Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Pamela Redpath

Vanilla Warcraft offered a plethora of depressing stories, some of which most players remember even after ten years. One such story was that of Pamela Redpath, a child whose ghost asks you to gather the parts of her doll, because she is scared and alone. Later you find out what happened to her family (spoiler: nothing good) and, well, you get the picture.

I could say I was having my fifth attempt at improving the female child model; I could say many things, but the truth is I kind of want to do right by Pamela Redpath, the totally fictional character whom I want to cuddle and protect, so there.

First the original model, so those of us who don't know what she looks like can compare (and also, as a wave in Blizzard's direction - update the child model already!).


And my belated offering to little Pamela:

Friday, 7 October 2016

July-September Blender Dump

The last blender toying I posted was Dread Captain Swann, seriously? That was two months ago! Here comes the harvest since, then, I hope it won't be too much.

This is Tinseltown, a commission from the States, I think; client was lovely, but my fun was of course the challenge of texturing the fairy dragon to look slimy but not disgusting, not to go overboard with the bump map (the 3D feel) on the outfit, and gods above, the spell. I used three different particle systems to have it flow, learnt how to use bezier curves to make that dynamic path, sprinkled a glow material on the tiny sparkly motes, then tossed it all away for something far simpler and a cheap photoshop blur. Good news is, I learnt a lot since and can likely do it better; bad news is, I still suck so badly with particles I just want to run away every time I have to use them.

Husband made the archaeology guild so I wouldn't have to end up spending a year looking for a guild that suits my tastes (I used to say 'that doesn't suck', but I've learnt that tastes simply differ. I can't for the life of me understand what people enjoy in military guilds where they do drills and endless fight scenes and get yelled at by their sergeant, but then again, they probably can't understand enjoying emotional and atmosphere immersion, or playing an archaeologist. Different tastes).

We keep the guild small because too many people means the GM can't focus on each personally; and I held most of them in an arm's length for a year, because getting close to people is dangerous and I have all the online closeness I need right now in Lucky, whom I just visited in England; but the guild members slowly grew on me, and the picture above was the night it happened. In the middle of all the horrors and dangers of Shadowmoon Valley and a full scale demon attack on the world, one of them pulled his banjo out and played. It felt so homey and intimate I think I opened up to them for the first time that night - in my heart, not in character.

When I just started Blender I tried to make a violin. I failed horribly, and was therefore scared of that banjo, being a central part of that piece; but since it's been 10 months of blender, converting the in-game mandolin into a banjo took five minutes. Was awesome. Also, this is the first piece where my character, the angsty, grieving, my-eyes-are-raven teen goth is smiling. That's character development for you.

I've known Seeyra's player since we were together in the bandit guild two years ago. She's one of those players who are brave enough to toss their character concept out the window if the chance arises; combine that with humorous, touching, extremely descriptive emotes, and you get me wanting to paint half of the things she describes - in this case, her character's gripping of her hair while having the armour welded to her back removed.

And one day I'll understand why I enjoy playing medieval doctors so much. Perhaps it's dad, the doctor, perhaps it's my fascination with anatomy, or with healing, or with gore; but allow me to bullshit a description of a panicked medieval surgery complete with flapping skin and squelching kidneys and I'm happy. Simple being, me.

I was really looking forward to making this commission, but when I finally got to it I discovered the client and I aren't on the same wavelength at all. It made working on this considerably less fun than most other pieces, doubly so because I put gods know how many hours into building the entire Lion's Pride Inn; still, I got to have fun placing in all the characters I love from former commissions as a background, and, not to mention, capture an impending tavern brawl feel; so I'm happy.

And back to Shadowmoon, where the guild yokel breathed fresh air into the lungs of the girl of his fancy, in a corridor full of fel gas, while they're both struggling to hold up the portcullis. I love stupidly dramatic first kisses, even if I had to slap the gas on in Photoshop. On better news: I think I finally learnt how to make it in blender without having to actually make particle mist, and no-particles means happy Bell.

Shadowmoon was awesome because it slapped in so much drama, which we totally lacked, being a group of containing, understanding, reasonable and friendly two-shoes - which doesn't help you when you get kidnapped by demons. On the left is Lucky's character, my beloved Dread Captain Swann (who isn't a pirate at all, she's a mild-mannered cartographer who chanced to be the model on which I try all my evil blender ideas) and with her are Ed, and doctor Casimir Solaris, who totally deserves a post of his own one day. I enjoyed making the water on the floor, and stated toying with tweaking the default warcraft body forms. It might look almost okay from this angle, but if you bend Ed forward, his head deforms to look like a banana; Evidently, work in progress.

Now that I write about them, I realize my guild members really are unique - in that so many of them are astounding. Beatrice here is a player who tends to be quiet in roleplaying but hilarious and active in the guild chat; she cracks me up really hard, and the other night she was awake for a change, which meant she was active in the roleplaying - which means, in turn, she was hilarious and addictive and made me crack up even in the serious moments. On a one-to-Rowina scale she's a solid 8.5, which might make you understand how smitten I am with Rowina, but that's for another time.

In this picture I braved some particle hair, imported all the cushions in the game, and went overboard with the bump on the large cushion. But it was fun. The image was born, of course, from Beatrice's description of the scene.

The Shadowmoon expedition was over; an important character had died, so while you might not see it, everyone's wearing black armbands, and that's also the reason for the glum, dramatic feel. We had taken down a fel reaver, rode netherdrakes and angsted through lots of fun and drama; but even better, we emerged far closer than we got there. Yay for character development.

Some banshee named Sylvanas betrayed the Alliance, due to which someone much loved died. Many others died in that battle too, and everyone blames Sylvanas, so this piece depicts Papa Moltenfists with his gravely wounded son behind him, and is called Sylvanas Must Die. I based Papa Moltenfists on my own father, so if you ever wondered where my authority and temper issues come from, here's the answer.

Being a geek roleplaying an archaeologist, I did some checking about how it's done and discovered many cool flavour facts; to convey those to other guild members I made the Beginner Archaeologist Guide, featuring Sejda, whose player is Kiddo, a guy I met in the mythological guild ten years ago (we even met for one afternoon when I visited Sweden). People might think this is meant to be informative, but the truth is I simply enjoy cramming all those tiny items into a picture to make it vaguely feel like a Victorian era Indiana Jones set. The full seven pictures of the guide are here.

Khadrun is played by yet another friend from the mythological 2006 guild, and a person with whom I share a ridiculous amount of one on one roleplaying, because his imagination and capability for detail are inspiring. Now he's finally with us (where he belongs, mwahaha) and is, as expected, spewing those lovely roleplaying moments all around.

This image has one of the new Legion models - being the building - but of course, after an hour of applying materials and bump maps to it, it turns barely three percent of it is visible in the picture, which is typical. And I love making funky, ugly expressions, with tilting the jaw in weird directions and making the character look as if it just sat on a hedgehog. But! The awesome! Part! Is that (incoming technobabble) I learnt to make black background on an image into an alpha channel without using photoshop <end technobabble) which means I can go nuts with smoke and light and spell effects, and I predict something as tasteful as 80s outfits coming soon, with so much smoke and sparkles no focal point will stand a chance. Oh, the fnu!

And last - my own character, Isolde. She's meant to be unattractive with a potato nose and zero curves and all the sex appeal of a starving ironing board, but I can't make the model look unpretty. She's also a nun, and a surgeon, and my own tool for practicing patience and accepting people even if their opinion or ways of communication differ to mine, and I think roleplaying her for two years was really good therapy and directly influenced my life (hiya, Jonas). All that said, what truly excites me about this piece is the fact I managed to make her wimple (cloth simulation, translucency, over-done bump map) - and the fact I modeled this syringe all on my own, and of course, the fact that my insecure mouse of a nun looks like a creepy, badass 19th century sadistic doctor. 

