St. Alban's Psalter

One of my favorite styles of manuscript…. Anglo Saxon Art

One of my favorite styles of manuscript…. Anglo Saxon Art

The blog A Clerk of Oxford posted today about one of my favorite style of manuscript.  The manuscript is the Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, one of the last surviving Winchester-style manuscripts of 10th-century Anglo-Saxon mastery.  St. Æthelwold ‘s is one of the earliest of this style of manuscript.

St. AEthelwold

Image from the Benediction of St. AEthelwold

The Gospel Book known as MS M.708 held in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York is another such example. The so-called Grimbald Gospel at the British Library has a few good full-page illuminations, too.

Morgan MS M708

Image from Morgan MS M708

One of my favorites is the Arundel Psalter, also at the British Library.  I used this image as the basis for Mistress Hertha of Froggestowe’s peerage scroll, long long ago. More recently, I based the Cross of Calontir scroll for H.L. Johann Steinarrson on this page, as well.

Arundel Psalter

Initial B from the Arundel Psalter

Calon Cross

Cross of Calontir Scroll done for HL Johann Steinarrson by Aidan Cocrinn, OL. Photo (c) Holly Cochran 2017.

Other favorites from the era include the Hunterian Psalter dating to approximately 1170 CE and the St. Alban’s Psalter, from about 1130 CE.



Hunterian Psalter.

Initial B from the Hunterian Psalter. Notice the similarities – and differences to the one previous.

St. Alban's Psalter

St Alban’s Psalter B – again, differences and similarities, but still the same time period. Also, a good view of the style of calligraphy during the time period.

Certainly there are more from this era, mainly fragments and parcels due to their age. However, my SCA persona being 10th – 11th Century Irish, I can’t help but feel a soft spot for these treasures.

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the pretty pictures. I also hope you give the Clerk of Oxford blog a visit.




If you are interested in some awesome books that include more details about illuminated books and manuscripts of this era, here are some suggestions.



Reasons Why I Blog – Guest Post

Reasons Why I Blog

By Sue Gordon aka Mistress Jehanne Bening

Thank you, Holly (Aidan Cocrinn) for asking me to guest post on your relaunched blog. I hope to bring the same quest and curiosity to my post that you have shown on your blog and as a scribe in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

Lilies War

A Gathering at the War of the Lilies. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening. © Sue Gordon

While Holly kindly refers to me here as Sue Gordon, artist and scribe, we know each other by SCA “nicknames.” Mine is Jehanne Bening. And yes, at times, I seem to have a split personality.

I’m excited to have Holly as a scribal blogging cohort. There aren’t that many in the blogosphere. Holly’s focus will broaden the field for interested artists and SCA scribes.



Gouache Paint- Our Medium of Choice Most of the Time. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Gordon. © Sue Gordon

Teaching calligraphy and illumination is a craving I found a year ago because Holly presented a workshop to my local group. The attendance and interest she inspired led to Rolf Hobart and me to hold regular recurring scribal classes. I enjoyed sharing scribal information and blogging is a way to reach out to more people. Somewhere along the way, I focused my blog more on scribal subjects.


Aidan Teaching

Aidan Teaching Intro to Scribe Stuff at the Barony of Lonely Tower. Photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening.© Sue Gordon

I learned by refining my blog.  Blogging is now a passion.

I love blogging. Writing for my blog connects me to you and others.  It helps me learn, improves my scribal and writing skills, and organizes my thoughts. It’s a self-development tool. It also gives me a purpose to fulfill.

Blogging is a way for me to help others. A way for me to give back to the hobby and people I love, especially those in the SCA, a group that has given so much to me.


Beautiful Award Scroll done by Mistress Jehanne. Gouache and ink on Paper.
photo by Mistress Jehanne Bening © Sue Gordon

There are many how-to calligraphy bloggers, but few blogs include illumination or the artist creation process. I hope Holly and I rectify that.

I blog because I have something to share. I’ve been in the SCA since 1991 and learned calligraphy and illumination through it. Being an SCA scribe is unique. It takes a love of learning, research, art history,  and skill development in detailed techniques. I hope to help others with similar passions to be able to grow.


Freelance Writer

Relaunch and What it’s all About

What does it mean to be a Freelancer?

And the relaunch of

Freelancing and the Gig Economy

Today’s gig economy means a lot of people are working piece work – picking up commissions and “gigs” as they can, rather than working traditional full-time jobs. It isn’t easy. There are no company-paid benefits like health insurance and paid time off, no life insurance, and certainly no job security. There are a lot of benefits, though.

