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Degory Preist, Thirteenth Great-Grandfather

June 12, 2017 1 Comment

Mayflower Compact

Mayflower Compact

My 13th great-grandfather was a hatter who sailed to America on the Mayflower, but did not survive the first winter.  His wife and children came to Plymouth in 1623 to take over his allotment in the colony.

Degory Priest was one of the Pilgrim passengers on the Mayflower in 1620. His wife, Sarah Allerton, and children Mary and Sarah stayed behind in Holland in Leiden where some of the Pilgrims had moved to escape religious persecution in England. He died during that first desperate winter in Plymouth. His wife and children came to North America on the Anne in 1623. At least one of his grandchildren was an early resident of Nantucket Island. Alternate spellings of his name are “Gregory”, “Degorie”, or “Digorie” Priest. Sarah Allerton’s brother Isaac Allerton and his family were also passengers on the Mayflower.

Degory and Sarah have many notable descendants including Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Maria Mitchell, Pete Seeger, Richard Gere, Dick Van Dyke, and Orson Scott Card.

Degory PRIEST (1579 – 1621)
13th great-grandfather
Mary Priest (1613 – 1689)
daughter of Degory PRIEST
Daniel Pratt (1640 – 1680)
son of Mary Priest
Henry Pratt (1658 – 1745)
son of Daniel Pratt
Esther Pratt (1680 – 1740)
daughter of Henry Pratt
Deborah Baynard (1720 – 1791)
daughter of Esther Pratt
Mary Horney (1741 – 1775)
daughter of Deborah Baynard
Esther Harris (1764 – 1838)
daughter of Mary Horney
John H Wright (1803 – 1850)
son of Esther Harris
Mary Wright (1816 – 1873)
daughter of John H Wright
Emiline P Nicholls (1837 – )
daughter of Mary Wright
Harriet Peterson (1856 – 1933)
daughter of Emiline P Nicholls
Sarah Helena Byrne (1878 – 1962)
daughter of Harriet Peterson
Olga Fern Scott (1897 – 1968)
daughter of Sarah Helena Byrne
Richard Arden Morse (1920 – 2004)
son of Olga Fern Scott
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Richard Arden Morse

Degory Priest deposed that he was 40 years old in a document signed in Leiden in April 1619; this would place his birth at about 1579 in England.  On 4 November 1611, he was married to Sarah (Allerton) Vincent, the widow of John Vincent, and the sister of Mayflower passenger Isaac Allerton; Isaac Allerton was married to his wife Mary Norris on the same date.

It has been suggested that Degory Priest of the Mayflower may have been the Degorius Prust, baptized 11 August 1582 in Hartland, Devon, England, the son of Peter Prust.  However, given that the baptism appears to be about 3 years too late, and the fact that none of the Leiden Separatists are known to have come from Devonshire, I doubt this baptism belongs to the Mayflower passenger.  Degory Priest was one of the earliest to have arrived in Leiden, so it is more reasonable to suspect he is from the Nottinghamshire/Yorkshire region, the Sandwich/Canterbury region, the London/Middlesex region, or the Norfolk region: all of the early Separatists in Leiden appear to have come from one of these centers.

Degory and wife Sarah had two children, Mary and Sarah.  Degory came alone on the Mayflower, planning to bring wife and children later after the colony was better established.  His death the first winter ended those plans.  His wife remarried to Godbert Godbertson in Leiden, and they had a son Samuel together.  Godbert, his wife Sarah, their son Samuel, and his step-children Mary and Sarah Priest all came on the ship Anne to Plymouth in 1623.

Mayflower Compact

Mayflower Compact

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#SelfCareSunday Solstice Synesthesia

June 11, 2017 3 Comments

Solstice

Solstice

Solstice

Solstice

In ancient times the calendar and the clock were primary ways to communicate to the population. Holidays, and the Sabbath every week, were commemorated and acknowledged. Today we have less formally structured time, and many of us work on weekends. Sunday was dedicated to the sun once upon a time, and the solstice twice a year was viewed as significant.  The marking of midsummer in agricultural societies was a celebration of  bounty and fertility.  Working the land in harmony with the stars and planets was a tradition that included observance of the astronomical events in the heavens.  After the solstice the sun begins the journey back to the other hemisphere.  The days will become shorter, just as now they are increasing.

Solstice will occur on a Wednesday in 2017, so I am making a few preparations to be ready in my heart and in my home for a new season.  My celebration will involve synesthesia of colors, sounds, and flavors of this season.  I am creating  special menus for the week that feature the foods and drinks that spotlight summer.  Grilled veggies and picnic style presentation remind me of my childhood.  Seasonal cocktails make the adult party complete.  I will be working up this party theme for the next 10 days, so I have time to find the best seasonal fruits on the market.  The full strawberry moon has just passed, but the strawberries are in full swing.  Berries and stone fruits like peaches, apricots and nectarines are both visual beauties and very tasty additions to any summer table.  I like to eat berries straight up, but will probably make a shortcake to elevate the dessert factor.

