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Sacrifice is presented as desirable in some circles. Women in particular are lead to believe that sacrifice will be rewarded, even when the reward is not in sight. While we can’t go through life without any instances of victimhood, making a habit of it is a very bad idea. Feminism had a lot to do with rejecting victim status, and yet women today are wrapped up in a number of delusional mindsets that rob happiness. Perfection will not be attained for more than a few seconds in any arena, so expectations must be matched to that reality. Striving for more of everything without stopping to enjoy what we have will lead us in a downward cycle. There is no amount of money or status that can change the need to wallow in the role of the victim. Sore winners abound, and wining does not make them happy. Suffering is a matter of perspective and is not absolute.
I have been studying and meditating on Thomas Moore’s new book, A Religion of One’s Own, which I am enjoying. When I heard him talk about the book he said many of his patient’s in his counseling practice were treated too harshly in childhood. Since this heavy discipline was sometimes associated with religion, these adults suffer today from combinations of guilt and inappropriate self punishment. Mixed messages from our youth of spirituality and sacrifice can create havoc in the soul. Take good care of yourself, gentle reader.
The US Constitution is often quoted saying:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
I believe that our short-sighted system that rewards politicians for serving special interests of all kinds is dishonest. Lobbyists and lawyers write the laws that favor their patrons. Our lawmakers just pass them with little revision or thought. This is not what the taxpayers intended when we paid our taxes. I wrote both a senator and a congressman about serious issues in the last year. The senator has not responded at all. The congressman never answered my concern but sent me an e-mail asking me to rate the quality of the help I had received from his office. I replied that there had been none, so it was not applicable. There has still been no response. I give it an F.
Education is the way out of this hole in which we find American democracy. It seems that the people who know who government works are abusing the systems, while the majority are not well served by the results. iCivics is addressing the problem of a large undereducated population that does not participate in elections. In the future we can hope educated people will make the bureaucracy responsive to all citizens. Learning how the government is intended to work is the first step toward making it work.
Americans have started to rebound from the culture of excess. The Tiny House Movement is a valid reaction to the waste and lack of awareness of the past. It is a growing trend with new options sprouting up all the time. There are rolling versions that replace the old trailer model of mobile home. There are plans to build your own as well as contractors who specialize in this kind of construction. The biggest advantage I can see is the tiny amount of time it would require to keep it clean. It would be impossible to leave any clutter I should imagine, since you have to see it constantly if you are not organized. I am so far from being able to contain myself like this. I own a barn and have an entire extra lot in which to garden. I do think it is an admirable goal, so I have started to think about what it would take for me to get tiny. I must start by selling many of my treasures that I no longer treasure. How hard would it be for you to go tiny?
The medicinal use of gin to prevent kidney problems in the tropics was made popular by the British. It was invented in the 17th century by Dutch medical professor Dr Franciscus Sylvius who called it Genever. It was pure alcohol flavored with juniper berries. The medicinal qualities of the berries treated the expatriate Dutch kidney complaints, since juniper is a diuretic. William of Orange made it popular in the UK. For almost the entirety of the eighteenth century half the population of England was guzzling gin. The cheapness and availability made it the curse of lower class London.
Gin and tonic also came about for medicinal treatment, for malaria. Quinine in tonic water was effective in prevention of malaria for the Brits in tropical parts of the Empire. One of the greatest fans of this medicinal drink was a medical doctor himself. Graham Chapman of Monty Python stayed drunk with Keith Moon of the Who for the decade of the 1970′s in an homage to the eighteenth century, I suppose. Dr. Chapman calculated how much gin and tonic would kill a person, and consumed just short of that amount each day. That is a scientific view of self destruction that is unusual. It took a toll. Now for Python lovers there will be a revival called One Down Five to Go in London.
Most luxury goods from ice cream to cars are marketed as being self-indulgent. The idea that we deserve some luxury is a tried and true method used to sell overpriced goods. Obviously luxury has to mean different things to each one of us, and our fortunes limit what we include in our worldly possessions. We do have to choose and over time our choices change. We move into a new phase or environment or hobby and find that what was a big treat in the past is not even interesting now. We may own something we thought we needed and wanted that now we no longer like. This is natural.
I am in favor of self-indulgence if it is done in a true spirit of enhancing the self. Self care and self-awareness are valid and necessary for a healthy balanced personality. To make good long-term investments in self ask yourself:
There may be another element to consider when finding a reward for yourself that will reap future dividends. Would I enjoy this time/money/thing more if I gave it away or shared it with others in some other way? I personally can think of at least a million things I would rather own than the yacht A, and a million people who could make good use of a more reasonable boat. Everything is relative. To each her own. Choose wisely, gentle reader.
I made pottery on the wheel when I was young. Two books were read by almost all the potters I knew in those days, Clay and Glazes for the Potter by Daniel Rhodes, and Centering by MC Richards. The first technical manual often called simply Rhodes gave formulas and facts needed to produce pottery. The centering book was all about zen and becoming one with the clay in the middle of the wheel. I used to think the centering book was too silly, but now I think it is brilliant. I have not thrown pots for at least 30 years, but the practice did make a difference in my philosophy. To center the clay one must be centered. All work is exactly like that. If you are not centered, balanced, able to focus, your clay will be hard to manage. Your vision will not quite be achieved because of distraction. With clay it is possible to endlessly recycle it if it has not been fired. However, if one works for too long on a thrown piece it is very likely to collapse. Brevity and self assurance are the essence of throwing pots.
Centering was taken from an inspirational speech given to fellow craftsmen. Mary Richards was asked to elaborate on that talk in a book. The 25th anniversary edition is out so I have zapped it into my Kindle. In her introduction Ms Richards states, “The imagery of centering is archetypal. To feel the whole in every part.” Chapter one begins, “CENTERING: that act which precedes all others on the potter’s wheel.” This seems obvious, but the metaphors are many. Whatever raw materials we have must be treated as a whole to make the most of them. Many mediums are not as forgiving as clay. Once wood or fabric has been cut it can’t be thrown into a slip barrel and become new. An unfired pot that does not meet standards can begin as a new lump of clay. Sensitivity and refined touch are the main skills needed to center and throw pots. Porcelain has different feel and qualities to stoneware. Each clay body has potential and personality. Each will take glazes differently. The chemical process of fusing glaze to pot happens at high heat and must be cooled slowly to avoid cracking and crazing. There is technical accuracy, just as in distillation. One follows a recipe and keeps a firing log in order to attain exact desired results on a regular basis. There will sometimes be pots that are ruined in the kiln, and this is a fact that must be accepted. Not every pot will survive.
Mary Richards quotes Emerson who said the law is: “Do the thing, and you shall have the power. But they who do not the thing, have not the powers.” When I read this book about centering today I know that being a potter early in my life gave me an appreciation for practice and balanced design in all things. I enjoy making my own clothes, growing my own food, and designing my own life. The concept of centering means connecting from my center to the center of others, touching the core. That is the essence of life. Stay centered, my friend.
Tomorrow, 5 March, 2014, use #VenezuelaMuereTuCallas to share concern for the violence in Venezuela. Brutality has broken out all around the globe lately, and none of it was spontaneous. The seeds of ugly war have been planted long before they bear fruit this bitter and horrid. It is hard to know if violence has been reduced or increased as a result of YouTube, twitter, and all digital formats. What is surely true is that we are exposed to it in direct ways that were not possible in the past. We shall know the truth and the truth will set us free…That is what I learned from reading the University of Texas tower, and I believe it.
The call to action bringing attention to the expanding crisis in this Caribbean nation with petroleum and a history of corruption is close to my heart. I still have friends who live there. With the violence heating up I am concerned for their safety. It is the least I can do to spend some time tomorrow tweeting leaders in Washington. You can use hash tags now on Facebook too, for those of you who don’t tweet. You just type it all as one word #VenezuelaMuereTuCallas. It means Venezuela is dying and you are mute. Please speak up and become informed, gentle readers.
The extraordinary power of the people’s evidence locker, YouTube, is changing the world at a rapid pace. The police in Rialto, CA are using shoulder mounted cameras to improve their service to the community. They also have tools for predictive policing. Since this technology exists and helps reduce waste in the law enforcement budget why are we not outfitting all the cops in the country with these cameras and these crime maps? Criminals today are tech savvy and steal up to and including people’s identities without even physically looking at them. Let us act smarter with our law enforcement resources.
Cyclovia Tucson is looking for a few good volunteers. This twice a year event is held to encourage the use of our public streets for alternative uses. I used to travel to Lugano, Switzerland in the summer to visit the lakeside city. Once a week for an evening the center of town was closed to motor traffic and skates, skateboards, bikes, and other self propelled transportation filled the streets. This was a great opportunity to get out and share the warm nights with locals as they rolled. Now Tucson has joined an American movement to follow a similar plan. Last year I was out of town for Cyclovia, but my friends who attended told me it was excellent. On April 6, 2014 a route that will include downtown will be opened for Cyclovia. Super volunteers can assist during the event and others are invited to participate by rolling through all or part of the route. Entertainment and local color are on display. It will be fun to join the moveable feast. I hope the concept catches on and becomes a more frequent part of our culture in Tucson.
My 28th great-grandfather was a Count of Barcelona who fought the Moors in northern Spain:
Ramon Berenguer I the Old (née in French: Ramond Berenger LeVieux, in Catalan: el Vell) (1023–1076 AD) was Count of Barcelona in 1035–1076. He promulgated the earliest versions of a written code of Catalan law, the Usages of Barcelona.
Born in 1024, he succeeded his father, Berenguer Ramon the Crooked in 1035. It is during his reign that the dominant position of Barcelona among other Catalan counties became evident.
Ramon Berenguer campaigned against the Moors, extending his dominions as far west as Barbastro and imposing heavy tributes (parias) on other Moorish cities. Historians claim that those tributes helped create the first wave of prosperity in Catalan history. During his reign Catalan maritime power started to be felt in Western Mediterranean. Ramon Berenguer the Old was also the first count of Catalonia to acquire lands (counties of Carcassonne and Razés) and influence north of the Pyrenees.
Another major achievement of his was beginning of codification of Catalan law in the written Usatges or Usatici of Barcelona which was to become the first full compilation of feudal law in Western Europe. Legal codification was part of the count’s efforts to forward and somehow control the process of feudalization which started during the reign of his weak father, Berenger Ramon. Another major contributor was the Church acting through the institution of the Peace and Truce of God. This established a general truce among warring factions and lords in a given region for a given time. The earliest extant date for introducing the Truce of God in Western Europe is 1027 in Catalonia, during the reign of Ramon Berenguer the Old.
Ramon Berenguer I together with his third wife Almodis also founded the Romanesque cathedral of Barcelona, to replace the older basilica presumably destroyed by Almanzor. Their velvet and brass bound wooden coffins are still shown in the Gothic cathedral which replaced Ramon Berenguer’s building.
He was succeeded by his twin sons Ramon Berenguer II and Berenguer Ramon II.
Family and issue
First wife, Isabel/Elisabeth of Narbonne or of Béziers
Berenguer (died young)
Arnau (died young)
Pere Ramon (1050-1073?), murdered his father’s wife, Almodis, and was exiled
Second wife, Blanca de Narbonne , daughter of Wolf Ato Zuberoa and Ermengarda of Narbonne.
Third wife, Almodis de La Marche, countess of Limoges
Berenguer Ramon II, Count of Barcelona the Fratricide (1053/54-1097)
Ramon Berenguer II, Count of Barcelona the Towhead (1053/54-1082)
Agnes, married Guigues II of Albon
Sancha, married William Raymond, count of Cerdanya
Charles Julian Bishko (1968–9), “Fernando I and the Origins of the Leonese-Castilian Alliance with Cluny,” Studies in Medieval Spanish Frontier History (Variorum Reprints), 40.
Ramon Berenguer I of Barcelona (1023 – 1076)
is my 28th great grandfather
Ramon Berenguer II Barcelona (1055 – 1082)
son of Ramon Berenguer I of Barcelona
Ramon Berenguer III (“the Great”) Count of Barcelona, Girona and Osana (1080 – 1131)
son of Ramon Berenguer II Barcelona
Berenguela Raimundo De Barcelona (1113 – 1148)
daughter of Ramon Berenguer III (“the Great”) Count of Barcelona, Girona and Osana
Sancha of Castile (1139 – 1177)
daughter of Berenguela Raimundo De Barcelona
Blanche Of Navarre (1180 – 1229)
daughter of Sancha of Castile
Teobaldo I Navarre (1201 – 1253)
son of Blanche Of Navarre
Henry I Enrique I LeGros Navarre (1244 – 1274)
son of Teobaldo I Navarre
Joan I Navarre (1273 – 1305)
daughter of Henry I Enrique I LeGros Navarre
Lady Isabella England D Capet (1292 – 1358)
daughter of Joan I Navarre
Edward Plantagenet (1312 – 1377)
son of Lady Isabella England D Capet
John Gaunt Plantagenet (1340 – 1399)
son of Edward Plantagenet
Elizabeth Plantagenet (1364 – 1425)
daughter of John Gaunt Plantagenet
John Holland (1395 – 1447)
son of Elizabeth Plantagenet
Henry Holland (1430 – 1475)
son of John Holland
Henry Holland (1485 – 1561)
son of Henry Holland
Henry Holland (1527 – 1561)
son of Henry Holland
John Holland (1556 – 1628)
son of Henry Holland
Francis Gabriell Holland (1596 – 1660)
son of John Holland
John Holland (1628 – 1710)
son of Francis Gabriell Holland
Mary Elizabeth Holland (1620 – 1681)
daughter of John Holland
Richard Dearden (1645 – 1747)
son of Mary Elizabeth Holland
George Dearden (1705 – 1749)
son of Richard Dearden
George Darden (1734 – 1807)
son of George Dearden
David Darden (1770 – 1820)
son of George Darden
Minerva Truly Darden (1806 – 1837)
daughter of David Darden
Sarah E Hughes (1829 – 1911)
daughter of Minerva Truly Darden
Lucinda Jane Armer (1847 – 1939)
daughter of Sarah E Hughes
George Harvey Taylor (1884 – 1941)
son of Lucinda Jane Armer
Ruby Lee Taylor (1922 – 2008)
daughter of George Harvey Taylor
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor