Caine’s Horses

In Memory of Caine (front of card),

Over the holidays I received a very special package from Giliell. It’s one of Caine’s painted horses, in miniature on a background of silver and set in clear resin. It came with a beautiful handmade card reading In Memory of CaineThe note inside was even more beautiful. Giliell has made many resin horses and, together with the card, has sent them out to as many members of our Affinity community as she could gather addresses for.

Giliell’s gift to the Affinity community

The resin pendant is beautiful and Giliell’s artistry is obvious.   The silver shimmers and catches the light and Caine’s horse is spirited and full of running energy The pendant is also meaningful and I cherish it already. I love the thought that these wee horses now reside in places all over the world and that my horse is one link in a chain that stretches far and wide. I love the reminder of Caine’s energy and talent. I love the way such a small work of art makes me feel connected and how it reminds me of my good fortune to be a part of this community.

Resin pendant with one of Caine’s horses, made by Giliell

In memory of Caine (back of card)

I don’t want to catch Giliell unawares, but if you are part of our family and are feeling left out please drop a note to our in-box at

Giliell, I’m a bit verklempt and can’t quite find the right words, but thank you for such a thoughtful and meaningful gift. (I did get a few other goodies from Giliell which I’ll share in another post, but this gift needed a post of its own.)

The Heart of Caine

Yesterday on his blog Stderr, Marcus wrote about the creation of a very special heart in a post titled  Un-Achable, Un-breakable. This is the rest of the story, told by kestrel who used her artistry to create a unique and meaningful braiding for the heart.


Marcus sent me this amazing Damascus steel heart that he had made as a gift for Someone Special, and he asked me to put some leather braiding on it. I was happy to comply and decided a key fob would be good to braid on there. 

©kestrel, all rights reserved

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Landsknecht and Death

I was looking for inspiration for a dagger&sword project for next year, and during my web crawl I found this image. And I was immediately reminded of Caine and the “Dance with Death”series she posted this year. I think she would love it.

I would like to provide you with the translation of the german text, but I cannot read the font no matter what so I cannot even reliably transcribe the original – I understand about a half. On top of it I suspect it is poetry and that gives me trouble even in my native language, let alone in archaic German.

Strauch, Wolfgang: Landsknecht und Tod

Source -click-

Horses For Caine

(Or, When I Think About People. This is what happens.)

This share has been a long time coming, because it felt right to ask Rick’s permission to share – mostly I’m of the opinion that I’m allowed to share my own art, but I wanted to be sure this time. Thank you, Rick.

Back at the end of spring, I was finally ready to make some art for Caine, and I had it all figured out – but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do a companion piece for Rick, because while we, as readers, may not have seen much of him, he was certainly there for Caine and deserves more than general acknowledgement. I had him down as more of an Air person, but I double-checked, and Caine had no doubts – Water it is.

Caine, of course, is Fire.

Yes, the photo is bad quality, but it’s the one photo I took that makes any sense, and… I dunno, it works for me. Most of my art goes out into the wide world and I never see it again. I try to keep track, and maintain an archive, but I’m lazy like that and some of my favourite pieces have no record at all.

Both pieces are about A5 (half a Letter-sized piece of paper, for you NAmerikaners), done in acrylic, and both were inspired by incredible people. I’m glad to know that they arrived in time for Caine to see them.

They’re Rick’s horses as much as they are Caine’s horses.
©rq, all rights reserved.

And no, there will not always be time. But sometimes there will be just enough.

I miss Caine.

It’s Still Beautiful

Remember this?

It is now about four weeks later, and five shades darker:

I’ll take another photo in another couple of weeks, same time, same place.
©rq, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Also I have a small confession to make: since I received my Acceptance Ring from Lofty via Caine, I haven’t removed it for any significant amount of time. Lately, though, it was getting loose on my thumb, to the point where it would slip off (into my purse, a pocket, the floor of the car), but I have always been able to find it again. Soon after taking this photo, however, it slipped from my thumb and fell onto the tracks. I can see it, every time I wait for the train, and I’m trying to get up the guts to retrieve it (believe me, train traffic is not nearly so busy for this to be a truly life-endangering activity) – my thumb feels naked, and I’ve lost a fidget toy.

On the other hand, there’s a strange appeal to knowing the ring is just down there, a little piece of the world of Affinity, a little part of my everyday morning. So I think that, eventually, I will go after it – when the evenings get dark enough for people not to see me rooting around underneath the platform. In the meantime, a small gift from friends has melded with something larger.

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Water is Life

In memory of Caine, who taught me much about the value of our surroundings and the value of water, and to celebrate Indigenous People Day, because Indigenous People all over the world have to fight for their water, against the black snake of oil and fracking, against the industries that use it as a throw away article, against the companies that will take people’s water and then sell it back to them in bottles..

I am very privileged to life in a beautiful place where I can probably say hello to tonight’s drinking water by taking a walk in the morning. This morning I took that walk and took pictures of the water here.

Blue sign water reserve

©Giliell, all rights reserved
The sign telling you that this is a protected water reserve


Water among reeds

Small and sparkling in the sun.
©Giliell, all rights reserved


Slowly meandering between the trees
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Muddy path with water

A footpath with stakes to walk on.
I live in a swamp, that’s why I’m always bogged down.
©Giliell, all rights reserved

Water with reflection of trees

Mirror, mirror…
©Giliell, all rights reserved


Fountain with a dragonfly mosaik

And finally, should the humans get thirsty, there is a wonderful fountain. You cannot see the actual nozzle, because it’s quite deep, but the water is always fresh and delicious. ©Giliell, all rights reserved

C’s Eulogy

From Caine’s husband, Dakotagreasemonkey (Rick):

C’s Wake is Thursday evening, 5 to 7 PM at Stevenson’s Funeral Home in Dickinson, ND. There will be a display of C’s Art, and her music will be playing in the background. Friday morning at 11:00 AM, C will be interred in the Almont, ND Cemetary.

Virginia Alice Rink, Ginger, became my wife on March 11th, 1979. She was a talented artist, very opinionated, and used her art to express her ideas of the beauty of diversity and inclusion. She also used many “Noms de Plume” in her Art career, especially once she started corresponding on various forums and communities on-line. Caine, Chris, “C”, she used most, once she started blogging in earnest. Pen and Ink, watercolors, acrylics, Photography, digital art, embroidery, are just some of her favorite mediums. She lost her battle with cancer on 8/7/2018, and I do miss her terrribly. She has many international on-line friends, who are continuing to keep her blog alive, and below are comments about C from her friends.

  • Life threw much more at Caine than it had any right to, yet she was still and always a passionate and compassionate fighter for what is right, for human dignity and decency. Many here started our time out on Pharyngula by being whacked over the head by Caine, whose zero tolerance for people being assholes made her a fierce commenter. But Caine was so much more than that, she was a wonderful artist, great photographer, a loving partner and a good friend, even though most of us never met her in person. She created this space and this wonderful little community. Dear Rick, we feel your pain and our heartfelt condolences are with you. Dear Caine, you will be missed and remembered. None of us believed in an afterlife, except for the one in the hearts and the memories of the people we touched. Dear Caine, you live on in many hearts and the tears that are cried for you.   Giliell                          
  • This is dreadful, sad news. When I started commenting at Pharyngula, she certainly whacked me, and then so generously and kindly welcomed me. I will miss her proud, brave and fierce voice. Farewell, warrior.   Rob Grigjanis                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  • I feel an emptiness right now, as if my best friend had walked on. Like all of the above, I found Caine an inspiration in my own life and will miss her wit and wisdom. Vale Caine. DavidinOz
  • Si le viol, le poison, le poignard, l’incendie,
    N’ont pas encore brodé de leurs plaisants dessins
    Le canevas banal de nos piteux destins,
    C’est que notre âme, hélas! n’est pas assez hardie.

    Les Fleurs Du Mal, Baudelaire

    Her soul was bold enough, and then some.    Rob Grigjanis

  • I am at best an internet acquaintance, and I’ve been crying off and on all morning. Never let them tell you on-line isn’t real life. I respect Caine as much or more than anyone you care to name. She had a fundamental positive impact on me, both through reading her thoughts and the direct interactions we had. This is not hyperbole. I am a better person for having known her and the world is diminished with her passing.
    For those who knew her best and loved her most: I’m so terribly sorry. I can’t imagine it will help, but I promise to continue to attempt to live up to the example she set of fierce advocacy for a better world and compassion in the face of adversity that beggars the imagination. Fuck cancer, fuck death, fuck this hole that my tears aren’t filling. I’ve been here before and the only cure is doing some good in the world so that’s what I’m going to do.   FossilFishy
  • From PZ’s place:

    Many here started our time out on Pharyngula by being whacked over the head by Caine

    Haha! Caine once whacked me over the head about something stupid I said. I can’t even recall what it was exactly, but I will be grateful for that lesson forever!I rarely comment. I’m not really a part of this community… But I often read the comments. It’s easy to ignore people, but I always made it a point not to take her input for granted…And this really sucks. Caine was always on point. She was vicious. She was kind. She was fucking great.   klatu

  • This blog has lately been the first FTBlog I check out every morning. Let’s see what happens now. I never had serious arguments with Caine, but as a lurker I was impressed and somewhat woken by the seriousness of her viewpoint. She was a voice of the oppressed (both personally and as an ally), of people different from me. She also showed a heartwarming interest in other cultures, notably including mine.   Lumipuna
  • I saw this last night but I couldn’t bring myself to type anything amidst the tears. She was such an inspiration for me in so many ways and I was expecting her to come back, not this. I cherish every interaction we had over the years and I will miss and remember her always.   Nightjar                                                                                                                                               
  • The world has lost a passionate voice for those who survive abuse, for those who defend and support survivors, for me. Caine, you are no longer with us. Your writings, your passion, you words, your art, the impression you have created in this world will live on in our memories. Thank you and goodbye.   Oggie                                                                                              
  • Dear Caine. You helped me so much to complete my treatment. You calmed my fears. Thank goodness you lived on this earth for a time. I am deeply pained that time here has been cut short.   Feministhomemaker                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Rick, I am so sorry to hear this news. Know that we are all grieving right along beside you. Caine is the reason I started commenting at Pharyngula, and I too was a cupcake who learned many things from her. She was fierce in all she did. She was a passionate advocate, a multi-talented artist, and a loving true friend, even though we never met in person. I fondly remember when we all had virtual ratlings, which was a delightful and generous bit of whimsy. Her love for people and the natural world attracted and affected so many, she was the true heart of the horde. She definitely has made the world a better place, and will be sorely missed. Goodbye to our beloved Red Queen.   Tethys                                                               
  • Caine taught me more about caring for people in the short time I knew her than I ever thought a single individual could. I think she made me a better oncologist. I hope she was comfortable when she passed. I know that she was truly and very well loved.   Raucous Indignation                                                                                                                                            
  • So very saddened to read this news. Caine was a truly extraordinary, good person. The world is a lot worse off for not having her in it any more and a lot better off that she has lived and left so many memories and so much work which will go on be remembered and inspiring and helping people. I already miss her blogging and comments. She was hugely and deservedly respected and loved by so many.   StevoR                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
  • A light has gone out, way too soon, but her fierce love can’t be, just can’t be lost. Thank you for everything, Caine, I’ll keep you tightly in my heart.   Kosznai                                              

Thanks everybody for the wonderful comments. Jayne and I are wandering around the house feeling totally lost, the anchor to our lives broke it’s rope. I was a Cupcake plenty of times, and got whacked on the head too many times to count. I was asked by the funeral home to provide a eulogy, I think I’ll just provide this post and comments as her eulogy. It’s the right thing to do, as she was very private here, with just a very few local friends. One of the reasons we chose to live in Almont , ND, is this is a town where the Side Walk (paved road) Ends. It’s taken 4 attempts to read these posts, before I could stop crying to make this one. Thank you every one, for being her friend. Thanks, everybody for the outpouring of Love. It means the world to me. Thanks for being her friend. Caine’s ashes are at funeral home now, and I’ve arranged for them to be interred in a vault in the Almont Cemetery. sometime soon, or not, if someone really wishes to be here for that event. She found this little town at the end of the sidewalk for us to live in, in her fathers native lands, so I feel it is fitting she stay here.


The Teeth of a Lion

The dandelions are still out and about in the lawn, in various guises.


(More here, the second illustration is lovely.)

I know they were some of Caine’s favourites, so of course I stopped to take a few photos (did not see any dandy lions, though – sadly).

Bright yellow and sneaking around in the grass!


Pretending to be a star.

And on the subject of vague nostalgia, here is song I meant to share a while ago, from a new folk/fusion/? group of singers called Tautumeitas (“The Folk Girls”, although the term ‘tautumeitas’ is generally used as a collective term for unmarried women who are not kin). They have a few I will be sharing (love their stuff), I know Caine herself shared one a while ago. This song is called Sadziedāmi, and the chorus, in essence, says: Let us sing together, sisters, while we are still in one place – who knows where each of us shall be other years?


