really, really good dog, and we miss him terribly. We have not yet added another grey to our household – in body, anyway. In August, I noticed a young greyhound just starting his racing career at the Southland race course. I noticed with a shock that this dog’s name was ‘PTL Muttly.’ Among our many “pet” names for Toby were Tober, Gooberdog…and Muttley. So, after some discussion, we spoke to young Muttly’s trainer, and now, when his racing career is over, PTL Muttly will join our family. Waiting for him can be difficult sometimes – but I just know it’s going to be worth it in the end.

On the WoW front…I’m with a different raid now, and enjoying it. The position may only be temporary, but I’m determined to do the absolute best I can for as long as it lasts. I do rather hope it becomes permanent, but that’s yet to be seen. In reference to the newly-announced expansion…I’m kind of excited for it. The Pandaren models look wonderful (at least, the males do. We’ve yet to see the females), and the setting looks beautiful. I just might roll a panda or two, and you can bet one of ’em will be a hunter, of course.

And as to my health. Well. I’m still in good control of the diabetes, and my doc is pleased with my A1Cs, though he says if I tighten up on my blood sugar control even more, the numbers will improve even more. I’ve been having to deal with various joint issues for months, if not years, and after a recent trip to Disney World, my orthopedist referred me to a rheumatologist, saying I apparently had some sort of arthritis and needed an expert in the field. Said rheumatologist confirmed it – osteoarthritis. He also diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, which was an interesting experience. He prodded me, gently but firmly, in an apparently random spot, and the pain sent me jolting off the exam table. Turns out that “random spot” was one of the marker tender points. So there’s that, which has me starting to take some new medications to try and get it under some sort of control to bring down the pain from the OA as well.

Week before last, I nearly fell going out the door to go to work. When the pain in my knee increased from “extremely annoying” to “agonizing,” I knew I needed to go see my orthopedist, who said I’d injured the knee. Yesterday, I underwent surgery to scope out that troublesome right knee and clean it up a bit. So now I have a splint on my right leg that goes from thigh to ankle, and will keep it on for at least a week, if not longer. It’s starting to itch under there, so I’m scratching the outside of the splint to try and somehow relieve the itching. On the up side, the knee pain I had been dealing with is no longer an issue, which means I just have to heal now. And I have happy drugs to deal with post-surgical discomfort.

So…there’s the update. Let’s hope I remember to update more in future, hrm?


Better Late Than Never

4 10 2010

This post is probably a good bit behind those of my fellow raiders…after all, the Big Event happened two weeks ago now.  But finally, those two weeks ago, I was able to do what I had wanted to do since my hunter was brought in to raid with the Anvil 25 – I became a Kingslayer as a Beast Master, with Clayburn the Devilsaur chewing on his undead butt the last ten percent just like the rest of us.  Then, this Saturday past, the 10-man Tahlian raids with downed the Lich King for their second time, granting Tahlian the rather odd distinction of being a beast master and dual Kingslayer.

It’s a strange thing, really.  And I’ve been hesitant to write about it, which is why this post didn’t go up the morning after we killed him on 25.  Am I proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish?  Indubitably.  Am I glad to have done it alongside the rest of the Anvil raid?  Of course.  There’s no other group I’d be happier to raid with at that level.  But…there’s that poisonous little word, “but.”

As a raiding BM hunter, I tend to find myself in a rather precarious position.  BM is the bottom-of-the-barrel hunter spec, and has been throughout the bulk of Lich King, if not throughout the majority of the history of World of Warcraft.  But I’ve stuck with it, done research, run spreadsheets, crawled forums to squeeze every last drop of DPS out of the spec that Blizzard gave those of us who like the concept of the Hunter as a hunter-pet team.  And I’d like to think I do reasonably well with it, considering what I’ve got to work with.  Unfortunately, my particular screwy mindset and tendencies mean that it’s also far, far too easy for some min-maxing mouthbreather to rob me of my fleeting moments of pride or happiness in my accomplishments by saying something along the lines that with a 30% buff, any reasonably competent 24 individuals can carry one idiot who likes gimping his/her raid.  No, this has not been said directly to me – but if I had dared to celebrate the Anvil’s victories in certain officially-sanctioned areas, I have no doubt it would be.

I hold scant hope that the Blizzard developers and designers will keep their word about hunter specs come Cataclysm, that all three will be close enough in damage that which you bring to raid won’t really matter.  I’m trying to trust them, but seeing the beta changes that have been coming recently, it’s been sort of difficult for me to keep the faith.  I suppose we’ll have to see what they give us come release of the 4.0 patch and expansion.

But for now…I’m a dual Kingslayer.  Tahlian the Kingslayer.  See that big brown lizard to my left?  Yeah, the devilsaur.  He’s a Kingslayer, too.  So you better not mess with him.  Clayburn the Kingslayer.  Take that, naysayers.  Take that.

Nap Attack for the Cure

2 09 2010

We’re stepping away from the world of Azeroth for the moment, and checking in with that even scarier place called Real Life.

I’m sure lots of you remember this infamous early Garfield comic strip:

It was funny then, and has passed the term “nap attack” on, at least in my household, as meaning “a random nap you didn’t originally intend to take, but were maneuvered into taking by Norman.”  Now Purina Cat Chow and the Susan G. Komen foundation have teamed up, and you can nap with your cat to have money donated to breast cancer research.  Check out Cat Chow’s Facebook page to get details on how to get involved.  Since my Granny is a breast cancer survivor, Norman and I will be participating in this event.  Sweet dreams, all you readers (and your cats!)

I can has beta? Yes! Yes, I can has.

27 08 2010

Well, that’s the big thing that’s been going on around here of late.  Tahlian’s very talented guild master entered Blizzard’s writing contest and was selected as one of the winners, earning himself and nine of his guildies beta invites.  And I was selected to be one of those nine players, much to my surprise and delight.

Now I’m not going to put up a bunch of screenshots of the spiffy new zones or other cool stuff and spoil all the surprises for you, O Readers…but I will share with you some of the early pet changes, which include the introduction of three shiny new pet families.

First new family: Monkeys!

Monkeys were originally grouped in with Gorillas as Tenacity pets before being split off into their own family and becoming Cunning pets.  Their diet currently is Fruit and Fungus – a little picky, perhaps, but still not too bad.  Their family skills are, at the moment, the same as Gorillas – Smack and Pummel – but I’m willing to bet that these are going to change as Blizzard has not made the big pet pass where all the major changes to pets will be done.  I have to admit I’ve gotten rather fond of this little guy, who I named Chistery (yes, I’m a fan of Wicked. I couldn’t help it).  He’s smaller than a gorilla, and therefore easier to see over and around…and has been pretty doggone good at holding aggro when we’ve been out together.

The next new family – Dogs!

Dogs, like the other new family we’ll get to momentarily, were originally grouped in with Wolves until they became their own family.  Dogs are Ferocity pets at the moment, but as this is beta, that could still change.  Dogs still share the family skills of Wolves – Bite and Furious Howl – but have a diet more like a bear or boar, in that they’ll eat almost anything.  Meat, Fish, Fruit, Fungus, Cheese, and Bread – dogs are another “trashcan” pet that will apparently be very easy to keep.  As you can see, the dogs of Azeroth seem to be modeled somewhat after the real world’s Neopolitan Mastiff.  This particular model, which I named Eiko, is actually the new face of the Scarlet Monestary’s Scarlet Tracking Hound.  Yes, the hyenas are becoming dogs.  But don’t worry – that striking red hyena does exist elsewhere in Cataclysm, so if you’re fond of that skin, you’ll still be able to get it.  I kind of like these guys, but I miiight not tame one for good.  It depends on what their family abilities actually end up being.

And now for the final new family – and the one that a lot of people are absolutely ga-ga for – Foxes!

Foxes, like Dogs, were originally Wolves before becoming their own family.  Currently, they’re Ferocity pets that eat Meat, Fish, and Fruit – which sounds about right for an opportunistic predator that isn’t above scavenging.  Right now, the only family ability they have is Prowl, and we know that’s going to change, because every other pet that has Prowl also has a separate combat ability as well.  These rather striking little guys come in about five different colors and all seem to be available in the lower-level areas, so they’ll be available to hunters of all ages pretty quickly on launch.  Foxes seem to have captured the hearts of a lot of hunters; I haven’t heard much complaint about their looks, although they might could stand to be scaled down a little bit.  This fellow here is about the same size as my wolf Valiant, and he should probably be smaller.

Other than that…my general impression of the beta thus far?  I’m impressed.  When I first heard what the idea was for Cataclysm, I thought I’d hate it.  But now that I’ve seen it with my own eyes and am helping beta test it – this is some good stuff, folks.  Excellent stories, flying in the old world is amazing, especially taking in how the world has changed.  If it keeps getting better as they work out the bugs, then it’s going to be an exciting time to be playing WoW.

For more information on hunter pets in Cataclysm, or just hunter pets in general, have a look at Petopia.  This is one of the longest-running hunter pet sites for World of Warcraft, and Mania does a bang-up job of keeping hunters informed – with the help of the trusty legion of forum posters over there.

The Conference of the Animals

11 06 2010

((Before we get into this story, allow me to let you see the players…most of Tahl’s pets.  Here they are:

Now that you’ve met the players, here’s the story.))

“He’s less troubled these days, and he seems to be sleeping a bit more.  To my mind, that’s good progress.  And neither you nor I have any desire to see him return to what he was after the last one.”  Tsorovan glanced towards the empty bedroom.  Over his shoulder, the great blue-furred saber cat snorted.

“I still am not sure she’s a worthy mate for him, Tsoro.  My…our…Farstrider does not always seem to have the best taste in potential partners.”  Daishar lazily licked a paw and scrubbed it over an ear, then her face.

The ghost-pale spotted cat shook his head, then turned his attention to the low-burning fire in the fireplace.  “This one…I don’t think it’s about finding a mate in her.  At least, not yet.”

“Then what is it, Tsorovan?  There’s certainly plenty of mating going on in there most nights.  Mating, but not looking for a mate?  I do not understand you.”  Daishar twitched an ear and snorted.  “There are moments I’m not sure I understand him anymore.”

Tsorovan sighed and padded over to the saber, giving her cheek a comforting lick as he attempted to explain.  “They’re both…broken.  More than a bit.  The bat’s master and that little elf boy – each of them caused great hurt, maybe great harm, both to her and to him.”  The beast’s blue eyes dimmed as he closed them and shook his head.  “I still blame myself for that.  I should not have encouraged our boy to pursue him, in hindsight.  And because of me, Tahlian got hurt.”

“You were trying to help, Tsorovan.  You wanted him to be happy.  And really, the only time the trail is truly clear is when it’s our backtrail.”  Daishar arched a furred brow at her companion.  “You were explaining the mating, but not looking for a mate, god-cat.”

“They need something.  Contact, affirmation, to feel valued…I’m not certain.  But they both need something, and at the moment, each has the other to provide it.  And the intimacy, the mating…for now, that provides whatever-it-is they need.  Their heart-wounds are too deep and too recent for either of them to even consider the possibility that they might have found a mate.  If it is to be, it will take time for them to be ready for it.”

Daishar’s striped tail lashed as she resumed her grooming.  “But is this rogue worthy of him?”

“I like Jaz.  She rubs my ears and sometimes my belly.  She fights by him, when they’re out.  I think she’s all right.   An’ more than that…she seems to kinda need us sometimes, too.”  Cinders opened one eye as his whip-thin tail thumped on the rug.  “Sometimes she goes all quiet when Master’s out, and then she needs to pet me, so I go to her.  She cried that first night, remember?”

Tsorovan nodded.  “She did.  And he comforted her.  She said she needed him.  I think he needs her too, even if he hasn’t admitted it as – Clayburn, don’t eat that, silly lizard.”  The cat swatted one of the Farstrider’s engineering tools away from the devilsaur’s questing maw.  The big brown reptile looked reproachfully at the beast.

“But I’m hungry.  And I want a treat.  When’s he getting home, anyway?”

Daishar rolled her eyes.  “You’re always hungry.  It’s a good thing he works you as hard as he does.  You’d be as fat as that pig that hangs around with Regatta-priestess if he didn’t.”

“He’ll be home when he’s home.  And if she’s not with him, she’ll not be too far behind.  And I’m sure he’ll feed you before you go out to the Citadel, so stop complaining and be patient.”  Tsorovan chuckled to himself.

“Yah…hush up, ya big wussy.”  Cinders curled a lip in a hellhound grin as he scratched behind one large pointed ear.

“I’m not a wussy!  And Miss Rashona and Miss Grizz like me better than they like you anyway!”  Clayburn swung around abruptly and settled himself by the fire, forcing Daishar and Tsorovan to duck to avoid his lashing tail.  “Demon jerk.”

“Children…children.  No fighting, no biting.  You all know the rules.  And you know full well the last thing you want to do is get Veruca stirred up, Clayburn.  She’ll jump on you again if you do.  So let’s all settle down.”  Daishar gave the devilsaur a pointed look, earning a shrug and a grumble of assent from the oversized reptile.

The room fell silent for a time, the crackle of the fire blending with the sounds of feline grooming.  Eventually, the silence was broken by Clayburn.  “I like her too.  She introduced us to Kaelys, and he likes beer and he likes me.  Maybe he’ll make me some specially just for me.”

