Keeping current in wellness, in and out of the water

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

Sarah LaVina Sweet, 2nd Great-Grandmother

October 20, 2014 1 Comment

Sarah LaVina Sweet and Daniel R Morse

Sarah LaVina Sweet and Daniel R Morse

My paternal 2nd great-grandmother was born in upstate New York in 1840.  She married Daniel Rowland Morse, also from New York, in Illinois in November, 1858.  She and her parents had moved to Polo, Illinois, which was a stop on the underground railroad.  It seems that Daniel joined them on the journey.  The couple’s first son was born in Illinois.  The young family returned to New York to live from 1860 until 1875. My great grandfather Jason was born during that time.  By 1879 they had moved to Kansas to homestead near the Oklahoma Territory border outside of Coffeyville.  She remained in her home until after her husband died, then she moved next door to her daughter’s home.  She and Daniel are buried in a private cemetery ( her daughter’s family land) near her Kansas home.  I visited the courthouse and read all the probate papers that applied to her estate.  I have some copies of letters and court findings that indicate what many had implied, that my great-grandfather Jason was not very well liked or trusted.  She brought her son down from New York to settle her affairs after she died.  My ancestor was conspicuously absent from the business proceedings of her estate.   It turned out that court judgements against him amounted to more than his share of the inheritance.  Moving to the wild wild west as a teen was perhaps not the best environment for Jason’s upbringing.  My grandfather Ernest ran away from home as a very young man because he and his brother did not like their stepmother or her daughters.  In 1900 Ernest was living on the Cherokee Nation with his new stepmother.   In 1910 Ernest is found living with Sarah and Daniel at their house, working as a farm worker.  Later Ernest became a milkman with a horse drawn delivery cart.  I am sure Sarah had a big part in raising her grandsons.  It was an amazing time in history.  It was not so easy to survive wild west adventures in those days.  I am very lucky that my pioneer ancestors made it.  I did not see the grave when I was in Kansas, but I know where it is for the next visit.  Someone has taken very good care of them.

Sarah LaVina Sweet and Daniel R Morse

Sarah LaVina Sweet and Daniel R Morse

Sarah LaVina Sweet (1840 – 1923)
is my 2nd great grandmother
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Sarah LaVina Sweet
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

Ray Villafane, Pumpkin Professional

October 17, 2014 4 Comments

Professional pumpkin carving has reached a high level of skill and art. I admire food art of all kinds, and am used to seeing intricate melons and fruits carved by Asians into extremely detailed shapes. Now we can boast of our own home grown American food carver who creates extreme masterpiece pumpkin carvings. While others are hoisting and throwing them Ray is turning the autumn symbols into amazing sculptures. Like a sand mandala, a pumpkin sculpture is born to die. The ephemeral nature of the craft makes it all the more special. Ray shares his technique with kids in school in hopes of nurturing the next pumpkin Da Vinci. If you have considered carving a jack o lantern this year, why not attempt a bust of your mail carrier, or of your child’s teacher? Good luck! Happy Halloween, Gentle Readers.

Hedonism Unplugged

October 15, 2014 7 Comments



I am a hedonist. This archetype is a prominent part of my persona. I don’t mind being considered to be a Sybarite.  I think I might inspire some people to experiment with allowing a little bit more pleasure into life when they see it does not seem to do me any harm.  Art, taste, harmony of elements are all of great importance to me.  Often it is much better for me to go to a museum alone because I normally want to stay at least twice as long as most others.  I also adore very long, lingering dining experiences that are memorable because of the good company and good cheer.  My good friend and fellow hedonist Eric Ellenberg and I once went to the restaurant at the top of the World Trade Center for lunch (long before 9-11).  The food and the view were grand.  We stayed for hours and I remember it vividly.  I have always been happy we went because now we could not if we tried.  Most full on pleasurable experiences can’t be repeated.  The synchronicity of the moment and all its glory comprise the ecstasy we feel, but that does not mean we should not plan and create pleasurable times.  Authenticity is the main ingredient of truly memorable fun times.  Holiday excess and obligation often conflict with inner peace and joy.  Here are some ways to be festive without breaking the bank or cramming the schedule full of stressful events:

  • Decide to spend less money and more thought on gifting
  • Decorate meaningfully, perhaps by editing more than adding
  • Use synesthesia for parties, combining sensory elements
  • Create individual festivities for those you want to recognize and honor
  • Stay within a comfortable budget for both calories and money
  • Schedule time to meditate and restore peace and quiet
  • Consolidate “shopping” to save time

This season many Americans go into deeper debt.  From now until next year we will be bombarded with advertising designed to drive the economy.  This year you can avoid buyer’s remorse and debt by lighting your own way through the cold winter’s night.  Be particular instead of excessive.  Use discernment to create gifts and experiences that show how much you appreciate individual taste. I wish all the Gentle Readers good health and financial freedom this winter.  Stay solvent, my friends.  It is much more festive in the long run.