There's three or four more images in the making; there's also been some painting (gasp!) - which I haven't done since my cintiq died in February, and avoided since the new cintiq was heavily connected with the whole end-of-May mess (and thanks again to Racheli for pulling me out of that pit before I fell too deep) - but two weeks ago Ed was so lovely in the guild I just had to paint his character. It turned out crap. So I painted husband's char, which was even more crap, so I painted the yokel, which was marginally less crap but still mainly a proof that I forgot most of the techniques and direly require practice, which I'm not going to get, because Legion model viewer! And Blender and commissions and inspiration and guild and of course playing World of Warcraft. And socializing; that trip to England and the visit to the LARP gave me a taste of that thing I've avoided for six years, so there's far more socializing than usual, which means... no painting. But I'm okay with that. More than okay, which makes me wonder why I spent most of my life saying 'I love painting'. I don't. It's stupid, frustrating, boring monkey work I suck at; I'm so glad that, for now at least, I have a far more fun way to express the images I see in my mind.

But it's seven in the morning now and my mind mostly sees a pillow, so I'll go and drool on that. See you in the next blender dump!

Legion WMV: Christmas came early!

I hobble to the computer after waking up to find a link from Marlamin, stating there's finally a Warcraft Model Viewer compatible with the last Warcraft expansion. Finally I have a comfortable way to browse all those delicious new models! I could do it before with Marl's software, but the model viewer allows viewing of doodads - that's all the little things, from plants and rocks to furniture. Sadly it still doesn't support the new armours and cool character features (demon hunters!) but even so, it kept me up Blendering about 20 hours non-stop. I honestly feel as if it's Christmas.

And seeing as my lightning-fast computer had turned into a creaking cartwagon since I started Blendering, I called the Tzemer over to format it, and format it he did, and boy do I feel old, because I'm still used to formatting C taking four days of agony and reinstalling everything (assuming installing the operating system went well, which it usually didn't) - but it took less than three hours tonight, and even that was because I had to re-sort all my files. Zero agony; Operating system, Warcraft, two wow model viewers, Photoshop, cintiq drivers and Blender (in that order) - all the installations went baby's-behind smooth. This is kind of weird.

And somehow it's six in the morning - I could have sworn it was 2AM half an hour ago - but it's all done and the computer feels nice and clean and fast, and will likely remain so until the next time I install Lord of the Rings Online.

Computer is clean, house is clean, it's weekend and I got to see friends and have a smooth reinstalling. And I have all those delicious Legion models to play with. Yup... certainly jingling bells.


Sunday, 25 September 2016

The best thing ever - Bro and Rache

Bro and I used to be so close; best friends. A weird mix between buddy and parent, he's always been in a category of his own. Someone to rely on and look up to; a person who defined many of my concepts of right and wrong.

I grew up, he did too. He had it tough, I had some toughies of my own. We grew apart and gave up on each other and tried not to and had horrible fights. I think he's unhappy; I told him so three years ago and he disagreed. No facts came to change my mind, though.

The second best thing in my life - the first being husband - was taking coaching from Racheli. She taught me how to not be angry and hurt all the time, and the change is the most significant I've ever gone through. And today, after over 18 months of gentle prodding, a lot of patience so as to not apply pressure and about 3-4 sale speeches, brother finally went to Racheli.

And I hope this will make him happy; because then I might get my brother back, and maybe this time we'll be all patient and kind and caring with each other, and I can keep him forever

Saturday, 10 September 2016

England, 2016

This trip was simply wonderful. After six years of burrowing in thoughts like 'I'm too ashamed of being fat to be seen by my friends', 'hiking is too uncomfortable when you're fat and have a Schprizie' and 'I can't carry that backpack', it all went down the drain in a jolly flush of reality. The plane seat was comfortable; nobody said anything about my size; I walked for seven hours with a racksack and it was okay, if challenging on the feet; in short, I wasn't the cripple I felt like for the past six years. So many yays.