I have been switching out my wardrobe and bed linens for the season, choosing lighter, brighter colors.  It feels good to me to put all my winter clothing away to make space for what works now. I hope to complete this chore today, which will make me feel accomplished.  I will reward myself with a long lavender scented epsom salts bath when those sweaters and jackets are all packed and stored until I need them next fall. I am listening to new music, trying new sounds as background.  I think Baroque music just sounds like this time of year….it is zippy, light, bright, and happy.  I have been listening and dancing around my house in anticipation of a harvest of happy times in 2017.

Synesthesia is the fusion of the senses.  Sight, sound, taste, feel, and scent are purposely brought together to create a strong sensory impression. How will you prepare for your own midsummer’s night? I invite you to join me in a sensuous and pleasurable gratitude party.

 

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#WeekendCoffeeShare Iced Tea Day

June 10, 2017 3 Comments

If we were having coffee today I would urge you to celebrate National Iced Tea Day with me. I know the national days can really be a bit much, but this one is a winner. I have so many iced teas from which you can choose. I personally am very hung up on White Strawberry alternating that with Peppermint Butler iced tea. I love the refreshing zip of each of these. The white strawberry has a fruity and light taste that is good to guzzle on hot days like this. The Peppermint Butler has real candy canes in the mix, so it delivers a wonderful minty punch that feels like a cool (brief) breeze. Please have a seat while I prepare a couple of unbreakable pitchers of iced tea to take with us to the pool.

black passionfruit sun tea

black passionfruit sun tea

We are meeting again this week in the pool at my condo village.  The sun is scorching and the pavement will burn your feet, so take a dip to chill yourself before we drink tea and exchange stories.  I want to hear about your writing projects and your life.  I hope both are going well.  I know some of you are working on novels and longer works of fiction.  I also tip my hat to those of you who write micro fiction, which is mighty hard to do well.  I try it a bit in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt.  This week I wrote a poetic verse that did not rhyme, but once again touched on dystopia and doom.  There is a pattern, and it has nothing to do with Sue’s pictures.  I do notice some others with depressing responses, so maybe it is a way to deal with our world politics.  On a lighter note, I am having a good time writing weekly tea reviews, which are completely apolitical. In fact, I think tea and coffee parties are a wonderful way to take a break from the current situation while just savoring the moment.  My Tuesdays are dedicated to tea and all the wonders and benefits of drinking it, until further notice.  I include the offer from Adagio above in case you want to chill your belly and chill your emotions at the same time.  Camomile is a sedative and calming tea, being offered free with any purchase made today.

I will skip world politics, since it is being covered everywhere.  I just want to say the Mike Bloomberg has proven to be my hero, which I would not have suspected.  His personal financial support for the Paris Accord makes a fabulous point….We CAN do it.  I think people will step up all over the world in response to repression of science, so maybe it is not the worst thing to have these obstructionist crazies on board.  They expose the terrible status quo. I remain optimistic.

Here in Tucson I am making salsa today with the fresh produce haul I procured this morning. I am roasting tomatoes and Poblano chiles for use all week.  The house and the back yard smell like chiles, which does stimulate my appetite.  When we return from the pool let me make you a couple of tacos with this smoky goodness.  I like to roast the veggies and use them in many ways later in the week. I have been on a vichyssoise kick, and have found all kinds of cold creamy potato soups.  So far I have done  them with asparagus, and with corn, and a classic potato slightly flavored with one jalapeño.  The variations are endless, so I am experimenting with all kinds. I think the Poblano will be a great addition. All of them are broth, potatoes, leeks, heavy cream, and something.  It is hard to ruin, and easy to serve.  I took corn vichyssoise soup shots to my colleagues at work this week. It was very popular. I will tell you more about my new job next week, since I have been rattling on for a while here.

Weekend-Coffee-Share-Pic

Weekend-Coffee-Share-Pic

Thanks for stopping for some iced tea and sympathy this weekend.  I appreciate Emily for hosting this movable feast each weekend at her blog, Nerd in the Brain. Please join us for digital beverages and a chat.  

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#WritePhoto Birds Of A Feather

June 8, 2017 10 Comments

The Flock

The Flock

We sat on the hill above the flooded river
Watching as towns and farms washed away
Floating downstream on the big cresting waves
Water overflowed the banks and destroyed trees
That had stood on the shore for centuries
Their roots were severed by the current rushing
Swelling, moving the earth beneath their giant limbs
That crashed into the water with furious destructive
Sounds of nature taking her revenge on civilization
The only hopeful sign we could see from our perch
Was the flock of birds flying over their former homes
Taking to the sky to look for a new place to build nests
We envy them their ability to keep the flock together
They fly in tight formation, in search of fairer weather

#writephoto

#writephoto

This poem was written in response to this weeks photo prompt by Sue Vincent on her blog , The Echo.  Join bloggers from around the globe for more stories about this photo and last week’s.