Inventing Retirement, Less is More

October 14, 2014 5 Comments

the long and winding road

the long and winding road

antique alley

antique alley



Many people plan for retirement, but I did not.  I just fell into it without intending to do so.  I spent a lot of time taking care of my parents in their last years which taught me that planning and execution of retirement are two different things entirely.  Saving and structuring investments is one way to plan, but there is another, perhaps more important issue, that retirement brings, which is identity of self.  All of our professional and family lives we identify ourselves with the role we play at work, at home, or in our social groups.  As we grow out of our careers or positions a crisis of knowing one’s self can be the biggest obstacle to happiness.  Investments in markets pay dividends.  Investing our energy into a persona that is a passing phase of our character can block the path to our understanding and fulfillment.  When we are free of the pressure of maintaining the personas, or the facades, that people expect from us we are free to express ourselves artfully and generously.

I recently decided that designing new business cards gave me an opportunity to decide what I want to do next in my life.  I pondered the idea of offering a service to spa owners to help them spy (private espionage) on their own operations.  With so many different establishments calling themselves spas these days it seemed like a good way to start a new idea and make good use of my background.  I took the idea with me on a short trip to consider the ups and downs of the plan.  My weekend trip was busy, so I did not spend much time thinking about my new card or concept.  I enjoyed the freedom of doing just as I pleased for a few days since I left the dog and my partner at home.  On the drive home I listened to the audio book Falling Upward, by Richard Rohr.  There was an obvious synchronicity between the material in the book and my idea to become a professional spa spy which became more clear as I considered what Mr. Rohr was teaching. He discusses the difference between getting old and becoming an elder.  He uses the term elder in the sense of leadership, tribal or otherwise.  An elder is in possession of wisdom which is shared with the tribe.  An old person who has not released his life’s earlier personas and roles does not enter a state of wisdom of peace.  Old people with anger and personal greed issues never pass into the realm of the elder, but remain in the building and striving part of life.   I saw that making an attempt at retuning to spa businesses for any reason was really a trip in a backward direction.  There are many good reasons I no longer work at spas, and it was smart to remember some of them before I decided to return to the same culture with expectations that I could improve the situation with my very important opinions.  I was pulled back from the brink of a big mistake.  There is no need to travel that road again.

I like to have business cards when I want to give people a way to contact me.  I decided to print cards that have none of my former logos, as a way to break free from any past issues that might entangle me.  I am not including my physical address on the new cards because I don’t need the world to know where I live.  I included my twitter handle, @spafloating, my home phone number (my cell number is a secret from everyone), and the address of this blog,  I thought for a while about the title, since I printed a large batch and want it to last for a very long time.  I used simply inventor as my title. The most exciting thing about being an inventor is not the fact that you have invented something.  The coolest thing about being an inventor is that you can do it again if you so desire.  I plan to invent the most artful and soulful retirement a person could ever imagine.  I have been doing it already for years, so now that it is official I should flourish.  What is your retirement plan, Gentle Reader?  Have you thought of your retirement in terms other than financial investments?


October 13, 2014 2 Comments

Pamela Morse:

The vibrant colors of nature captured by Kamal Bennani.

Originally posted on Social Media / SEO / Mobile / Digital Marketing News:

Credit: Kamal Bennani
Parisian ballad

View original

October Rituals

October 12, 2014 1 Comment

October brings ancient celebrations and rituals to life. Samhain, Halloween, Guy Fawkes Day,as well as Divali, fall at the end of October and beginning of November. They have in common ritual use of fire as part of the celebrations. As we enter the darkest part of the year in the northern hemisphere we honor the dead and invite them to partake in their former earthly pleasures. Day of the Dead is only one of the cultural holidays designed around remembering. The season is the right time to let go, to clean, clear, and remember. This is possible without any formal outward practice. You don’t have to dress up or build an altar to honor this change of season.