And now that that's out of the system, here's the nicer part: pictures.

The Shard

The Shard in London was built during 2013, and it has 72 floors and extravagance galore. The 31st floor hosts the most elegant, expensive restaurant I've ever been to, complete with French waiters who treat you perfectly nicely (I'm so grateful the fashion of snooty waiters is gone, that was always so awkward). They serve the crunchiest, sweetest peas ever for the meagre price of your kidney, steaks for 65 quid and exotic lavatories in which you can enjoy a booth entirely lined with blue mirrors on the inside (I've never been quite that intimate with my own knees, I swear), or urinals right by the full-wall window so you can do your deed and feel as if the produce is raining on London City. Amazing.
הטיול הזה היה נהדר. אחרי שש שנים של התחפרות בתפיסת "אני שמנה, אני מתביישת שהחברים שלי יראו אותי ככה", "לא נוח לטייל כשאת שמנה", "מה אעשה אם יכאב לי" ו"אני לא יכולה ללכת בקלות", כל זה עף מהחלון בלי ששמתי לב בכלל. המושב במטוס (בטיסת לואו קוסט, אגב) היה נוח; אף אחד לא העיר לי כלום; עשיתי שבע שעות ברגל בלונדון וסחבתי תיק כבד על הגב (לאן נעלם הכאב בחולייה ההיא בצוואר?), ולמרות שכפות הרגליים התלוננו, לא הייתי מוגבלת; לא הייתי הנכה למחצה שחשבתי שאני בשש השנים האחרונות. איזה שחרור.

ועכשיו, אחרי האקספוזיציה המתבקשת, החלק היפה - תמונות.

The Shard

בבניין לונדוני בן 72 קומות שהוקם בשנת 2013, בקומה ה-31, ישנה המסעדה הכי מפונפנת ויקרה שביקרתי בה. לכל המלצרים יש מבטא צרפתי, וכולם שירותיים להפליא ולגמרי בגובה העיניים (ואיזה כיף שהאופנה השתנתה, כי פעם מלצרים נפוחים היו הדבר וזה לא היה נעים בכלל). מגישים שם אפונה ירוקה טעימה ופריכה במחיר צנוע של כליה ממוצעת, סטייקים ב-350 שקל וצלחות עם מנות זעירות ומשביעות המעוטרות בפרחים חיים. בהנחה ששברתם שש תכניות חסכון כדי לאכול כאן, תוכלו ליהנות מנוף לונדון-מלמעלה שרואים רק במשחקי מחשב, ומחוויות כמו תא שירותים שכל קירותיו מראות כחולות (מעולם לא התוודעתי באינטימיות כזו לברכיים שלי), או לעמוד מול משתנה קבועה בקיר זכוכית ולהטיל מימיכם כמו אוליגרך היישר אל לונדון הצופה ממטה. 


The goal of this trip was to meet Jack, who's the kind of online-friend turned best-friend - the kind that always makes me feel silly for not having met; I mean, we spend a million hours spilling our guts to each other for two years, how is it possible we've never seen each other for real? That doesn't work for me. I'm glad I came over, then, as was he - which also serves to fix the lingering trauma of that whole crappy Poland thing, six years ago. Yay.

Jack lives with his family in the ass-end of all ass-ends somewhere in Kent, which is wonderful; A countryside village complete with sheep, fields and a single pub, with the closest town being ten minutes by car. Their house is cozy, pretty, spacious, well kept, tastefully decorated and so harmonious I rather wished I could live in something like it all my life. I still do. It has a garden longer than the way from my home to the grocer's, complete with fairy statues and herbs and trellises and roses, with a tiny foresty path that looks like it should lead to Narnia. When I told Jack I didn't get why he'd spend hours in Lord of the Rings Online when he has that in his back garden he just shrugged. Honestly; even the little bench at the back of the garden seems to manifest everything I ever wanted in a fantasy world:


מטרת הטיול הייתה לפגוש את ג'ק, שהוא חבר טוב מהסוג שפוגשים אונליין, מבלים איתו אינספור שעות במשחקי מחשב ונהיים סופר-קרובים, ואז תוהים איך זה שלא נפגשנו פנים אל פנים בכלל. יש אנשים שזה לא אכפת להם, אבל לי זה לא מסתדר; ואני כל כך שמחה שנפגשנו. זו גם, איך לומר, חוויה מתקנת לכל עניין פולין המזורגג לפני שש שנים. 

ג'ק גר עם המשפחה בחור הכי חורי בקנט, ישוב כפרי מהסוג שיש בו כבשים ושדות ופאב יחיד, והעיר הקרובה גם היא חור, ומתקראת אשפורד. הבית שלהם כפרי, חמוד, מרווח, מטופח, ועם גינה של מאה מטר שנמתחת לתוך מעבר מיוער שנראה כאילו הוא מוביל לנרניה. בשלב הזה גערתי בג'ק שאני לא מבינה למה הוא מבלה שעות בשר הטבעות אונליין כשיש לו את כל זה בחצר האחורית, אבל ג'ק, בריטי שכמותו, משך בכתפיו הצנומות ואמר שזה לא אותו דבר. מבחינתי הספסל בגינה שלו היה כל עולמות הפנטסיה שאי פעם חיפשתי.

This ever-so-soft lighting, the misty gray of England, is so lovely to me. I'm ever tempted to cheat with Photoshop and remove it to get some better contrast and brighter colours, but I feel it would take away the mists-of-Avalon feel of it.

And if anyone forgot whose blog this is and hoped to avoid pornographic flower closeups, they're wrong. The simplest thing - the front window on their house - is such a splash of brilliant colours I honestly think it might have been the prettiest thing I saw on the trip.
התאורה הרכה-רכה הזו, האפרוריות המעורפלת של אנגליה, כל כך יפה בעיני. אני מתפתה לרמות עם פוטושופ ולסלק אותה לטובת חשיפה מיטבית וצבעים רווים, אבל זה גורע כל כך הרבה מתחושת המקום שבחרתי לוותר.

ואם מישהו שכח שזה הבלוג שלי וחשב שיתחמק מתקריבים פורנוגרפיים של פרחים, הוא טעה. הדבר הכי פשוט בעולם - החלון הקדמי בבית - נראה כמו פלא יפהפה בעיני, וגרם לי מאד להתגעגע לאמא, שהייתה אוהבת אותו כל כך. בלי להגזים, בעיני זה אולי הדבר הכי יפה שראיתי בטיול.


Jack is my lucky charm, and as such, having failed to find a hotel, it turned out I could lodge in his family's caravan. Jack's family fits perfectly with the image of their home: friendly, warm, kind, gentle, harmonious - and such is also their caravan, 30 minutes' drive from their place. It was so sweet I referred to it as "A palace in the Shire", and I still stand by it.

It's located in a caravan lot that's right on the cliffs by Falkenstone, where you can see the town on one side, and (perhaps) the blurry, mystic view of the shore of France on the other; suddely I understood every yearning sailor ever, looking at an unattainable shore and needing to go and explore it just for the sake of it. 


אחרי הרבה חיפושי מלון הסתבר שלהורים של ג'ק יש קרוואן שהוא בעצם דירה קטנה, מאובזרת יותר טוב מהבית שלי, מטופחת, מעוצבת, כפרית ומתוקה כל כך שקראתי לה "הארמון בפלך" (פלך, כמו של הוביטים, כן? לא אביזר טוויה). חניון הקרוואנים גם הוא נקי, שקט, מטופח ויפה, ובהפתעה גמורה, הוא חמש דקות מהים - יותר נכון, חמש דקות מהצוקים הפסיכיים שצונחים לתוך הים; מצד אחד נשקפת העיירה פולקסטון, ומהשני, מעבר לצוקים בהירים (שכמה קילומטרים צפונה נהיים הצוקים הלבנים של דובר), אפשר לפזול לעבר הים, מעבר לתעלה, ולראות את החוף המטושטש של צרפת. פתאום הבנתי את הדחף של כל ספני ההיסטוריה להפליג אל חוף מרוחק ובלתי מושג, ולחקור אותו. 