#TeaTuesday Peppermint Butler

June 6, 2017 2 Comments

I have rediscovered Peppermint Butler tea this summer. I ordered it in the winter, enjoying it immensely as a cup of hot tea. It is mildly caffeinated, so I sometimes drank it instead of morning coffee for a change.  It contains vanilla flavored Ceylon tea, vanilla flavored oolong tea , peppermint, and candy canes.  Even though it has been in the tin for a long time, the mint flavor is still strong, probably because of the candy canes crushed in the mix.  It is not overly sweet or too minty, but has a unique taste.  It is my current favorite iced tea.  Summer is intense in Arizona, so we need cool and refreshing beverages. This tea lifts my spirits as well as my taste buds.

I had no idea this tea had been named for a cartoon character until I started to write this review.  This is one of Adagio’s signature blends, which I like to sample from time to time.  They are more complex and exotic combinations, more expensive ingredients, with a slightly higher price point.  I have never been disappointed with the quality of the signature blends.  They pack a punch that makes them worth a few extra cents per cup.  Peppermint Butler is an excellent example of that value for dollar.  The 5 oz tin, which I purchased, is priced at about 38 cents a cup, very reasonable, especially in comparison to tea you purchase in a bottle, already brewed and shipped across the country. Adagio lets customers create their own custom signature blends.  This lets you become a tea blend expert with the highest quality ingredients.

If you are looking for some new iced tea excitement this summer I highly recommend this blend. The creamy minty taste goes down well all day long.  It compliments salad, chilled soup, and sandwiches very well.  Today I will pair it will chilled corn vichyssoise for lunch.  The crisp tea will be a nice contrast to the rich cool soup.  Both have a richness that make them a good couple on a hot day.

Peppermint Butler Tea

Peppermint Butler Tea

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Alexios I Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Comnenus