We all go through dark times in life. Lighting up the sky with fires and fireworks reminds us of energy shared, passed on, and finally no longer needed. You don’t need to be religious to understand the sacred nature of the inheritance of our human life. To be able to walk on the earth is not a small gift. Without the generations that survived before us we would not exist. We may notice a feeling of guidance from the ancestors, or simply a reverence for those who created our existence out of their own. I sometimes feel a deep sense of regret when I consider the lives of my ancestors. Who knows if that comes from me or from them. What can be known is that our connection to our ancestors is permanent. What we can learn from knowing about them and from imagining the way they lived gives us some insight into our own strengths and weaknesses. The ancestors know about those strengths and follies because they had them before we did, under different circumstances. I believe they would like for us to learn from their experiences.

Obizzo Visconti, 22nd Great-grandfather

October 9, 2014 1 Comment

 Visconti Coat of Arms

Visconti Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms of the Visconti of Milan depicting the biscione, a serpent who appears to be swallowing a human.

The effectual founder of the Visconti of Milan, Ottone, wrested control of the city from the rival Della Torre family in 1277.
The family, once risen to power, loved to claim legendary versions about its origins. Fancy genealogies were en vogue at the time, while established facts reflect quite sober and almost humble beginnings in the lesser nobility. The branch of the Visconti family that came to rule Milan was originally entrusted with the lordship of Massino (nowadays Massino Visconti), a hamlet in lovely position over Lago Maggiore, where they were in charge since the twelfth century as archiepiscopal vassals.
It is thought that the Milanese Visconti had their origins in a family of capitanei (cfr. the modern surname Cattaneo) whom archbishop Landulf of Milan (978-998) had granted certain feudal holdings known as caput plebis (at the head, likely in geographical and not hierarchical sense, of the pieve, an ecclesiastical lesser subdivision). A document from the year 1157 says the Visconti were holders of the captaincy of Marliano (today Mariano Comense); late chronicler Galvano Fiamma confirms this version. Decades before that, surely before 1070, they had gained the public office of viscount, to be later inherited down the male line (Biscaro, ASL, “I maggiori dei Visconti di Milano”). Soon the family dispersed into several branches, some of which were entrusted fiefs far off from the Lombard metropolis; the one which gave the Medieval lords of Milan is said to be descended from Umberto (d. in the first half of the 12th century).
The Visconti ruled Milan until the early Renaissance, first as Lords, then, from 1395, with the mighty Gian Galeazzo who almost managed to unify Northern Italy and Tuscany, as Dukes. Visconti rule in Milan ended with the death of Filippo Maria Visconti in 1447. He was succeeded, after a short-lived republic, by his son-in-law Francesco I Sforza, who established the reign of the House of Sforza.

Visconti rulers of Milan
Ottone Visconti, Archbishop of Milan (1277 – 1294)
Matteo I Visconti (1294 – 1302; 1311 – 1322)
Galeazzo I Visconti (1322 – 1327)
Azzone Visconti (1329 – 1339)
Luchino I Visconti (1339 – 1349)
Bernabò Visconti (1349 – 1385)
Galeazzo II Visconti (1349 – 1378)
Matteo II Visconti (1349 – 1355)
Gian Galeazzo Visconti (1378 – 1402) {1st Duke of Milan & nephew of Bernabò Visconti}
Giovanni Maria Visconti (1402 – 1412)
Giacomo Visconti (1412 – 1447)

Obizzo Visconti

Obizzo Visconti

Obizzo Visconti (1198 – 1266)
is my 22nd great grandfather
Theobald Visconti (1220 – 1276)
son of Obizzo Visconti
Matteo I Visconti (1250 – 1322)
son of Theobald Visconti
Stefan Visconti (1289 – 1327)
son of Matteo I Visconti
Bernabo Lord Milan di Visconti (1319 – 1385)
son of Stefan Visconti
Veridis Duchess Austria Visconti (1352 – 1414)
daughter of Bernabo Lord Milan di Visconti
Ernst I “Ironside” Archduke of Austria Habsburg (1377 – 1424)
son of Veridis Duchess Austria Visconti
Katharina Archduchess Austria Von Habsburg (1420 – 1493)
daughter of Ernst I “Ironside” Archduke of Austria Habsburg
Christof I VanBaden (1453 – 1527)
son of Katharina Archduchess Austria Von Habsburg
Beatrix Zahringen (1492 – 1535)
daughter of Christof I VanBaden
Sabine Grafin VonSimmern (1528 – 1578)
daughter of Beatrix Zahringen
Marie L Egmond (1564 – 1584)
daughter of Sabine Grafin VonSimmern
Richard Sears (1590 – 1676)
son of Marie L Egmond
Silas Sears (1638 – 1697)
son of Richard Sears
Silas Sears (1661 – 1732)
son of Silas Sears
Sarah Sears (1697 – 1785)
daughter of Silas Sears
Sarah Hamblin (1721 – 1814)
daughter of Sarah Sears
Mercy Hazen (1747 – 1819)
daughter of Sarah Hamblin
Martha Mead (1784 – 1860)
daughter of Mercy Hazen
Abner Morse (1808 – 1838)
son of Martha Mead
Daniel Rowland Morse (1838 – 1910)
son of Abner Morse
Jason A Morse (1862 – 1932)
son of Daniel Rowland Morse
Ernest Abner Morse (1890 – 1965)
son of Jason A Morse
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Ernest Abner Morse
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