אם מסתכלים ממש טוב, אפשר לראות את תוואי החוף הנגדי

זו מסילת הרכבת מצרפת לאנגליה שם למטה

I've never seen England in the sun, and I've never been able to walk around sleeveless before. Remember I felt like a cripple? Two hours of walking on the cliff's edge, bathing in sun and quiet, green grass and uneven ground, I felt more healthy and lively and not-cripply than I have in years.

Half a mile or so to the north I found a clearing with grass and benches, each with a plaque dedicating it to a loved one. I took photos of them all, but they feel to personal to be posted here; instead, here's some lichen, because that's totally exotic for me. Besides, plant textures and close ups are always a guilty pleasure.
אף פעם לא ראיתי את אנגליה בשמש, ובאף טיול קודם לא יכולתי להתהלך בה בשרוול קצר. זוכרים שהרגשתי נכה? אז אחרי שעתיים של הליכה לאורך שפת הצוק, בשמש נהדרת וכשאני מוקפת בשקט, בירוק ובקרקע בלתי מאוזנת בעליל, היו לי כמה תובנות חדשות בנושא; והרגשתי יותר בריאה וחיונית משהרגשתי שנים.

קצת צפונה, על שפת המצוק, הייתה מדשאה רחבה ובה ששה ספסלים משקיפים לים, כל אחד עם הקדשה לאדם אהוב. הספסל האחרון היה ישן הרבה יותר מהאחרים, וצמחו עליו חזזיות בשפע, מהסוג שאנגלים יקראו לו 'לכלוך' ואני קוראת לו 'דברים מתוך ספרי פנטסיה'. צילמתי גם את ההקדשות, אבל נדמה לי שהן פרטיות ונוגעות ללב מכדי שאדביק אותך כאן.

I'm fairly sure no European nor Brit feels excited by a field with trampled weeds, but for me it's all exotics and I loved every moment. Besides, blue skies! In England! The moment must be documented for posterity.

I found this sign on the way back; it certainly delivers the point.
אני בטוחה שאף אירופאי לא יתרגש משדה בור עם עשבים מעוכים, אבל עבורי זה אקזוטי ומרגש, ונהניתי מאד להתהלך שם. לבד מזאת, שמיים כחולים! באנגליה! חובה לתעד את הרגע.

בדרך חזרה נתקלתי בשלט על ארון חשמל, שלא מותיר מקום לספק.

The caravan lot is very quiet; most of the caravans are empty, but some have people living in them regularly, and one of them (an elderly chap armed with a dog and that charming mix of patronizing friendliness I'm starting to associate with countryside Brits) showed me around a bit. There's garden gnomes and flint gravel, enough flowers to make Ferdinand weep with bliss, and some rosemary and lavender bushes I failed to photograph because they were guarded by very territorial hornets. The compensation, of course, was flower close ups and missing mom ever so much.
החניון שקט מאד; מרבית הקרוונים ריקים, אבל יש כאלה שאנשים מתגוררים בהם דרך קבע, ואחד מהם (קשיש בריטי חמוש בכלבלב ובאותה מזיגה של התנשאות ולבביות הנפוצה אצל אנשי הכפר, מסתבר) הדריך אותי קצת מסביב. יש המון פסלוני פיות וגמדוני גינה, מספיק פרחים צבעוניים כדי לגרום לפרדיננד להתמסטל לשבוע, וכמה ערוגות רוזמרין ולבנדר שלא הצלחתי לצלם כי תמיד חגו סביבן דבּוּרים טריטוריאליים. בחיי שניסיתי, שלושה ימים, אבל במלחמת המבטים בינינו הם נצחו; בתור פיצוי, כמובן, צילמתי פרחים וערגתי אל אמא נוגות.

