Monday, June 15, 2015


Every day is likely to bring changes, some big, some small. Usually you don't recognize these transitions until afterwards, but sometimes you can discern their presence, and it always easier to detect them occurring to another.

I had the house to myself for a while this weekend, which is unusual. Glory and Audrey attended a feis in Calgary, so they left early-ish Saturday morning, right after waking me up to tell me our vehicles had been rifled through in the garage, again. Did the door fail to close properly on Friday night, or did some skill pry it open with a letter opener? In the end, it is of little consequence; little buggers knicked all my change but left the little spring-loaded widget I keep it in, and that appears to be all that goes missing, so I'm calling it a win.

Prior to this feis, Glory had been down on the whole dancing thing. She lost a lot of practice time with her broken toe and school events, and the competition gets harder and harder as the girls in her age group get more and more dedicated.

Thankfully her teacher Lori is absolutely excellent, and explained to her that she has seen the effort Glory is putting in, but it will take some time to pay off. The girls that dancing came easy to are beginning to drop out, and if Glory perseveres, she will see better results. Her daughter went through the same thing at this age, Lori told her, but stuck it out and sure enough, she started placing better and enjoying herself much more
Glory took it to heart, worked some extra practices this week and came back from Calgary with her first gold medal in months, plus a few silvers to boot. Her placements weren't great across the board, but she can see the improvement. I'm proud of her medals, but even prouder of how she got them: determination. Did I have as much at her age? Not likely!

Fenya, on the other hand, had a formal engagement as grad date to a young man we know from church. She got her nails and hair done, found a cute and affordable dress at H&M, and was beaming when he and his mum (no license for him yet either) picked her up Saturday afternoon. His mum had arranged for her to sleep over if it went late, so when he held open the door for her (good stuff, that), the expectation was I wouldn't see her until church the next morning. I had the house to myself.
That's not a lot of good to me, so I invited Earl over for a burger and game of Legends of the Old West set in Serenity Gulch. Earl was stunned to discover that Fenya was off to a grade 12 grad, and that she would be attending her own next year at this time. "That's impossible," he protested, "I feel like I only just got out of high school a few years back, so how can people I know from that time have children who have nearly graduated? It doesn't make any sense!"

I nodded sympathetically. "Time flies when you're having kids, I guess."

Earl has played a lot of games over the years, but this was his first exposure to a tabletop miniatures campaign. As a sort of hybrid between wargaming and roleplaying, he took to it immediately, naming and equipping his Lawman posse, selecting the most characterful models and imbuing them with significant backstories within minutes of getting them onto his roster, which will come as no surprise to anyone who knows him.
We rolled up the 'Vendetta' scenario, familiar to us from G&G X, with my outlaws, the Carson City Crawdads, holed up in the Emporium Saloon, and his Lawmen coming to chase them out. I left half my gang in the hotel and sent the other half dashing across the street to the hardware store to try to get the drop on Sheriff 'Bulldog' Lightfoot, his deputy Big John, and a rifleman.
Photo credit: Earl J. Woods

In the end, a lucky shot dropped one of his deputies and gave me the advantage in the street fight, and my prizefighter Tyrone took a wounded Bulldog down for the count. Banaczek, one of Earl's posse, got right up to the window of the saloon, but merciless Lafitte let off both barrels from a sawed off shotgun out another window before he could fire, and nearly took out two more of his vigilantes at the same time. (Including Tennessee Tess, who shrugged off so much lead in the game I figure she is either a revenant or a terminator.)
After the game, you roll on some tables to determine the fate of those taken out of action, and the Lawmen were rather the worse for wear with both henchmen succumbing to their wounds. However, all Earl's heroes withstood their injuries, and even ended up tougher for having done so! On my side, the Crawdads lost one of their henchmen, Kansas City, but the surviving heroes got a fair bit of experience and loot out of the deal, so that worked out all right. And most importantly, Earl is enamoured enough with the referee-less campaign system and the intriguing notion of models developing reputations that he seems eager to revisit the Gulch again.

Tonight I finally cleared away the junk between me and the painting table and got back to painting for the first time in a long while. I picked a hired gun, hero and henchman to add to my reserves, and painted the hero figure first because he looked fairly badass and I had a colour scheme in mind.
It was never my intention to make him into the worlds most dangerous looking leprechaun, but that's how he started taking shape, so I went with it, and if one of the lesser heroes (or "kids") in my posse goes down, I know who is coming in from the wings.

But the transition for me is the realization that painting is not nearly as easy for me as it once was. Part of this, I know, is lack of practice, and I hope to get a little more painting done over the summer to clear out some of the backlog of denizens for Serenity Gulch. But I also know a lot of it is in my eyes. My last major painting project, my Valhallan regiment for Warhammer 40,000, was done well before my eyeglass prescription required transitional lenses, or what we would have called bifocals in the old days.

Laying the colours on the coat, finding the trigger guard on his scattergun, even the shading was not too difficult, but the faces I used to take such pride in may be a thing of the past. I had a dickens of a time just getting the ember placed on the cigar in his mouth, and the eyes aren't awful, but a long ways off from what I have painted previously.

Still, life is change: we grow up, we grow older, and then...whatever's next. The weakening of the eyes is just one more side effect of aging, a terminal condition but one with only a single alternative which is even worse. This is small potatoes, so I intend to keep painting, as much as I am able, and if the figures aren't pretty, at least they'll be done. Maybe I will even relent and get one of those magnifying lamps people have suggested to me for a couple of decades now. Regardless, I'll lament not having done more when it was easier!

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