OBIZZO Visconti (-after 1258). m FIORINA Mandelli, daughter of RUFFINO Mandelli & his wife Aldesia Pietrasanta.  Obizzo & his wife had two children:
a) TIBALDO Visconti (-beheaded Gallarate 1276). The Annales Mediolanenses record that “Archiepiscopum Ottonem…Tibaldi nepotis sui” was beheaded “in Galerate” in 1276 . m ANASTASIA Pirovano, niece of Cardinal Uberto Pirovano Archbishop of Milan, daughter of — (-1276, bur [Milan San Eustorgio]). The primary source which confirms her parentage and marriage has not yet been identified. Tibaldo & his wife had [four] children:
i) MATTEO [I] Visconti (Invorio 15 Jul 1250-Crescenzago 28 Jun 1322). Giovanni di Musso´s Chronicon Placentinum records that “Dominus Mafæus Vicecomes nepos Domini Ottonis Vicecomitis Archiepiscopi Mediolani” was installed as “Populi Mediolani Capitaneus” in 1287 and shortly after as “Dominus Generalis civitatis Mediolani” . Lord of Milan.
– see below.
ii) UBERTO Visconti (-22 Apr 1315, bur Milan Dominican Church). The Annales Mediolanenses record the death in 1315 of “Nobilis Miles Ubertus Vicecomes frater magni Matthæi Vicecomitis” and his burial “in conventu Fratrum Prædicatorum”.
iii) [STEFANO Visconti (-1327, bur Milan San Eustorgio). The Annales Mediolanenses record the death in 1327 of “nobilis Miles Stephanus Vicecomes” and his burial “apud Sanctum Eustorgium cum matre sua” . The source does not specify Stefano´s parentage but it is possible that he was another otherwise unrecorded brother of Matteo [I] Visconti Lord of Milan.]
iv) [OTTORINO Visconti ([12/14] Oct 1336, bur Milan San Eustorgio). The Annales Mediolanenses record the death in 1336 of “nobilis Miles Ottorinus Vicecomes” and his burial “in ecclesia Sancti Eustorgii” 15 Oct. His place of burial suggests that Ottorino may have been the brother of Stefano Visconti.]
b) PIETRO Visconti (-after 1301). The Annales Mediolanenses record that “Petrus Vicecomes Dominus Seprii et frater patris Matthæi” rebelled against “Matthæum Vicecomitem Dominum civitatis Mediolani” in 1301 but was captured and held “in castro de Serezano” . m —. The name of Pietro´s wife is not known. Pietro & his wife had one child:
i) daughter . Her parentage and marriage are confirmed by the Annales Mediolanenses which record that “Petrus Vicecomes Dominus Seprii et frater patris Matthæi” incited “Ruscam Dominum civitatis Cumanæ generum suum” to rebel against Matteo [I] Visconti Lord of Milan in 1301, the succeeding passage recording “Conradus Rusca Dominus civitatis Cumanæ” among the rebels . m CORRADO “Rusca” Signore di Cuma, son of — (-after 1301).

Falling Upward by Richard Rohr

October 9, 2014 7 Comments

Clarkdale, AZ

Clarkdale, AZ

I bought the audio book Falling Upward at the suggestion of a fellow student at a conference I attended last June. I encountered the contemplatives for the first time, and had a lot to learn from them. James Finley guided us for a meaningful and educational weekend. I owned an audio book by Dr Finley and Carolyn Myss covering the subject I have already heard at the conference, transcending trauma. This complex idea deserved a review, so on my recent car trip I listed to the trauma book to deepen my understanding. On my trip back home I decided to hear Richard Rohr read his own book, Falling Upward. I started from Clarkdale before dawn and arrived in Tucson about 10 in the morning. Most of the drive was really scenic, but even Phoenix traffic was bearable because I was enjoying the book so thoroughly.  I have one disc still to hear, but I am fully ready to recommend this book to anyone, especially to those over 40.  This is another way to look at retirement planning, from a spiritual perspective.