June 5, 2017 1 Comment

Alexios I

Alexios I

Alexios I Komnenos, or Comnenus (Greek: Αλέξιος Α’ Κομνηνός) (1048 – August 15, 1118), Byzantine emperor (1081–1118), was the son of John Comnenus and Anna Dalassena and the nephew of Isaac I Comnenus (emperor 1057–1059). The military, financial and territorial recovery of the Byzantine Empire began in his reign.
Life
Alexius’ father declined the throne on the abdication of Isaac, who was accordingly succeeded by four emperors of other families between 1059 and 1081. Under one of these emperors, Romanus IV Diogenes (1067–1071), he served with distinction against the Seljuk Turks. Under Michael VII Ducas Parapinaces (1071–1078) and Nicephorus III Botaneiates (1078–1081), he was also employed, along with his elder brother Isaac, against rebels in Asia Minor, Thrace and in Epirus.
Alexius’ mother wielded great influence during his reign, and he is described by his daughter, the historian Anna Comnena, as running next to the imperial chariot that she drove. In 1074, the rebel mercenaries in Asia Minor were successfully subdued, and, in 1078, he was appointed commander of the field army in the West by Nicephorus III. In this capacity, Alexius defeated the rebellions of two successive governors of Dyrrhachium, Nicephorus Bryennius (whose son or grandson later married Alexius’ daughter Anna) and Nicephorus Basilakes. Alexius was ordered to march against his brother-in-law Nicephorus Melissenus in Asia Minor but refused to fight his kinsman. This did not, however, lead to a demotion, as Alexius was needed to counter the expected Norman invasion led by Robert Guiscard near Dyrrhachium.
While the Byzantine troops were assembling for the expedition, Alexius was approached by the Ducas faction at court, who convinced him to join a conspiracy against Nicephorus III. Alexius was duly proclaimed emperor by his troops and marched on Constantinople. Bribing the western mercenaries guarding the city, the rebels entered Constantinople in triumph, meeting little resistance on April 1, 1081. Nicephorus III was forced to abdicate and retire to a monastery, and Patriarch Cosmas I crowned Alexius I emperor on April 4.
During this time, Alexius was rumored to be the lover of Empress Maria of Alania, the daughter of King Bagrat IV of Georgia, who had been successively married to Michael VII Ducas and his successor Nicephorus III Botaneiates, and was renowned for her beauty. Alexius arranged for Maria to stay on the palace grounds. It was also thought that Alexius may have been considering marrying the erstwhile empress. However, his mother consolidated the Ducas family connection by arranging the Emperor’s marriage to Irene Ducaena, granddaughter of the Caesar John Ducas, the uncle of Michael VII, who would not have supported Alexius otherwise. As a measure intended to keep the support of the Ducae, Alexius restored Constantine Ducas, the young son of Michael VII and Maria, as co-emperor and a little later betrothed him to his own first-born daughter Anna, who moved into the Mangana Palace with her fiancé and his mother.
However, this situation changed drastically when Alexius’ first son John II Comnenus was born in 1087: Anna’s engagement to Constantine was dissolved, and she was moved to the main Palace to live with her mother and grandmother. Alexius became estranged from Maria, who was stripped of her imperial title and retired to a monastery, and Constantine Ducas was deprived of his status as co-emperor. Nevertheless, he remained in good relations with the imperial family and succumbed to his weak constitution soon afterwards.
This coin was struck by Alexius during his war against Robert Guiscard.
Byzantine-Norman Wars
Alexius’ long reign of nearly thirty-seven years was full of struggle. At the very outset, he had to meet the formidable attack of the Normans (led by Robert Guiscard and his son Bohemund), who took Dyrrhachium and Corfu, and laid siege to Larissa in Thessaly (see Battle of Dyrrhachium). Alexius suffered several defeats before being able to strike back with success. He enhanced this by bribing the German king Henry IV with 360,000 gold pieces to attack the Normans in Italy, which forced the Normans to concentrate on their defenses at home in 1083–1084. He also secured the alliance of Henry, Count of Monte Sant’Angelo, who controlled the Gargano Peninsula and dated his charters by Alexius’ reign. Henry’s allegiance was to be the last example of Byzantine political control on peninsular Italy. The Norman danger ended for the time being with Robert Guiscard’s death in 1085, and the Byzantines recovered most of their losses.
Alexius had next to deal with disturbances in Thrace, where the heretical sects of the Bogomils and the Paulicians revolted and made common cause with the Pechenegs from beyond the Danube. Paulician soldiers in imperial service likewise deserted during Alexius’ battles with the Normans. As soon as the Norman threat had passed, Alexius set out to punish the rebels and deserters, confiscating their lands. This led to a further revolt near Philippopolis, and the commander of the field army in the west, Gregory Pakourianos, was defeated and killed in the ensuing battle. In 1087 the Pechenegs raided into Thrace and Alexius crossed into Moesia to retaliate but failed to take Dorostolon (Silistra). During his retreat, the emperor was surrounded and worn down by the Pechenegs, who forced him to sign a truce and pay protection money. In 1090 the Pechenegs invaded Thrace again, while the brother-in-law of the Sultan of Rum launched a fleet and attempted to arrange a joing siege of Constantinople with the Pechenegs. Alexius overcame this crisis by entering into an alliance with a horde of 40,000 Cumans, with whose help he crushed the Pechenegs at Levounion in Thrace on April 29, 1091.
The Byzantine Empire at the accession of Alexius I Comnenus, c. 1081
This put an end to the Pecheneg threat, but in 1094 the Cumans began to raid the imperial territories in the Balkans. Led by a pretender claiming to be Constantine Diogenes, a long-dead son of the Emperor Romanos IV, the Cumans crossed the mountains and raided into eastern Thrace until their leader was eliminated at Adrianople. With the Balkans more or less pacified, Alexius could now turn his attention to Asia Minor, which had been almost completely overrun by the Seljuk Turks.
Byzantine-Seljuk Wars
As early as 1090, Alexius had taken reconciliatory measures towards the Papacy, with the intention of seeking western support against the Seljuks. In 1095 his ambassadors appeared before Pope Urban II at the Council of Piacenza. The help which he wanted from the West was simply mercenary forces and not the immense hosts which arrived, to his consternation and embarrassment, after the pope preached the First Crusade at the Council of Clermont later that same year. Not quite ready to supply this number of people as they traversed his territories, the emperor saw his Balkan possessions subjected to further pillage at the hands of his own allies. Alexius dealt with the first disorganized group of crusaders, led by the preacher Peter the Hermit, by sending them on to Asia Minor, where they were massacred by the Turks in 1096.
The second and much more formidable host of crusaders gradually made its way to Constantinople, led in sections by Godfrey of Bouillon, Bohemund of Taranto, Raymond IV of Toulouse and other important members of the western nobility. Alexius used the opportunity of meeting the crusader leaders separately as they arrived and extracting from them oaths of homage and the promise to turn over conquered lands to the Byzantine Empire. Transferring each contingent into Asia, Alexius promised to supply them with provisions in return for their oaths of homage. The crusade was a notable success for Byzantium, as Alexius now recovered for the Byzantine Empire a number of important cities and islands. The crusader siege of Nicaea forced the city to surrender to the emperor in 1097, and the subsequent crusader victory at Dorylaion allowed the Byzantine forces to recover much of western Asia Minor. Here Byzantine rule was reestablished in Chios, Rhodes, Smyrna, Ephesus, Sardis, and Philadelphia in 1097–1099. This success is ascribed by his daughter Anna to his policy and diplomacy, but by the Latin historians of the crusade to his treachery and falseness. In 1099, a Byzantine fleet of 10 ships were sent to assist the Crusaders in capturing Laodicea and other coastal towns as far as Tripoli. The crusaders believed their oaths were made invalid when the Byzantine contingent under Tatikios failed to help them during the siege of Antioch; Bohemund, who had set himself up as Prince of Antioch, briefly went to war with Alexius in the Balkans, but was blockaded by the Byzantine forces and agreed to become Alexius’ vassal by the Treaty of Devol in 1108.
Personal life
During the last twenty years of his life Alexius lost much of his popularity. The years were marked by persecution of the followers of the Paulician and Bogomil heresies—one of his last acts was to publicly burn on the stake Basil, a Bogomil leader, with whom he had engaged in a theological dispute. In spite of the success of the crusade, Alexius also had to repel numerous attempts on his territory by the Seljuks in 1110–1117.
Alexius was for many years under the strong influence of an eminence grise, his mother Anna Dalassena, a wise and immensely able politician whom, in a uniquely irregular fashion, he had crowned as Augusta instead of the rightful claimant to the title, his wife Irene Ducaena. Dalassena was the effective administrator of the Empire during Alexius’ long absences in military campaigns: she was constantly at odds with her daughter-in-law and had assumed total responsibility for the upbringing and education of her granddaughter Anna Comnena.
Succession
Alexius’ last years were also troubled by anxieties over the succession. Although he had crowned his son John II Comnenus co-emperor at the age of five in 1092, John’s mother Irene Doukaina wished to alter the succession in favor of her daughter Anna and Anna’s husband, Nicephorus Bryennius. Bryennios had been made kaisar (Caesar) and received the newly-created title of panhypersebastos (“honoured above all”), and remained loyal to both Alexius and John. Nevertheless, the intrigues of Irene and Anna disturbed even Alexius’ dying hours.
Legacy
Alexius I had stabilized the Byzantine Empire and overcome a dangerous crisis, inaugurating a century of imperial prosperity and success. He had also profoundly altered the nature of the Byzantine government. By seeking close alliances with powerful noble families, Alexius put an end to the tradition of imperial exclusivity and coopted most of the nobility into his extended family and, through it, his government. This measure, which was intended to diminish opposition, was paralleled by the introduction of new courtly dignities, like that of panhypersebastos given to Nicephorus Bryennius, or that of sebastokrator given to the emperor’s brother Isaac Comnenus. Although this policy met with initial success, it gradually undermined the relative effectiveness of imperial bureaucracy by placing family connections over merit. Alexius’ policy of integration of the nobility bore the fruit of continuity: every Byzantine emperor who reigned after Alexius I Comnenus was related to him by either descent or marriage.
Family
By his marriage with Irene Ducaena, Alexius I had the following children:
Anna Komnene, who married the Caesar Nicephorus Bryennius.
Maria Komnene, who married (1) Gregory Gabras and (2) Nicephorus Euphorbenos Katakalon.
John II Komnenos, who succeeded as emperor.
Andronikos Comnenus, sebastokratōr.
Isaac Comnenus, sebastokratōr.
Eudocia Komnene, who married Michael Iasites.
Theodora Komnene, who married (1) Constantine Kourtikes and (2) Constantine Angelos. By him she was the grandmother of Emperors Isaac II Angelos and Alexios III Angelos.
Manuel Komnenos.
Zoe Komnene.