The latter two made me miss her especially. That soft shade between blue and purple, the dew, the green buds melting into their mature colour - mom would have loved it here so much. For Israeli me, accustomed to sweaty, dusty, yelling-bathed streets, this perfect pastorality is inconceivable.

Then I went spider-hunting. I've this odd love-hate relationship with small spiders (I think it's because I try to prove to myself I'm not scared of them) - and Poland rather cemented that, when the spiders treated me better than the person I came to visit. I couldn't photograph the local spiders as they're too small, but at least there's this proof of their being around:

שני הצילומים האחרונים גרמו לי להתגעגע אליה במיוחד. משהו בצבע הרך הזה, בין סגול לכחול, בעלים הטלולים, בניצנים הירוקים המתגוונים לצבע הבוגר שלהם - אמא הייתה כל כך נהנית להיות כאן. עבורי הישראלית, עם הרחובות המיוזעים והצעקות, הפסטורליה הזו פשוט לא מתקבלת על הדעת.

את סוף ההליכה ביליתי בנסיון למצוא עכבישים. יש לי סיפור אהבה-שנאה עם עכבישים מאז פולין, שם הם היו חברה טובה יותר מהאדם שבאתי לבקר, ומלבד זאת הם היו בדיוק בגודל המושלם - נוח לצילום, אבל לא גדול מספיק כדי להיות מגעיל או מפחיד. האיזור הכפרי של אנגליה לא סיפק לי דוגמנים מהסוג הזה; בקראוון דווקא מצאתי די הרבה, אבל הם היו זעירים מכדי שיצולמו, ואולי מוטב שכך. על כל פנים, לפחות יש הוכחה אחת שהם בסביבה:

And so I spent two days. I hiked alone; I hiked with Jack; I hiked with two tourists from Sweden and with the local and his dog; I encountered rabbits, ponies and even a fox, and I spent a full day in the living room just chatting with Jack as the sky melted from blue to gray to black, because the room was cozy and the friendship even cozier. 
ככה עברו יומיים. טיילתי בסביבה לבד; טיילתי בסביבה עם ג'ק; טיילתי בסביבה עם שתי תיירות משוודיה ועם המקומי עם הכלב; ראיתי ארנבונים, סוסי פוני ואפילו שועל אחד; והעברתי יום שלם בסלון בשיחה עם ג'ק, כשהשמיים מתחלפי מכחול לאפור ולשחור בחוץ, ואנו ספונים בנוחיות החמימה של הקראוון. ארמון בפלך, זוכרים?

On the third day Papa-Jack dropped us in the Chatham Historic Dockyard; Gillinham, being industrial and of mixed architecture, reminded me there's more to England than cosmopolitan London and perfectly picturesque Kent; the dockyard was lovely and I've a million photos of that 19th century ship and the WWII destroyer, but those, just like the Natural History Museum we visited the following day, deserve a post of their own.

And one last photo, the misty cherry on top: just the view from the caravan's door on the last day, which was just as foggy, rainy and chilly as one would expect from a trip in England; and I stood barefoot at the door with a hand reached out into the fine drizzle, with a big happy smile on my face, and it was, like this whole trip, perfect.
ביום השלישי פאפא-ג'ק הקפיץ אותנו למספנה הישנה של ג'ילינגהאם (שהיא בעצמה עיר תעשייתית וכעורה שהזכירה לי שאנגליה פנים רבות לה, יותר מאשר לונדון הקוסמופוליטית ואיזור הכפר הפסטורלי), ובה ראינו ספינה מהמאה ה-19 ומשחתת ממלחמת העולם השניה; וביום הרביעי והאחרון היינו בלונדון במוזיאון הטבע, שהארכיטקטורה שלו אפילו יותר מוצלחת מהמיצגים - אבל לשני אלה מגיעה רשומה משל עצמם, ודומני שהנוכחית כבר עברה את המכסה בכל מקרה.