You work when you want, and you are free to NOT work when you don’t want to or can’t work due to other commitments. You are also free to turn down jobs that don’t appeal to you. That is, if you can afford to turn down work.

do not want

Speaks for itself

That’s the kicker. As a freelancer, you have to have enough income coming in to be able to turn away work. Not many freelancers have that luxury. Most of us scrabble for every crumb of work, taking on jobs that we would otherwise pass. We live on COBRA or ACA health insurance and pray every day those don’t go away. It makes politics very personal.

Eventually we hope to have our work seen enough so that we can increase our rates, get more offers of jobs and get more money coming in – and thus increase our opportunities for growth. It happens in some cases. In others, we give up and try to find full time work again.

Unfortunately, traditional employers see periods of freelance work essentially as unemployment. While untrue, freelancing is not seen as “real work” in the business community. Through some trial and error, I’ve found that putting “Contract Writer for XYZ Company” on my resume gets a more positive response from traditional employers, rather than the more generic “Freelance Author and Artist.” Employers are more responsive when they have a name attached to the work, even though the list of “Contract writer for ___” includes six or seven companies at the same time.


Textbroker – Each Word Counts

What about Freelance Artist?

As a freelance artist at the same time, this is trickier. I cannot list every person for whom I have done a private commission or an SCA scroll as a customer. For this, I do list myself as “Artist” and describe the work I do.

I create custom artwork for private clients, including researching their requirements, historical basis for the artwork, creating historical pigments if necessary. I also include the fact that I teach methods of creating historically-based artwork to groups at local, regional, national and international workshops.

KWHSS 2017

Aidan (me) teaching at Known World Herald and Scribe Symposium, Knoxville TN 2017.

This is true, after all. I teach within my local Shire, the nearby Barony, throughout the Kingdom, and I recently taught at the Known World Herald and Scribe Symposium. I expect I will again, given the chance.

I’ve been creating pigments

I have also begun creating my own pigments over the last year and a half, starting with the least toxic ones – mostly blues, greens and earth tones such as the ochers. I would like to find ways to make reds, yellows and oranges, but those tend to involve cooking lead. That is inherently dangerous and I am not sure I’m ready for that. Yet. Greens like verdigris are almost TOO easy – dunk some copper wire from the hardware store into some vinegar, add a little salt and wait.


Verdigris still on the copper wire and ground, mixed with gum Arabic in a shell as pigment

I even experimented with period Brasilwood recipes, using Purple heart wood sawdust. The two trees are of the same family, and I happened to have access to the purple heart sawdust. I got some nice reddish-brown pigment out of it, but not a true red. The experiments, based off the recipes in Ceninni, involved lye. Lye is also toxic, but it is a workable toxic, meaning use gloves and common sense.

Purpleheart and Verdigris

Purpleheart pigment and verdigris pigment

I also got a very nice celadon green out of the purple heart when I used a mixture of the lye and some of the used vinegar from the verdigris experiments. After a number of uses, the verdigris vinegar turns blue from the copper dissolving a little in it. I poured some of this over the purple heart sawdust “mash” in addition to the lye. The result was eventually the celadon.

surprise celadon

Surprise! Celadon pigment from purpleheart decantation mix of lye and verdigris used vinegar. No one expected green.


I’ll be publishing some of these pigment experiments here as part of the relaunch of Intellectually Promiscuous, as well as some more “Scroll Stuff,” and the sciency side of scribe stuff. I will also be focusing more on the freelancing aspect of life, whether writing or art.



There will still be the occasional jaunt into other rabbit holes. After all, I’m still “intellectually promiscuous.” Things catch my eye and they are interesting. They will get published – possibly as briefs with links to outside sources. Expect a stronger focus on the art and writing, though.

I have a guest blogger lined up, so look for a post soon from Sue Gordon, fellow artist and scribe!

I hope you enjoy the refocus and relaunch of  Oh, and some new categories, including “Oh Bother, said Pooh as he chambered another round,” where I’ll write about stuff that bothers us. Be sure to send me ideas!


Oh Bother, said Pooh, as he chambered another round.



Re-Launch Coming Soon 3-1-2017

I will be relaunching this blog very soon. Stay tuned for updates. The theme will still contain a lot of different things I find interesting, however there will be a decidedly more political twist. In other words – I will persist and resist.

In the meantime, here is a photo of some goats in trees.


Goats in Trees


So Today Was Weird – But Aren’t They All? Stream of Consciousness

Musings on a day gone strange. Stranger perhaps than usual, or maybe less strange than usual. It is getting hard to tell, as the days gone away from work add up towards running out of protected time and towards “will I lose my job” territory.

I got an email from my manager informing me they are sending – via certified mail – a “planning” Performance Evaluation to me. I need to sign it and send it back ASAP. Note that I have been off work nearly two months now, thanks to meningitis and this damnable back thing.

Image: Aliaksandr Shuliak

At the time of this writing, I will be off till at least 2 November, by which time the Cyborg Laurel back implants should be installed and if the Gods are good the meningitis will have retreated. I have also been on unpaid leave almost all of this time, having used up all the paid leave being sick, in and out of the hospital, with whatever was trying to kill me before the meningitis was diagnosed. Who knows, it may have also been the meningitis.

Mayhap I am tougher than we think, and fought the stuff off for six months before it finally got me in August. Wouldn’t that be just a thing? We may never know, since LMH only did base blood panels, and certainly never a lumbar puncture.

In any case, the days have merged into one bad sleep schedule after another. I go to sleep when I am tired of being awake, and I wake up when my back hurts too bad to stay asleep. This rhythm has nothing to do with that of the normal human cycle. I rarely know what day it really is, unless I look at a calendar in conjunction with an email date or something.

I had a speaking engagement for the SCA this evening, in the southwest part of Kansas City. That required being awake, showered, dressed and “up” – as in semi-perky, enthusiastic and able to speak coherently about a topic that is indeed dear to my heart. However, it also involved 3 hours of driving for about 20 minutes of talking, in front of a roomful of people, most of whom I don’t know or only knew decades ago. I think I succeeded, at least it appeared to be so as people were taking notes and nodding. No one threw rotten vegetables or booed, either. We shall call that a success.

Image: H is for Home

In the meantime, nothing at all has been done towards moving in two days. I completely overdid it prior to that, moving two very full loads alone, and my body has been calling me bad names ever since. As a result, severely enforced total back rest has been the name of the game. I get up, I might remember to eat something, I stretch, I put myself in a back neutral position and I start working on the computer.

I continue to do this until I remember that the new house has a really smart thermostat that doesn’t the house off unless it thinks I am awake. I get up and touch the thermostat so cool air blows around, I might grab something to drink and take some medicine. Return to back-neutral position and computer. Repeat until time to go to bed. I interact with people via the internet.

Image: Annas Hamirzul

I might attend Fighter Practice, or in the case of today, a group meeting to talk about something. I wait for back surgery. I wait to feel better. I wait.  I live in my head, having conversations with people I want to be with but who are not here, and who may not have any interest in being with me. If they do have the interest, they aren’t doing much about it, or they can’t for various reasons.

I try not to dwell on that, because then I go to tears. Depression stalks me even in this new place, because I’m very alone and very in transition from the old place with no good way to get it done. To do it all myself would cause pain that I cannot bear – I’ve tried. Even my level of pain tolerance is insufficient. Doing it piecemeal as I’ve been doing is all I can do.

Dwelling on who is not here, who doesn’t want to be here, who cannot be here even if they did want to be, does me no good. Driving to just hang around someone like a lonely puppy seems useless – after all I should be doing something purposeful, even though I’m not.

I am a ghost, a shadow in people’s lives. This is not the purpose for which I was made and I know that. Dwelling on that, too, causes deep sadness.

Image: Irina Popova

I want more. I want a rock and a safe harbor in another human being, even though I share that person. I don’t expect one person to have all the answers, because I certainly don’t have all the answers for anyone else. Just a safe harbor, someone who will be here when the chips are down. Someone to be with when being with is what is necessary and right. Someone who is willing to hold my hand in public and name me theirs. Someone who will walk the path with me, even when we wander off to have other fun from time to time.

Image: stephen silvestri

I am not ready to be a shadow or a ghost.  The longer I sit alone in a big house, empty of many of the things I meditate on when I lean towards these ruminations, the worse this gets.

The depression closes in like darkness, from the corners and the shadows of this unfamiliar place. I brought some of the things with me, and we cleansed the house, so the darkness is certainly in my own mind and of my own making.

Damn the chemicals in my brain and the injuries caused by lazy people. Damn the flashbacks of hells created by sick people so many years ago and inflicted on the body of a child. Damn the hells created by things happening for no good reason I can fathom other than chance and random events.

These things come with the darkness, and even with every window shade open during the day, the darkness comes. Being a thing of darkness myself, my own cycle slips more towards nocturnal. I set the alarms and sleep past them. Worse, I get up then go back to sleep mid-day, making it impossible to sleep at night. Sleep deprivation worsens the darkness.