Falling Upward explains spirituality as it pertains to the two halves of life.  In other words, humans are involved in the giant birth/death/recycle action of the universal field.  There is a time for building up, and a very appropriate time for breaking down. All of nature does this constantly.  Although Mr Rohr is a Franciscan and a Catholic priest, his point of view is not all presented from a theological stance.  He knows history very well and uses his experience in the study of initiation rites of native people around the world to draw large conclusions.  His conviction is that humans are capable of taking a grand excursion of the soul.  He reminds us that all saints and holy figures leave home on a big crazy journey, only to return to home.  The journey represents necessary suffering that teaches the mystery beyond the suffering.  In the second half of life this death of the perceived self, or being in the world but not of it, can lead to enlightenment.  In our culture many of us cling to the structures we built in our youth as if there is nothing greater or beyond our own creative control.  Falling Upward involves letting go to the point that previous reality fades from view as we float to our intended home in eternal bliss.  Sound kooky??? Well, it is.  All the saints and prophets were considered to be out of their minds.  Many were killed.  Before the truth sets you free it generally makes you appear to be crazy.

I like to hear authors read their own books to me.  I feel like it becomes more personal.  This one is very special because I had never heard of Richard Rohr before his fan told me about him last June.  Now I am a huge fan too.  I invite you to listen, gentle reader.  I could make a big difference in the end.

Falling Upward

Falling Upward




Sonora, Bald Eagle of Scottsdale

October 8, 2014 6 Comments

I drove to Clarkdale, AZ  last weekend to ride the Verde Valley Railroad with Sonora the bald eagle. She was brought to wildlife rescue as a very young bird with her wing badly broken. Today she can fly in her enclosure, but her wing never healed well enough for her to return to the wild. I have to say for a captive eagle, this girl gets around and continues to enjoy nature while she rides the train through the canyons. Her enclosure in Scottsdale is at Liberty Wildlife Refuge, at the home of a former vet of the Phoenix zoo, and her two handlers that accompany her on field trips obviously love her dearly. She is a pampered (not that it was her choice) suburban eagle with a soccer mom schedule of school events, train appearances, and other symbolic and educational obligations.    She seems happy, and everyone who gets to see her up close and personal is ecstatic while in her presence.  I was completely out of my mind. She flapped me on the head with her wing while I was standing next to her, which I consider to have been a super magical gift.  She didn’t hurt me at all, but I did get a sense of her power.  I want to say I am her greatest fan, but I suspect we all adore her at the same very high level.  She is just awesome.  If you have a chance to meet Sonora, don’t miss it.  She rides the train once a month for now.  She began her programs on the train in 2010 when she was 3.  Now she is a seasoned model and train enthusiast.  I can’t tell you how fun it is to meet her.


Copper Art Museum in Clarkdale, AZ

October 7, 2014 1 Comment

One highlight of my recent trip to the historic and supposedly spooky Historic 89A from Cottonwood to Jerome was the new museum housed in the old Clarkdale high school. This old building with giant windows lets in an abundance of natural light. This is really the perfect place to display copper. Jerome, the mining town up the hill, is a famous ghost destination and artist colony. There was a very large copper mine that brought wealth to the town. The family that has started the museum owns a copper shop in Jerome. They rent the ground floor of the high school building, and rent the upstairs to residential tenants who serve as security at night. I think it is a great gig to live upstairs because the view, the location, and the fact that the copper art is always downstairs make it uniquely attractive.

The very extensive military and kitchen collections are on permanent loan from private collectors. There is a temporary collection of antique tin cookie forms, mostly Santas, but bunnys and other holiday shapes as well. I learned a lot from the extensive charts and informative posters. The museum covers the history, the myth and meaning, the mining, and the art that resulted. I love the look of copper, but appreciate the other qualities it has, such as antibacterial. Everything is covered well and the staff (owner) checks in frequently to see if the patrons have questions about the exhibits. I saw him take great care and a lot of time when kids were visiting with parents. There is no formal tour, but the space is small and the guest is invited to ask for more guidance. I normally spend an extra long time in museums, and this was no exception. I was fascinated and needed to look at all the detail. I noticed other patrons were also sitting down and spending time looking deeply at the displays. One of my favorite rooms contains spent artillery shells from WWI that were turned into “trench art” by soldiers. I believe anyone would enjoy seeing this museum. It has artistic and historic value displayed in a place that makes it shine. If you are in the Clarkdale area to ride the train, don’t miss this awesome museum just around the corner from the train station.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,950 other followers

%d bloggers like this: