[Edited - I'm glad you got there, I was putting this together while you were getting fixed, I'm just 20-30 minutes late
So take this as a 'here is the shining path thing']
Ok, a perhaps knowledgeable 'Word-Presser' will make a comment:
WordPress is a PHP application framework (albeit CMS oriented). Its not something you can tackle willy-nilly.
You have to grok the WordPress core.
You DON'T NEED anything like Dreamweaver to work with it, because all the parts are extensible. Any programmers editor will work (you just want support for PHP syntax) . You don't need a graphic GUI because the presentation layer (themes) is 100% abstracted from the logic. There are even Theme frameworks, like Sandbox and Thematic - which are also extensible. (child themes). You can update the WordPress core IN PLACE, and everything will still work 99.5% of the time due to complete abstraction and normalization. Amazing!!!
the Loop is the secret!!
Look at these:http://codex.wordpress.org/Blog_Design_and_Layout
There's a whole architecture for plug-ins and widgets...http://codex.wordpress.org/Advanced_Topics
This is 'all different' and non-linear in some ways - its "structured thinking". i.e - how do I add a behavior within a given context???
The first question is 'what is the context'???
I hope you will take the time to look at the WordPress Codex, its is arguably the best on-line documentation ever developed.http://codex.wordpress.org/Main_Page
If you follow it and post in the Forums - there is almost NOTHING you can't ask WordPress to do - just ask nicely... LOL
(I am 'someone else' over there)
and remember, Matt Mullenweg WILL e-mail you back!http://ma.tt/
and as he would say
'Peace and Love'
Good Luck, its an exhilarating trip!
[One could conclude I'm a WP believer]