My appetite is nearly gone most days, except to snack or graze. Not eating makes the meningitis last longer, as does dehydration. Yet, most days I simply don’t care to eat or drink and have to force myself to it.

I don’t wish to die. I have friends I love dearly, and children I love dearly. My youngest turns 26 tomorrow, or in 9 minutes depending on your counting of these things.  I’m simply fading away, it seems. It is too much work, and I am not a lazy person.

Will it improve once the wires are in my back and the pain retreats? I hope so, although the injury will not be cured. Will it also improve once my brain and nerves are no longer ravaged by this infection? Again, I hope so. They say the cure for that is rest, which is not mine to have being in transition and surgery territory.

Plus, rest is never really mine anyway. Anyone with nightmares, flashbacks and demons that haunt their sleep can tell you that. There is never really rest, only restless exhaustion that leads to unconsciousness for a time.

So this has been weepy, self indulgent tripe. Am I suicidal- no. Am I self-harming–no. Not planning to be, either. Do I very much want a significant other in my life who isn’t ashamed or afraid to claim me such – yes. Do I mind sharing – no, but I want to be the one in front, not the last in line, or the one that has to hide. Do I want this damned pain and sickness to go away-yes. Soon.

Image: Charlene Sequeira

Do I want to be able to lose myself again in art and beauty and music and the things and people I love – hell yes. The sooner the better. Do I still have faith that I will be able to – yes, or I’d be watching the sunset from a certain mountainside, filling up on great wine and more than lethal doses of certain stockpiled medications, waiting for my spirit cat to finish me off, if the hypothermia, narcos and alcohol didn’t do it first.



Musical Tesla Coil

Some stuff is just too cool not to re-blog. This is one of those things.

Musical Tesla Coil

Tiny Musical Tesla Coil

Found originally at Oh Gizmo!

the maker claims the Tiny Musical Tesla Coil can play music via your laptop and a USB cable. At only 6″ tall, the coil plays MIDI tunes direct from your computer by controlling pressure waves generated by 4″ sparks from the coil. Of course, some assembly is required, including basic soldering, hand tools and paint-on or spray-on varnish. The kit contains a single-resonant solid-state SSTC Tesla Coil that is safe and reliable and costs about $229. Pretty freaking awesome, in my opinion.

Product page at Think Geek

The ULTIMATE Tesla Coil Design and Construction Guide


Repost – 40 Quotes That Will Quiet Your Mind – from Marc and Angel Hack Life

Sometimes, you find an article or a post on Facebook or where-ever that you want to save because you need to read and re-read it. This is like that.

Read their entire article here: 40 Quotes That Will Quiet Your Mind .  I’m just going to add the list.