Alexios I Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Comnenus(1048 – 1118)
28th great-grandfather
Theodora Comnena (1096 – 1139)
daughter of Alexios I Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Comnenus
Andronikos Dukas Angelos (1122 – 1185)
son of Theodora Comnena
Alexios Emperor Byzantine Empire (1153 – 1204)
son of Andronikos Dukas Angelos
Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea (1176 – 1212)
daughter of Alexios Emperor Byzantine Empire
MARIA Laskarina (1206 – 1270)
daughter of Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea
King of Hungary Stephen V (1240 – 1277)
son of MARIA Laskarina
Marie DeHungary (1257 – 1323)
daughter of King of Hungary Stephen V
Marguerite Sicily Naples (1273 – 1299)
daughter of Marie DeHungary
Jeanne DeVALOIS (1294 – 1342)
daughter of Marguerite Sicily Naples
Philippa deHainault (1311 – 1369)
daughter of Jeanne DeVALOIS
John of Gaunt – Duke of Lancaster – Plantagenet (1340 – 1399)
son of Philippa deHainault
Elizabeth Plantagenet (1363 – 1425)
daughter of John of Gaunt – Duke of Lancaster – 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
Gabriell Francis Holland (1596 – 1660)
son of John Holland
John Holland (1628 – 1710)
son of Gabriell Francis 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
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor
Council of the Crusaders

Council of the Crusaders

#SelfCareSunday Define Indulgence

June 4, 2017 1 Comment

pool with rainbow

pool with rainbow

This Sunday I did some work very early in the day to free myself for the rest of the day, and into tomorrow. I have my big indulgence of the month scheduled for tomorrow morning, my facial. This is my biggest self indulgence, without which I believe I would feel deprived. I go to a fantastic esthetician I have trusted for many years.  She is the bomb.  When I worked at spas I indulged in body work, facials, and all kinds of treatments on a very regular basis. I no longer feel the need for the entire high maintenance line up, but my skin and my mental attitude really benefits from my facial.