Cinders grunted and put his muzzle back down on fiery paws.  “You think she’ll stay, Tsoro?  You think she’ll be his mate?”

Tsorovan chuckled and stretched out before the fire.  “Oh, I think it’s a bit early to be sniffing around that track, Cinders.  No need to hunt that trail yet.  Just let them be, let them mend, and let’s see what time brings us.”

Back to Real Life

1 06 2010

Tahlian sighed contentedly and curled himself around the dark-haired elf beside him in the bed.  It was late morning, he knew that…how late exactly he wasn’t sure, as apparently his alarm clock had been discarded somewhere in the living room at some point over the weekend.

The two or three quiet days had been rejuvenating for the both of them, he knew.  He and Jazalin had looked at each other, seen the pale skin and drawn faces in the mirror, and had agreed to forget about the outside world (mostly) and just…relax.  He’d cooked when they were hungry, or had sent down to the Legerdemain’s kitchen for something quick.  Otherwise, they’d slept, made love, puttered around the apartment as the mood suited them.  He’d picked up his guitar again for several hours; Jaz had read through a few chapters in one of her books as he’d quietly played.  However brief their respite from responsibility had been, it had definitely been pleasant.

Kat asked me if this was a rebound kind of thing, and I told her I didn’t know.  To be honest, I still don’t.  But whatever it is, I like it a lot. Part of it, he had to admit, was Jazalin herself.  He’d been attracted to the rogue when he first met her, but since circumstances had flung them together and he’d gotten to know her better, he’d become increasingly fond of the rogue.  He didn’t know if he’d ever dare to call it “love” – bad things happened when that word came out of his mouth, it seemed.  But if it was love or if it wasn’t, the Farstrider was grateful for the chance he’d gotten to become the woman’s friend either way.


The Farstrider cracked one eye open to find Jazalin tracing her fingers over his ribs, raising gooseflesh in their wake.  “Hmm?”  He attempted to wrap an arm around the rogue’s waist and pull her back onto the sheets beside him, but she scooted back out of grabbing range.

“You need to get up.  It’s past ten, you know.”

Tahlian sucked in a hissing breath as the rogue’s fingernails traced over his skin again.  “I thought we were on vacation,” he said, blinking blearily at Jazalin.

“We were…but we have somewhere to be today, and since we both need to clean up, someone’s got to go first.”

“Somewhere to be?”  The Farstrider’s sleep-fogged mind struggled to remember where he’d said he’d be today.  Frowning, he shook his head and began to burrow back into the pillows and blankets, stopping with a yip as Jazalin began poking him in the ribs.

“Tea.  Do you remember now?  We’re supposed to have tea with the Archmage and Bracelet.”  Jaz couldn’t quite contain a smile as her repeated pokes made her lover begin to wriggle away, the sheets riding tantalizingly lower down his body.  “Now come on…get up.”

A few more increasingly pointed pokes, and Tahlian gave up on the idea of sleep.  From under the shelter of his arm, green eyes glowed reproachfully as he pouted at the grinning Sin’dorei girl.  “Rogue.”

“Brat.  Now get out of there and go clean up…or I’ll see if Cinders wants to come help encourage you.”

“Mrh…anything but that.”  The lanky Farstrider levered himself to a sitting position, scrubbing a hand through his hair and casting it even farther into tousled disarray.  After a moment, he leaned forward and pressed a leisurely kiss to Jazalin’s lips.  As he attempted to follow the first kiss up with a second one, he murmured, “If you were already up, why didn’t you go ahead and get cleaned up yourself, hrm?”

“Because then I would have been busy dressing and wouldn’t get to watch you walk across the room when you go to bathe.”  The rogue smiled and gently shoved the Farstrider back a bit.  “So get to parading that body across the room towards that shower.”

With an amused snort, Tahlian crawled out of bed and headed for the bathroom.  As the door swung closed behind him, Jazalin stretched out and buried her face in his pillow as she heard the water begin to run.

12 years ago today…

29 05 2010

I started out on an amazing journey.  On this journey, I’ve met some incredible people.  I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, and I’ve made good decisions and bad ones.  I’ve been at death’s door once, and have no desire to revisit it.

The whole time, one man has taken this trip with me…my wonderful husband, to whom I gave my wedding vows twelve years ago today.

Happy Anniversary, my dear.  I love you.  Let’s hope the next 12 years are as fun as the first 12 have been.