Stages of a Flower

I’ve been thinking a lot about Caine today as I tended to some admin tasks. And then I found this in my inbox. It’s from Nightjar and it’s perfect. Thanks.

I’d like to dedicate this set to the memory of Caine, it was 100% inspired by her and she was in my thoughts as I planned and took each picture. It’s the kind of photography I would probably not even think of doing if I hadn’t met her. And yes, flash at dusk, a technique I picked up from her. I wish she could know how much she’s missed.

These are Helianthus tuberosus flowers from my garden.

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

©Nightjar, all rights reserved

Harakka Island – Chapter 10

It’s our last day with Ice Swimmer’s series Harakka an Island and we’re back to the port preparing to leave. I’ve enjoyed this series immensely. It’s been like an old-fashioned travelogue and the moving perspectives helped bring the island to life. It’s been so nice to see things from more than one vantage point. I’m a bit saddened that we’re leaving already, but isn’t that just the way it is with any trip…too short and over too soon.  Thank you Ice Swimmer.  It’s been a great adventure and now I’ll let  you lead the way home.


Chapter 10 – Departure


1. Crane, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Now we’re back on the pier. The signal for the boat has been raised (not in the picture), but we have some time take a look at the crane. The other end of our boat trip is the white pier behind the crane.


2. Goodbye Harakka, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The boat is almost here, so all we can do is to take a last look, lower the signaling semaphore (again, not in the picture) and get aboard the boat.

This was our tour (mine in person and yours through these photos) of Harakka in July 2018. We saw some things, but there’s more to the island than this, but that is another story of things that have not happened yet. I actually went to Harakka on two different evenings for these pictures, and I haven’t been there since that. Another time of the day or a cloudy day would show the place in a different light.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island: Chapter 9)


Harakka Island – Chapter 9

We’re back to  Arakka an Island and in this chapter Ice Swimmer takes us to see views east. Off we go…


Chapter 9 – Views East


1. Birches and Särkkä, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

From the front yard of Vellamo, we take another look at Särkkä, also seeing a few birches and the tower of the church in Suomenlinna. The church tower has a dual role as a lighthouse.

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Harakka Island – Chapter 8

It’s another chapter of Ice Swimmer’s Harakka an Island.  We’ve climbed down from the top and we’re ready to go. Lead the way Ice Swimmer.


Chapter 8- East Shore to Vellamo


1. A Birch and Särkkä, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

A bit to the south of the crossroads, there’s birch and we can see the island Särkkä in the southeast. Särkkä is next to the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress and the fortfications in Särkkä were built to support the main sea fortress. Nowadays Särkkä is used by a yacht club as a base and there are two restaurants there.


2. Footprints or Whose Island Part 3, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Also on the eastern shore, webbed feet are quite numerous.


3. Strawberries ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Wild strawberry plants were plentiful, but there were very few berries.


4. Stone Ruin and Vellamo Cottage, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

The Vellamo House/Cottage is a nature fairy tale house for kids featuring books and educational play facilities.


5. Entry, Ice Swimmer, ©all rights reserved

This mystery path through the bush starts next to Vellamo.


6. Duckboards or Pitkospuut,  ©all rights reserved

The mystery path features duckboards, in Finnish pitkospuut (free translation: lengthwise planks of wood), to walk on. We don’t (or more like, I didn’t) want to get ticks so, we leave the mystery be a mystery.

Next, we’ll go to the front yard of Vellamo to take a look east.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island: Chapter 7)


Harakka Island – Chapter 7

When we last left Ice Swimmer’s series Harakka an Island we were at the top of the island. Where to next Ice Swimmer?


Chapter 7 – Back from the Top and Downhill



1. View East from the Laboratory Front Yard, ©Ice Swimmer, all rights reserved

Now we’re back from the top of the island, in the front yard of the Artists’ Building, looking east, the pier is behind the red wooden buildings. We’ll go a bit south and go down the hill back towards the crossroads.


2. Down to the Crossroads, ©Ice Swimmer all rights reserved

We’re going down the same road we got up to the Artists’ Building. The history exhibition building is to the left and the pier from which we came is on the other side of the crossroads. We’ll be going to the right from the crossroads, to the south.

(link to previous post, Harakka an Island, Chapter 6)