  1. Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.  So pay close attention to the thoughts you choose.  They have a way of becoming real.
  2. There is absolutely nothing about your present circumstances that prevents you from making progress, one step at a time.
  3. Worry, and you get what you worry about.  Work, and you get what you work for.  It’s often just that simple.
  4. You can’t let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones.  Don’t let the silly little dramas of each day get you down.
  5. Happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly OK with ‘what is,’ rather than wishing for and worrying about ‘what is not.’  ‘What is’ is what’s supposed to be, or it would not be.  The rest is just you, arguing with life.
  6. Frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are.  Adjust your attitude today, and the frustration and stress is gone.
  7. Be positive and smile right now, not because everything is good, but because you can see the good side of everything.
  8. Lies only exist if you believe in them.  The truth shall indeed set you free in the end.  Whenever negativity creeps into your mind, ask yourself:  Is it true?  Can I be 100% certain that it’s true?
  9. No book is just one chapter.  No chapter tells the whole story.  No mistake defines who we are.  Keep turning the pages that need to be turned.
  10. Remember, letting go isn’t about having the courage to release the past; it’s about having the wisdom and strength to embrace the present.
  11. The past has absolutely no power over the present moment.
  12. No amount of regret changes the past.  No amount of anxiety changes the future.  But any amount of gratitude changes the present.
  13. Replace the phrase “I have to” with “I get to” whenever you catch yourself starting to complain.  So many activities we complain about are things others wish they had the chance to do.
  14. The more beauty you find in someone else’s journey, the less you’ll want to compare it to your own.
  15. Feeling stuck is a FEELING, not a fact.  So never assume that you’re stuck with the way things are.  Life changes every second, and so can you.
  16. In almost every situation, a little more willingness to acknowledge that there may be something you do not know could change everything.  Go somewhere new, and countless opportunities suddenly appear.  Do something differently, and all sorts of great new possibilities spring up.  Keep your mind quiet and peaceful, by keeping it open.
  17. Be careful about who you give the microphone and stage to in your life.  Don’t just listen to the loudest voice.  Listen to the truest one.
  18. The unhappiest people in this world are the people who care the most about what everyone else thinks.
  19. Saying yes to happiness and peace of mind means learning to say no to the people and things that hurt you.  Be wise enough to ignore the needless negativity around you.
  20. When people undermine your dreams, predict your doom, or criticize you, remember, they’re telling you their story, not yours.
  21. The person you liked, loved or respected in the past, who treated you like dirt again and again, has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you in the present moment, but headaches and heartache.
  22. One of the most freeing things we learn in life is that we don’t have to agree with everyone, everyone doesn’t have to agree with us, and it’s perfectly OK.
  23. Be OK with walking away… Rejection teaches you how to reject what’s not right for you.
  24. You have to accept that some chapters in our lives have to close without closure.  There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.
  25. Everyone you meet can teach you something important.  In fact, the people who are the most difficult to deal with can also be your most valuable teachers.
  26. You have to accept that some chapters in our lives have to close without closure.  There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to fix what’s meant to stay broken.
  27. Without letting go of thinking there’s somewhere better to be, or someone better to be, you’ll never relax with where you are and who you are.
  28. The curious paradox of life is that when you accept yourself just as you are, right where you are, only then can you change and grow.
  29. Take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally.  Listen, and then operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.
  30. Sometimes your mind needs more time to accept what your heart already knows.  Breathe.  Be a witness, not a judge.
  31. Don’t run away from things; run toward them – the best way to move away from something negative is to move toward something positive. 
  32. If you’re being pulled in every direction by forces beyond your control, take time to realign yourself with what you value most in life.  What is important in your life is what you decide is important.  Nothing can overwhelm you unless you let it.
  33. True purpose has no time limit.  True purpose has no deadline.  Don’t worry and stress yourself out.  Just do the one thing you can right now.
  34. Patience is not about waiting; it’s the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.
  35. Remember, “I don’t have time,” is really just another, perhaps politer, or perhaps naive, way of saying, “It’s not that important to me.”
  36. You cannot always wait for the perfect time, because there may be no such thing.  Sometimes you must dare to jump.
  37. Don’t be afraid of your fears.  They’re not here to scare you.  They’re here to let you know that something is worth your while.
  38. Don’t let not knowing how it’ll end keep you from beginning.  Uncertainty chases us out into the open where life’s true magic is waiting.
  39. Look at how far you’ve come.  You have made progress.  And now, imagine how far you can go.
  40. And finally… Stop worrying so much about what’s in it for you every single second.  If you’re making a positive contribution to others, there’s always something in it for you in the long run.

I’m back, life sucks, so I might as well blog

True. Intellectually Promiscuous has been conspicuously absent for the better part of a year. Partially, it’s because things were going well. I had a job I liked, I moved to a town I liked better, and a relationship that was going well. My health was decent and things were going pretty well.

Things started happening right before I moved to Lawrence. I had to put Chani, Dog of the Desert, to her final rest. Devastating doesn’t begin to cover it. That was January 2014. I still tear up talking about it.  During the period after that, my relationship with a dear friend I’ll call Bob (really NOT his real name) started.

Bob and I went to a Superbowl party, we had fun. Afterwards, because he was my ride, he took me home. We came inside for a drink, and all of a sudden he kissed me. Really really kissed me, out of the blue. And I kissed him back. He is married, and has been telling Mrs. Bob for several years that he is NOT monogamous. He has several other girlfriends around the country, and she has found out about at least one of them already. He has not tried to hide this from her, other than to not rub her nose in things. Since I am also non-monogamous, I think I understand the set up, so we begin a lovely 14+ month relationship that is an excellent match physically and emotionally.

fire heart

I also am invited into his home, become friends with Mrs. Bob and their child, and enjoy being a part of a family that is warm and functional for the first time in ever. My mistake, I suppose, was thinking that because Bob had been telling his wife for years that he was not monogamous, and that I was literally fifth of five in terms of concurrent relationships, that this polyamorous situation was accepted in the Bob household. It was never brought up there, never discussed, but near the 14 month mark, Mrs. Bob began making accusations that I was trying to “steal” her husband. I was not and never had been because on the of the starting rules from Bob was “no one gets Bob full time.” This meant that Bob was going to continue to be non-monogamous regardless of who was “alpha female” in Bob’s life. This was fine with me, because I was not actually looking to be alpha.

Then, one day I got an email at work, sent by Mrs. Bob stating only, “you are no longer welcome in my home.” I had no idea what was going on, only that something was very wrong. I had been fighting a back injury most of this time, including getting steroid injections and living with more or less intractable pain. I had been diagnosed with a herniated disc just weeks before this message. In addition, my narrow angle glaucoma had worsened to the point that intervention was required. I had just finished a series of laser treatments, wherein the eye doctor used a laser to drill holes through the irises of my eyes to allow drainage of fluid between my corneas and irises. The holes in each eye healed shut, so the holes had to be redrilled, not normal procedure. My father had slipped on the ice and fractured two vertebrae in his neck, and then my 102 (nearly 103) year old grandmother died. And now, I received this message.

Once Bob was able to tell me what happened, he told me that Mrs. Bob had summoned him to the Union, after keeping him up most of the night and interrogating him about our relationship. At the Union, she bluntly accused him of “having an affair” with me. Exhausted and frustrated, Bob said yes he was and added that he was not going to give me up, and that he was prepared to pack his stuff and move out rather than to change his ways. He told me this, and that he told Mrs. Bob again that he had been telling her for now several years that he is not monogamous and so this should not be a surprise. He told her that she might have refused to accept this part of him, but he refused to live in a way that was not true to himself.

Naturally, every piece of shit in the world hit the fan. There was screaming, crying and great gnashing of teeth, as Mrs. Bob claimed that just because Bob wanted to “fool around” outside the marriage, she had never given permission. She stated that “true poly” according to the books she’d studied about poly, required the consent of both parties, and she had never consented. That made what we’d been doing cheating, an affair, not polyamory. She claimed that I had broken her trust by being involved in this and they went into counseling.

Listen to Your Heart Reminder

As counseling progressed, I wasn’t given much information. Bob would tell me that he was trying to work things out so that everything would be ok for he and I as well as for he and her. Things got more and more stressful. I was banished from the warmth of the family. Mrs. Bob grudgingly allowed Bob to spend Wednesday evenings for 2 hours, Friday lunches and Sunday some time for 4 hours with me. We were not allowed to go to events or do anything else social together. We were not allowed to have other contact – Facebook chat or anything. Everything in the Bob household, as part of their agreements built in therapy, was to be fully out in the open. This was to include who he saw, what he did, what they said, so forth and so on. No deviation from the schedule for visiting was allowed, no spontaneous contact was allowed.

Then, after 4 days of being deathly ill with fever and chills, shaking so hard it was almost a seizure, and a day in hospital fully dehydrated – no urine even with a catheter three times – Bob comes to my house with a quart of chocolate ice cream. This, he says, is to be our goodbye party according to Mrs. Bob. She gave him an ultimatum in therapy. Give me up, no more contact, or lose her, the child, everything. In return, he could also keep the other ladies and have their relationships. Suddenly, he was not ready to pack his bags and leave, but instead he was ready to sacrifice me to keep everything else. I was chosen to bear the blame for all her anger about his behavior. I was the one chosen and singled out by her to bear the label “betrayer” and “liar,” although every other one of the women had also sat in her home as friends and not told her anything.


Ice cream? Like that was somehow appropriate. Plus I was still sick as hell and freshly out of the hospital, still dehydrated and feverish. Somehow, he said, I triggered her ghosts and demons. I threatened her more than the others, and she saw me as the threat to their relationship, whereas she did not see the others in this way. I had to go. And he had to let me go because he had loved her for 20 years, he loved his son, etc. And that was the way it had to be. But, as I heard him say it, he HAD promised me decades. And someday, he said, he would be back. And in the meantime, we would be friends, but we would have to be very quiet for a while, because he would have to work on things with her and she would not tolerate me for a very long time. It was possible, he said, that one day she would forgive and at least allow me to be peripheral to their lives. And possible too that she would eventually kick him to the curb anyway and he would be free regardless. Until then, he said, I needed to be on my own and that was the way it was to be.

Ancient Lovers

My world crashed around me. I was already nearly fully triggered back into my depression and anxiety and PTSD just by being excluded from the process of deciding my own fate. The year and a half of unrelenting pain in my back and the ongoing dosing with corticosteroids had caused enough insult to my brain to retrigger a good portion of the TBI. The eye lasers, twice in each eye, done “for my own good.” The complete exclusion from the decisions about my relationship with the man I had grown to love so deeply. Once again in my life I had no voice, just as I’d had no voice all those years ago when I was molested, used, raped. Some of those incidents were “because I love you,” others were “because I deserved it” or “to teach you a lesson, for your own good.” Later, when I was with the insane first boyfriend, the rapes, beatings and gang rapes were because I was “bad” or a “slut” or just because he found it amusing. Either way, I learned that I had no voice, no say, and didn’t matter in the world. I was powerless to control my fate, and voiceless in the world. This became the primary embodiment of my depression, anxiety and PTSD, although until the past month I would not have described it this way.


I went to therapy off and on for years to deal with the child hood abuse and rape, and then again to deal with the boyfriend rape and abuse. I had done a decent enough job coming to terms with it, compartmentalizing it and integrating it into my personality. It happened, it was fucked up as hell, and the people who did it would never, ever, admit to doing it. They were and are messed up people. I choose to deal with the family members out of a sense of obligation, but I do so at arm’s length. I don’t sleep at their house. I leave when I feel uncomfortable. I still supervise my kids when they are there – and my youngest is 25. I have no contact at all with the crazy ex-boyfriend, and have  filed informational reports with the police every time he tries to make contact. I made a conscious decision to not let the events of the past control my actions and thoughts and emotions today. I put more effort into making that my reality – living well in spite of what occurred, and being matter of fact about what happened – than into feeling emotional about it. I became cold and detached from those events, refusing to live in fear and refusing to let those people and events control me or affect me any more. Mostly, it worked, except sometimes for the startle responses and the chronic problems sleeping.


Now, as my world closed in around me in a bubble of hell – physical, mental and emotional pain beyond telling all at once and all beyond my control – I once again had no voice. The PTSD kicked in hard, I was in full blown panic mode almost all the time, and the depression turned the world into tear streaked black 24/7.  At least I saw it happening, and started trying to find help. I called the employee assistance program through work to find a counselor. In my town, there were six total – 2 child psychologists, 2 addiction counselors, one counselor I had actually worked WITH (can’t use her – boundaries issues), and one guy that I could find nothing about on the internet. Nothing – no graduation date, no specialty information, no photo, nothing to indicate he had any bona fides as a counselor. Nope. The EAP had no other options closer than 30-40 minutes away. I needed help now, but I needed to balance it with the realities of time off work.


Luckily, I was able to find a therapist covered by my insurance, well recommended, and free of boundaries issues or known overly-religious focus here in town. I’ve started seeing her, thank goodness, and just talking to someone, sharing what has happened and getting some validation that although I’m nuts and have diagnoses, I’m not nuts in the crazy sense. I have been retriggered, and I did actually correctly diagnose or have enough insight to see the reason. My voice has been cut off for all the reasons I said. For a PTSD and rape survivor, having no voice may be the worst. All those feelings of powerlessness, rage, helplessness, panic, fear and more come flooding back and you can do nothing about any of it. It is nearly impossible to talk about or even write about. Even to get out of bed and take care of yourself is an uphill battle, because you’re back in the space where you WERE nothing and didn’t matter. Why bother to live when no one cared about you except as a fuck toy or a punching bag? Dying from the inside out is as good a way to go as any.

Dark Rose

After weeks of sharing my misery with my Facebook friends and being generally miserable, not getting any meaningful answers from Bob to try and put some meaning to this mess, and attending therapy every week, it occurred to me that I have a blog. A website. I can journal this mess. I can write about it, collect the articles or sayings or pictures HERE, on  rather than inflict it on people who might still care about me. If people WANT to read about it they can come here. Otherwise, they can be angst-free from me. Call it a public service. I don’t know how well it will monetize, but that is not the purpose of this phase of IIP right now.

So, for today, with eyes still swollen shut from crying , I write this and hope for a change. I’ve sent a final missive to Bob, asking for private conversation – in writing or whatever – to answer those questions and tie up those loose ends. I explained the reasons why I don’t think every word between us needs to be shared with Mrs. Bob in their “new openness” and asked him to help me find the path I need to move on with my life. I pray the goddess lets him answer and even more to be supportive. I pray there are still positive feelings there.

love hurts too much

In the meantime, I’m planning ahead. I’ve booked events ahead – even bought tickets to Toronto for the Scribes Symposium at the end of June. I bought my own pavilion for SCA camping events, although attending such events where I will see him and her terrifies me beyond the meaning of the word terror. I will have to find a way past that sooner or later. I have reached out to people, in spite of fear and grief, and let them know I am hurting and want to visit, to find safe havens. I am trying to focus on projects instead of pain, since it seems at this point it is mostly picking at scabs to keep things raw and bleeding. I am not sure of anything or anyone, least of all myself.

I have to get things out of the shared storage unit Bob and I have – with a bad back. I have a couple of people who will help, thank goodness, but then they will know the situation. I shall have to tell them the situation before hand and beg for discretion as well as their forgiveness for what they might perceive as my severe transgressions. Just going and renting the unit set off a new round of lows this weekend, as I moved things around in there and saw his beautiful artwork.


Right now, as I write this, I feel again like I am out of happily ever afters. I feel forever unlovable and unwantable, although I don’t know if that is true. I feel as though I will be shunned and shamed if I show up anywhere. I feel as though my final missive to Bob will be either ignored, or run through the Mrs. Bob filter and result only in another angry blowback letter from her. Which is what I specifically do not want, and told him I wanted to avoid. I pray he at least respects that one wish, even if he chooses not to answer. Today, I feel broken beyond repair. Even beyond the wabi-sabi concept.

2 May 2015


Turning CO2 Into Building Blocks: Green Technology and Cost-Effective Manufacturing Processes

Researchers from Australia’s University of Newcastle, the Orica chemical company and innovation leaders GreenMag Group – collectively called Mineral Carbonation International – think they have a solution. After six years of researching carbon dioxide capture and storage, the group has discovered how to turn CO2 into solid, permanent rocks. These carbon dioxide “bricks” can be turned into building material for a variety of uses. Carbon dioxide is produced from manufacturers using fossil fuels in their industrial processes.

CO2 Smokestack

A new $9 million manufacturing plant in Newcastle is expected to begin producing the bricks along with other green building products for industry and residential application. According to published accounts, the plant will be situated at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and should be operational by 2017.

This sort of process incentivizes companies to expend money and effort to capture the CO2 in the first place. Manufacturers gain a new base material as well as products they can sell for profit while incidentally trapping carbon emissions permanently. Thankfully, more research is being done to learn how to stop pumping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. The focus is shifting to capture and storage of dangerous chemicals. The question is not whether these practices can mitigate climate change but rather how to make these systems cost-effective.

Solid CO2

Solid CO2

Research leaders Professor Bodgan Dlugogorski and Orica Senior Research Associate Dr Geoff Brent claim the planned pilot plant will allow larger scale testing of the processes. Cost savings and emission reductions compared to other CO2 storage methods will also be gathered.  

Carbon charcoal

Carbon charcoal

“The key difference,” Dlugogorski said, “between geosequestration and ocean storage and our mineral carbonation model is we permanently transform CO2 into a usable product, not simply store it underground”

Coal Mining

Small scale labs have already proven the process. The next stage uses an experimental plant to move the brick process towards mass production. The process seems relatively simple. CO2 is captured by manufacturing plants and then combined with low-grade minerals like calcium silicate or magnesium. The result is inert carbonates, turning the trapped CO2 into a solid. This becomes the basis for new building materials.

It the system works as planned on a large scale every carbon-producing plant such as coal-fired power stations can upgrade to capture and store carbon emissions. Using the carbon in manufacturing reuses the material rather than leaving a storage problem after capture. The ongoing project is managed by Mineral Carbonation International.


University of Newcastle


Electrolux Design Contest

My Dream Bots: Tiny, Flying, House-Cleaning Robots!

The annual Electrolux Design Contest is always full of amazing innovations. This year, the winner features tiny flying robots that clean your house for you. For many of us, that is even better than jet packs and flying cars.

Adrian Perez Zapata, a student at Universidad San Buenaventura Medellín and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Colombia, envisions a set of 908 bots assessing the home and then cleaning what seems dirty. Perez Zapata was inspired by watching bees pollinating a flower in his university gardens.



Swarm of MAB Flying, Cleaning Robots with their Spherical Mother Ship

The concept, called Mab, requires a short initial configuration to work independently. Users can schedule cleanings or request custom cleaning of particular areas in the home. Mab also recommends a weekly cleaning cycle based on the bots’ scan of the environment. The system can connect to home networks including computers and cell phones to report their progress or any problems.

The microbot bugs swarm out of their spherical mother ship, deposit tiny amounts of water and cleaning solution onto dirty surfaces, then suck up the dirty water. The swarm returns to the core and unloads their dirty water before venturing on to the next cleaning project. Solar powered tiny spinning propellers move the robots through the air.


Solar Powered Flying Housecleaning Robots

Images courtesy Electrolux Design Lab