One reason I reduced the time and money spent on spa and health endeavors was budget. However, once I noticed how much time was returned to my schedule for any activity I choose I think I reduced my consumption more just to regain the unscheduled time. If I had unlimited funds to spend on treatments I would add a few things, but would probably not want to devote as much time as I used to for that sort of thing. I would rather have time to go to the gym and the steam room regularly because that is essential to my wellbeing. I would probably also spend large chucks of time at hot springs. For now I am happy with my condo village’s pool and jacuzzi, which I access with only a short walk. When I get up before dawn and watch the day begin from the deep end all is right with the world.

I think it is important to indulge oneself in healthy ways.  The real question is what is indulgence. I know I have redefined it for myself and am happier for it.  I had a large carbon footprint and the “need” for all kinds of services when I was younger.  Now I like a good walk in the botanical garden with my neighbor better than a class, and a long soak in my own tub on Sunday evening better than any spa ritual I have bought and paid for in the past.  The kingdom of spa is within you.

What is your best and favorite indulgence? Have you changed the way you look at that over time?  I think it is good to compare value for time/money with everything in existence in order to hone one’s own best ways to pamper and sooth body and soul.

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#WeekendCoffeeShare Pool And Protest

June 3, 2017 6 Comments

pool with reflection

pool with reflection

If we were having coffee this weekend in Tucson I would bring a pitcher of water and another of iced beverage of your choice out to the pool. The only place to be on a day when the temperature reaches 106 degrees is in the pool. I have all manner of flotation devices, and there is a table in the shade where we can sit for a chat after we get wet.  If you feel energetic we could chat while we do some exercise in the water.  I have taught swimming and water exercise for years, and although I am not currently certified in lifesaving I will keep you safe. Come on in.  The water is perfect.

This week was relatively uneventful, if you exclude all the political action in Washington, DC. I do watch with interest while Micheal Bloomberg, the states, and cities step up to fight climate change.  I am happy to see all the marchers for science but in Arizona this is not possible at the moment. We must protest fro the pool. I think the best way for me to contribute to the entire issue of environmental protection is to act personally. I think I am carbon conservative, but there are probably a few more items I could buy locally or go without for the good of the planet.  Rather than review the international scene, although that is of interest, I am looking for ways I can reduce my personal consumption of water, gasoline, and electricity.

While I fill your ice water glass again please tell me about your writing projects and your week.  Did you finish or start any new writing?  I admire those of you who write long works of fiction.  I may attempt it someday, inspired by your success.  It takes discipline as well as talent to do a long write.  I have written a few short pieces of fiction, but this week I created a poem in response to Sue Vincent’s photo prompt. It was about death, and was fully depressing like the previous week’s.  I do wonder at my creative self when I come up with all this dark gloomy haunted stuff.  I also wonder if that is a direction I should try to go for a longer story..haunted and creepy is a genre, after all.  I also wrote about my ancestors and tea, so it was not all gloom and doom…except the ancestors are dead, of course.  I wrote about some from the Byzantine Empire this week.

I think perhaps I am haunted by the politics playing out before me, but that does not matter.  Creative responses to horror and terror have always been used to change things.  Satirists are having a having a hay day with all the crazy times in which we live.  I wish I could draw cartoons, but I think this talent will be for another lifetime.  I will have to stick to poems to express my distaste, rage, or general revolt.  How do you best protest, gentle reader?Do tell, what makes you revolt (silently or otherwise)?

If you are in the mood, feel free to cannonball before you go.  Hydrate fully, and stay safe.  Please join the coffee party on the weekend hosted by Emily at Nerd in the Brain.  Contribute a post, or read, comment, and visit here.

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#Writephoto Knock

June 1, 2017 9 Comments

knock knock

knock knock

This is inspired by Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt

Knock knock, Who’s there? I don’t want to get up from my chair

If you have come to beg for candy I can tell you that the cupboard is bare

If you wanted entertainment you can pass through to the cellar room

Where dangerous characters sit around and complain about the gloom

We have no happy servant to greet you, seat you and serve champagne

These days we are lucky to find a few morsels of food to feed the pain

We brought it all upon ourselves, never caring about the fate of others

Sinister side effects of concentrated self delusion eventually smother

The life out of the privileged and those forced into perpetual service

The end of the road comes to everyone, which makes us all very nervous

#writephoto

#writephoto

Please join writers around the world on Thursdays to read, comment, or submit your own post based on these photos.

Ioannis Komnenos, 29th Great-Grandfather

May 30, 2017 1 Comment

Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire

John Komnenos (Greek: Ἰωάννης Κομνηνός; ca. 1015 – 12 July 1067) was a Byzantine aristocrat and military leader. The younger brother of Emperor Isaac I Komnenos, he served as Domestic of the Schools during Isaac’s brief reign (1057–59). When Isaac I abdicated, Constantine X Doukas became emperor and John withdrew from public life until his death in 1067. Through his son Alexios I Komnenos, who became emperor in 1081, he was the progenitor of the Komnenian dynasty that ruled the Byzantine Empire from 1081 until 1185, and the Empire of Trebizond from 1204 until 1461.

Life.

John Komnenos was born ca. 1015 as the younger son of the patrikios Manuel Erotikos Komnenos, a senior military commander in the late reign of Basil II (ruled 976–1025). He is first mentioned in 1057, the year his elder brother Isaac I Komnenos, at the head of a group of generals, rebelled against Michael VI and forced him off the throne. At the time of the revolt, John held the post of doux, but after his brother’s victory, he was raised to the rank of kouropalates and appointed as Domestic of the Schools of the West.

Nothing is known of John’s activities during his brother’s reign, although Nikephoros Bryennios the Younger, who married John’s granddaughter Anna Komnene, says that in his capacity as Domestic of the West he left his (unspecified) acts as an “immortal monument” to the people of the Balkan provinces.

Isaac’s reign was cut short by his clash with the powerful Patriarch of Constantinople,Michael Keroularios, who had been instrumental in securing Michael VI’s abdication, and the powerful civil aristocracy of the capital. Keroularios and his supporters led the opposition against Isaac’s stringent economizing policies, forcing him to resign on 22 November 1059, after which he withdrew to the Stoudios Monastery.

The crown then passed to Constantine X Doukas (r. 1059–67), although Bryennios asserts that it was first offered to John, who refused it, despite the pressure of his wife, Anna Dalassene, to accept. According to the historian Konstantinos Varzos, however, this version is suspect, and may well be a post-fact attempt at legitimizing the eventual usurpation of the throne by John’s son, Alexios I Komnenos (r. 1081–1118).

John is not mentioned in the sources during the reign of Constantine X, perhaps indicating, according to Konstantinos Varzos, that he was in imperial disfavour, despite Bryennios’ assertion that both he and his brother remained much honoured by the new emperor.The late 12th-century typikon of the Monastery of Christ Philanthropos, founded by Alexios I’s wife Irene Doukaina, is the only source to record that John Komnenos retired to a monastery, probably at the same time as his wife, Anna Dalassene. He died as a monk on 12 July 1067.

Family..John Komnenos married Anna Dalassene, the daughter of Alexios Charon, most likely in 1044. Anna, born ca. 1028, long outlived her husband and after his death ran the family as its undisputed matriarch. Anna became involved in conspiracies against the Doukas family, whom she never forgave for taking the throne in 1059. Later she also played a major role in the successful overthrow of Nikephoros III Botaneiates (r. 1078–81) and the rise of her son Alexios to the throne. After that, and for about fifteen years, she served as the virtual co-ruler of the empire along her son. She then retired to a monastery, where she died in 1100 or 1102.

With Anna, John had eight children, five boys and three girls:

  • Manuel Komnenos (ca. 1045 – 1071), kouropalates and protostrator, married a relative ofRomanos IV Diogenes (r. 1068–71)
  • Maria Komnene (ca. 1047 – after 1094), married the panhypersebastos Michael Taronites
  • Isaac Komnenos (ca. 1050 – 1102/4), sebastokrator, married Irene, daughter of the ruler of Alania
  • Eudokia Komnene (ca. 1052 – before 1136), married Nikephoros Melissenos.
  • Theodora Komnene (ca. 1054 – before 1136), married the kouropalates Constantine Diogenes, son of Romanos IV.
  • Alexios Komnenos (1057–1118), the future emperor, married Irene Doukaina.
  • Adrianos Komnenos (ca. 1060 – 1105), protosebastos, married Zoe Doukaina.
  • Nikephoros Komnenos (ca. 1062 – after 1136), pansebastos sebastos and droungarios of the fleet.

IOANNES Komnenos, son of MANUEL Erotikos Komnenos & his wife — ([1015]-12 Jul 1067).  Nikephoros Bryennios names “maiori natu Isaacio…iunior Ioannes” as the two sons of “Comneni Manuelis” .  His parentage is confirmed by the Alexeiad which describes Emperor Isaakios Komnenos as brother-in-law of Anna Dalassena, an earlier passage naming him Ioannes [43].  Patrikios.  Skylitzes records that Emperor Isaakios created “Joannem fratrem et Catacalon Combustum curopalatas” and “fratrem suum magnum domesticum” after his accession, in 1057 .  His brother abdicated in his favour 25 Dec 1059, but Ioannes refused the throne.  He became a monk as IOANNES.  The list of obituaries of Empress Eirene Doukas’s family records the death “12 Jul, monk John father of Emperor”.

m ([1042]) ANNA Dalassena, daughter of ALEXIOS Kharon Prefect of Italy & his wife — Dalassena (-1 Nov/27 Apr 1100/01).  Nikephoros Bryennios records the marriage of “Ioanni” and “filia Charonis Alexii…Anna”, recording that her mother was “genus a Dalassenis”.  The Alexeiad names “Anna Dalassena, the mother of the Komneni” when recording that she arranged the marriage of “the grandson of Botaneiates and the daughter of Manuel her eldest son”.  Despoina 1048/57.  Regent of Byzantium 1081 and 1094-1095.  She became a nun at Pantopopte convent which she founded.  The list of obituaries of Empress Eirene Doukas’s family records the death “1 Nov, Anna, mother of the Emperor”.

Ioannes Komnenos & his wife had eight children:

  1. MANUEL Komnenos (-killed in battle Bithynia 17 Apr [1070/early 1071]).  Nikephoros Bryennios names (in order) “Manuel, Isaacius, Alexius, Adrianus, Nicephorus” as the five sons of “Ioanni” and his wife Anna [50].  The Alexeiad records that “Isaakios and Alexios had an elder brother Manuel, the first-born of all the children [of] Ioannes Komnenos” and that he was appointed “commander-in-chief of the whole of Asia” by Emperor Romanos Diogenes [51].  Nikephoros Bryennios records that “Manuel” was invested as “curopalates, dux summus Orientalium” by Emperor Romanos but was captured by the Turks “cum duobus sororem suarum viris, Melisseno et Taronita” .  Protoproedros.  Kuropalates [1068].  Protostrator and strategos autokrator in Anatolia 1067/71.  His death is dated from the Alexeiad recording that the mother of the future Emperor Alexios I prevented her son from campaigning with Emperor Romanos Diogenes because “she was mourning the recent death of her eldest son Manuel” [53].  The list of obituaries of Empress Eirene Doukas’s family records the death “17 Apr, Manuel brother of the Emperor” .  m ([1068]) — Diogene, relative of ROMANOS Diogenes, daughter of —.  The primary source which confirms her parentage and marriage has not yet been identified.  The name of Manuel’s wife is not known.  The list of obituaries of Empress Eirene Doukas’s family records the death “15 May, Irene, wife of brother of the Emperor”, without specifying to which brother this refers.  It is probable that it refers to Irena, wife of Isaakios.  However, Irena is recorded as having become a nun as Xene and, as the list of obituaries mainly uses the monastic names of all individuals where relevant, it is not impossible that it relates to the wife of one of the emperor’s other brothers, Manuel or Nikephoros, whose wives’ names are not otherwise known.  It is felt least likely that it refers to the wife of Manuel, as she probably remarried after her husband’s early death and may not thereafter have been considered a member of the family whose death needed to be recorded in the list of obituaries.
Ioannis Komnenos (1015 – 1067)
29th great-grandfather
Alexios I Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Comnenus (1048 – 1118)
son of Ioannis Komnenos
Theodora Comnena (1096 – 1139)
daughter of Alexios I Emperor of the Byzantine Empire Comnenus
Andronikos Dukas Angelos (1122 – 1185)
son of Theodora Comnena
Alexios Emperor Byzantine Empire (1153 – 1204)
son of Andronikos Dukas Angelos
Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea (1176 – 1212)
daughter of Alexios Emperor Byzantine Empire
MARIA Laskarina (1206 – 1270)
daughter of Empress Anna Komnene Angelina Nicaea
King of Hungary Stephen V (1240 – 1277)
son of MARIA Laskarina
Marie DeHungary (1257 – 1323)
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Marguerite Sicily Naples (1273 – 1299)
daughter of Marie DeHungary
Jeanne DeVALOIS (1294 – 1342)
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Philippa deHainault (1311 – 1369)
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daughter of John of Gaunt – Duke of Lancaster – Plantagenet
John Holland (1395 – 1447)
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Henry Holland (1430 – 1475)
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Henry Holland (1485 – 1561)
son of Henry Holland
Henry Holland (1527 – 1561)
son of Henry Holland
John Holland (1556 – 1628)
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Gabriell Francis Holland (1596 – 1660)
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son of Gabriell Francis Holland
Mary Elizabeth Holland (1620 – 1681)
daughter of John Holland
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son of Mary Elizabeth Holland
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son of Richard Dearden
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son of George Dearden
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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
Pamela Morse
I am the daughter of Ruby Lee Taylor

 

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