History is the Essence of Innumerable Biographies

Thomas Carlyle

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, my mother, Lee Ann, passed away about a week ago. I’d written about her before, but came across a weekly writing challenge called “Traces” in which we are challenged to write about leaving our mark on the world, and she’s the first person I thought of when regarding this challenge.

When reflecting upon my mother, of course there are fond memories, there are not so fond ones, too. My mother was not a saint… far from it in fact, but I loved her even more for all her misgivings. She was raised in California, dirt poor, in the 1950’s and 60’s. She had two older half brothers and one younger sister. She didn’t like to tell me stories about the things she did when she was young very often, but I know she was picked on, hated her own image, and made some rather poor choices in husbands early on.

When I tell other people about my mother, I don’t sugar coat a thing. She was honest, and so too am I. Her honesty could hurt sometimes, and maybe she wasn’t always transparent with everyone, but she was with me. When my sisters and I reminisce of her, we don’t talk about that trip we took or that time she was so nice… we tell stories about how people stared in horror as she yelled at us in a Mc Donald’s play place to get down or she’d “rip our arms off and beat us over the head with it”.

So why am I writing about my mother in a challenge about leaving my mark on the world? Well, I’m pretty certain that I’m (one of) her marks on the world. Sure, she made some awesome stuff that will still be around, now that she’s gone. She met lots of people, even took some of them in and cared for them when they were down. Those people will remember her and what she did, too. But I (and my siblings) are the result of her molding. Her mindset; brought to life. I am the product of her lifestyle, choices, personality… her everything. I am her mark on the world, and so too my children will be, after I’ve had more time to mess with their little minds and mold them into my little clones.

I am not my mother’s twin, but I carry a lot of her with me. We had the same hair, the same laugh, and the same pace and tone when speaking. People mistake me for her on the phone. Her views and mine were like night and day on some topics, and on ones we agreed on, we’d still debate the same side. She wasn’t the most understanding of what I thought, and nor I of her. She and I weren’t physically affectionate either. Honestly, I should have hugged her more. My mother loved the crap out of me though. I know she was proud of me, she said so often.

Now that she’s gone, her legacy is what she made. She made tons of objects, like dog agility equipment, painted rocks, polished rocks, paintings, blankets, and shadow boxes. However, it was the life she made herself, and those who gravitated towards it, that are her true legacy. I am who and what I am because of her, and I know she altered other lives outside our family, too. She was naturally nurturing, and people always just found her. Her legacy is her story, and now that she isn’t here to tell it, I suppose I should someday.

I hope someday I have impressed upon my children the importance of legacy; of family, and how they are my mark on the world. I’ve learned from my mother’s shortcomings and try not to have the same ones, but I’m sure the ones I do have will be remembered by my children. Someday, when they talk about legacy, I hope they think of me, I hope they know that THEY are MY mark on this world… and pass that on to their children. My story, my legacy, my mark on the world, is family.

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A Tree Is Known By It’s Fruit

1988 -- Mom and Dads Wedding

And so it’s post four of the challenge…

Day 4: Your parents

Oh man, my parents? Well… Lets see… I wasn’t born to my dad, but… I might as well have been. He’s the only dad I’ve ever known, and he’s the only dad I WANT to know. He is (as of 1997) the dad listed on my birth certificate and honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way, so with that out of the way, let’s tell you about them. We’ll actually start with my mom.

Lee Ann (Panzica) Choate

She was born on October 3rd, 1954. She spent a good chunk of her life in southern California. Her family was not a wealthy one, and maybe a little complicated in some ways. Her family tree is impossibly difficult, and I’ll be sure to post about it someday in hopes that I can find an answer. Besides all that I know my mom worked in the nutrition field for a hospital, I know she has a real knack for mechanical work, I know she’s been in the mobile home selling business, I know she’s been a bartender, and a bar manager. I know she raised four kids, and she somehow has a little bit of sanity left. Most people will know my mom for her ability to create stuff, particularly cool looking stuff, sometimes out of other stuff, sometimes out of what seems like nothing at all. She once helped me make a DNA strand out of pipe cleaners and some sort of paste. She made my dad his wooden chiefs book out of a block of wood with a dremel tool. She used to watch a lot of Bob Ross and made realistic paintings of happy tress, too.

Mom and I

My mom taught me a lot of things, quite a few of them I refused to admit I’d learned. She taught me to live thriftly, though I often will choose not to, she taught me to figure things out, she taught me acceptance, fairness, and love. She also taught me that I should stand up for myself, that I cannot nor should not try to save the entire world, and that sometimes, all someone needs is a good friend. She taught me how to do chores (again, I like to pretend I can’t keep a house to save my life) and she taught me to forgive. My mom can be quite a pain when it comes to getting a hold of her, and she suffers from depression that can really kick her butt, but all in all I know my mom did the best she could at being my mom and despite a whole lot of difficult times she came across, she never smothered me, never wronged me, and never stayed mad at me for more than an hour.

Robert Franklin Choate

My Dad, Sisters, and I

My dad was born December 26th 1962. His life was spent growing up in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I know less about my dad’s family growing up then my mom’s, but I hear driving on frozen lakes is good fun and I know that a Krolls Burger is worth 50 bucks to overnight to someone. My dad served active duty in the US Navy for more than 20 years. I was there when he retired, and I am proud of him for his service. He was a boatswain’s mate. He retired as a Senior Chief. My dad got to go to some really cool countries and he always brought back some really nifty things for us kids. I know I’ve had a kimono, a porcolin doll from Japan, a big rice hat from china, a silver plate from Singapore, a boomerang and kangaroo crossing sign from Australia, and other odds and ends.

Dad, Sarah and I

My dad’s hobbies were and still are fixing odds and ends in the house, taking care of the dog, and shouting rather loudly at the TV when the Green Bay Packers aren’t playing as well as he thinks they should. My dad also enjoys a good BBQ, a large bonfire, and Mafia Wars. Growing up, I always thought my dad was really hard on me. He’d celebrate when I brought home A’s but would be disappointed if I didn’t. He expected me to be extremely punctual, polite, and active. If it was sunny, we were told to get outside. If we were late, we were grounded. He taught me to push myself, to quit saying I’m sorry all the time, to drive a car, to change a tire, to mow the lawn, and how to string together more strands of Christmas lights than should be possible. He took me camping, fishing, to softball games, and firework shows. He did and still does have a short temper but he also loves all of us like crazy.

Over the many years I’ve gone from thinking my parents were the smartest and most capable beings in the world, to resenting them, to hating them, to missing them, to wishing they were living nearby. I have ups and downs with them, but I know they gave me every opportunity, I know they taught me the best they could, and I know they will not let me fail. Now that I have my own two kids I realize how hard they worked, what a pain in the ass I must have been, and how their imperfections really aren’t so imperfect.

So here’s a cheers to my mom and dad, I’m still alive, and I’m surviving, and it couldn’t be that way without you.

Love,

Andrea

There Is No Remedy For Love But To Love More.

– Henry David Thoreau

Day 3: Your first love

Oh dear I’m almost afraid to post this… I can talk about most things that I have said or done, but this one always makes me cringe. Most people who’ve known me while growing up already know who this was and how it went, but for the rest of you out there… my first love was this kid, in the picture, wearing the white shirt, with the long hair:

From Left to right: Me, Donald, Annie, Mark, and Tracy

Mark Montgomery

Why this guy? Honestly, I couldn’t tell ya. He was a mean little thing when others were around, but when it was just him and I? He’d be so sweet. My first date was with Mark, Annie, and Joel to see 007: Tomorrow Never Dies… if you can call it a date. I was 12. My mom dropped us off and picked us up. Can you see why this story is cringe worthy?

Anyways, as time went on we were together and then not, and then were. It seemed like every time I was over it and trying to move on he’d drag my ass right back to him. He used to tease me every single morning at the bus stop before school, one day I got mad and shook up and soda and hucked it at his feet, and I swear if looks could kill he’d have stabbed me one hundred times over.

But this is the same boy who’d take walks in the rain, who would sit and talk for hours about the harder things he faced, who came to me when he needed help and stood up for me when I needed him to. This is also the same boy who disappointed me time and again and who would pretend I wasn’t around until he needed something from me. The same boy who’d write me love letters and draw pictures of cartoon characters for me, and the same boy who made me cry over and over.

I wonder if Annie remembers the summer he suddenly grew up, geez he grew into a handsome man.

I saw Mark again after I’d gotten married, after Hayden was born. Mark asked me why I hadn’t stuck around, why hadn’t I stayed with him. I’m fairly convinced he was drunk or stoned or both, but he asked it. I found myself feeling badly for him, and telling him I waited years, but he was far too late then. He asked me to stay with him, to not go home. I nearly laughed at the thought but realized he was serious. I’ll always have a soft spot for Mark, him being my first love and all, but there’s no way I’m gonna walk back into that disaster.

It’s been a few more years since then. I hear he found a lady he is quite fond of, and together, they have a beautiful little girl. While I’ll always wonder about him and even care for him if I saw him, I’d certainly be his friend, but I’d bet its safe to say I got over that drama a long time ago, and I’m glad he’s found himself a good place in life.

I’d agree that first loves last forever, but maybe not quite as love. I’ll never forget Mark, or how it felt at that young young age to be head over heels for him, but if I saw him today, I know it wouldn’t be the same.

Remembering TBC

 

Scourge takes Org

Scourge takes Org

Before I begin this post, I did want to note that I checked out the latest phases of the invasion in both Org and Stormwind today. There were spawns, there were NPCs killing the spawns, and there were multitudes of players running around trying to get a hit in on mobs that give nada. I, being me, checked it out for the lore, for the memory, but then became quickly bored and moved on to what I felt were, bigger and better things. I also hit 62 on my warlock, Wife, today. Woot me. Garen has his lock (the other half of the old duo), to level 68. But I’m not bitter, oh no.

 

 

Stormwind Harbor

Stormwind Harbor

Anyways, thinking about this years invasion makes me remember the invasion for the last expansion. If you were there before the Burning Crusade, then you might remember the apperence of Naxx, and the scourge invasion that accompanied it. A lot of us got exalted with the Argent Dawn back then, because attunement was a required thing, and at exalted, it was free.

 

Soon thereafter, hubby was camping outside our local Walmart in the freezing January morning, waiting for the store to open to pick up two copies of The Burning Crusade. He came home with one collectors edition and one regular, but im good with the regular version. We loaded them up, and hit the install. Personally, I went to bed then. I was exhusted. But Garen stayed up and played right away.

The first few days of TBC were a blur. There was the portal. We’d been itching to go through it for some time. Here it was, and I took a good moment to look at it. It was greenish, with stars, thats about all I remember about that. I also remember that Kazzak wasn’t lurking about in the Blasted Lands anymore. His place was taken by something else (who’s name I cant remember) and Kazzak became Doom Lord Kazzak, we could hear him yelling, but no one could get to him…. yet.

I had a guild to maintain that I needed to shift from endgame, into leveling. I needed to encourage 5 man runs, and groups for questing. Surprisingly, the guild complied, and it went fairly smoothly. I was glad they grouped up some, because the mobs in the new lands were instantly spawning. Each new zone was so colorful, full of quests that were much closer together, and instances that you couldn’t get lost in. (Don’t believe me? Comepare BRD or LBRS to Shattered Halls and you’ll see what I mean.) The cap to level 70 should have taken us just as long as it took to get from 1-60, but there were 70s and flying mounts after only THREE DAYS!

And what came after level 70? Instances of course! The first time we stepped into Shattered Halls we were weary of the 6 man pulls, but when we reached a nine? We just turned around and left. Of course, it isn’t so hard now, but back then? We’d have been squished. Personally I wasn’t in a hurry to get new gear. I had stretched out as much of my hard earned tier 2 as I could, but it was as soon as 63 that I found pieces that could easily have taken their place.

And then came Kara….

And timed instances….

and Moroes…. God how I hated him….

And then it was cleared. How we struggled for months to accomplish the first few bosses and how easily the last few bit the big one. It made me cry a little inside. After that came the 25s, and the coveting of gear, and then the badges that would ruin it for everyone. The theory that epic’s weren’t really epic anymore and then the Sunwell and all the things that make WoW what it is….

But I remember the first few days. The fears, the lag, the dying (OH! the dying!) and I wonder now. I wasn’t prepared then….. maybe I am now…. but will it be the same? Two more days and we’ll know for sure!

Memories

I was talking with a friend yesterday and realized I’ve put a lot of time and effort in this game. Its been a few years now and I have over 1 year soild of time played. The up side to this is it means I have a lot of good times and memories to share. Unfortunately I dont have all my screen shots anymore but I made due with what I could find, so for you all, here’s a nice little slideshow of my WoW memories. You can click any picture at any time to take a good look at it 😛

Well WordPress wont let me put the stupid thing in here directly so here’s a link to the slideshow! Enjoy!

 http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v610/chronic_lust/ZG/?action=view&current=b0ae31ca.pbw

Top Ten Countdown

[EDIT] Im about to give up on posting pictures in my blog. I do realize its all kinda wonky, I’ve tried to fix it and can’t. I hope its not too much trouble for you all. I did notice that if you make the window smaller everything falls into place. I need to work on my CSS skills I think

Oh how I miss the good ol’ days. Im late to the show but this shared topic posted by Cathmor on Blog Azeroth who asked

What are your top 10 memories from your time in Azeroth/Outlands? Why are they so memorable? If you had to rank them from least to most memorable, which would come out as the #1 absolute best moment of your WoW career?

10. The First Time I had All Epic Gear — This was only recently actually. I’d always managed to keep a blue trinket or something to that nature, but finally, I managed to obtain every slot in pretty purple goodness for my tank set for my Paladin. ❤

Kara Cleared

Kara Cleared

9. My First Full Kara Clear — Despite its ease now, that only took more then a year to achieve, and I had to reroll from horde to alliance to have ever seen it.

8. Kiting Drak and his Buddies on a Certain Self Centered Restro Druid — In other words, like half of UBRS came a runnin at him. I managed to trap him back in Rend’s room. Was an awesome day even though I had to listen to him whine about it for near on a week.
Pwnt Druid in UBRS

Pwnt Druid in UBRS

7. First Full BRD Clear and a Gander in MC — Back when that crap was ya know, hard. It took a couple of hours but we all got attuned, and accidently pulled the molten giants. Was good for a laugh though.

6. First time I saw Ragnoros — He was HUGE!

Ragnoros!

Ragnoros!

5. All Out Balls to the Wall PvP During the AQ Opening Event — It was lag central, I died so much that timer got insane, and I don’t even know if I killed anyone. But I did get booted clear across the zone by a giant ass mob.

AQ Opening Event, Giant Bug

AQ Opening Event, Giant Bug

4. Infusion’s First Downing of Hakkar — The rest of the instance had been easy, but for some reason we could NOT take him down. He had developed this awesome move of “DC whoever has the highest threat” that was really holdin us back, but we did it, and it was good.

3. ZOMG Pet! — Learning the hard way that if you jumped off a ledge to take a short cut in an instance your pet was gonna run the long way around to find you, and he’s bringing friends!

ZG Cleared

ZG Cleared

2. Getting Suspended for Three Hours — When each battlegroup was taken down for three days to upgrade the servers, ours became severely busy with two hour plus queues. We came to find out that it had been pre determined by one server to dilerbertly all come to the same one. So being reasonable people, the Horde and Alliance got together on my ventrilo server and we all rolled on thiers. Made a guild called <We Caused Your Queue>. We sat around in Ironforge spamming needlessly, and for that, I got the suspension.

And the number 1 most memorable time in WoW:

1. Infusion’s Raid On Ironforge! — Oh man that was epic. No one expected it, it lasted for hours, and since it was a PvE server it was a rare occurance. See for yourself!