תמונה אחרונה לקינוח - המראה מדלת הקראוון ביום האחרון, שהיה ערפילי וגשום ולח וכל מה שכולנו מצפים מבריטניה. כי אם לא נירטב וניילל על מזג האוויר, איך נקיים מצוות טיול באנגליה כהלכתו?

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Fat school, lesson #07: Follow your dreams

Fat school is really teaching me tons of very interesting stuff; I'm not sure I'll lose weight from it, but I'm certainly happy to have taken that class. While in the first lesson we focused on the physical (what food makes you addicted and hungry, hormones and such), the rest is very much dealing with the emotional and mental states that keep us fat.

(On a sidenote: since I started, the mysterious abdominal pain who's been screwing up my life since 2011 has dropped by 50%, both in volume and frequency; so weight or not, if you're in chronic pain, ditching sugar and gluten might do you wonders).

All that said - lesson #07, a week ago, was about stopping waiting for life to happen and going and living. I've been cooped up in this house for almost six years, and when prodded about what my dream is (barring 'going outside and not feeling like a pathetic loser') I gave it a good thought and realized it was simple: I want to meet my friends.

Years ago, it would have been Neville and Switz; later it was Caesar, and with all of them, the friendship melted before I got to see them, which is weird, because you spend so many hours a week with a person, it's odd to think you won't ever have met them face to face; it's almost inconceivable, for me.

So that's my dream; not to miss out on the current close friend I have abroad, being Lucky.

So I got plane tickets for tomorrow, and I'm going to England.

I'm scared of being embarrassed on the plane because I'm fat; of seeing husband's family and enduring their mockery because I'm fat; of walking about and chafing, because I'm fat. And being fat is why I didn't go all those years, and fuck it, I'm going now. And I was more scared than excited, but it sort of switched now.

So I'll be back in a week.


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Life without a job is fantastically peaceful for me - a regular day veers between blender, Warcraft and preparing food, while housework sort of happens without me noticing while I move around the house; having to go to class once a week somehow changes that, and alongside homework and a bit of social life, my life suddenly feels hectic. It's 'hectic' in the same way that a singe sheep invasion is on a deserted farm, but for me, with what I'm used to, it's still not half as relaxed.

So there's school and we're learning cool stuff about how our body works with food, and it's a lot of mental training (much moreso than the question what to eat and when); then a friend dropped by the other day and was depressed and said she hadn't tended to her house for a while so we went over there and I got to clean and arrange some - she said at some point, stunned, 'You're enjoying this,' and I beamed; how can I explain that feeling of purification, of healing, of setting-things-right that I get when I take a mess and make it orderly? It feels like fixing the world. It was awesome, no little thanks to the fact I knew this was really make her feel better - but the downside is, of course, that 115 kgs isn't anything a human foot is supposed to bear for six hours, so I ended up limping my way home like a duck and dreaming of when this will no longer be the case. Still, a very satisfying, busy day; and today was school, and tomorrow I get to babysit (!!) Noog's baby, who is less than three months old, and for a couple of hours I'll get a taste of what it is to tend to a baby, which, I admit, terrifies me. Gods above, I hope she doesn't end up crying, because then I'll just panic. I'll probably end up reading Lovecraft to her to put her to sleep or something.

With all that going on, less time for Warcraft or serious Blender or spending time with Lucky or Lotro, (yeah yeah, I know, the pain which is my life) which is weird, but will likely make me appreciate it all the more when I get to it. And school only has four weeks left, and after that I'll get my deserted-farm life back and will be far more relaxed and friendly. Perhaps even enough to offer to watch over the baby again.