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Bubbe Wisdom by LouiseSilk
Unraveling the Threads of Life
Oct 19, 2010 | 232988 views | 0 0 comments | 163 163 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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I Thought I Knew You
by LouiseSilk
Feb 09, 2016 | 93 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Spending time quilting goes much easier when I listen to podcasts. I want to recommend particularly Act One of this edition of This American Life. It offers great insight into the far right and Donald Trump supporters.

Tangentially, I was driving alone in my car one day last week and somehow leaned on my phone in such a way that the microphone became activated.  I swore to myself and turned it off using the remote on my steering wheel.  A couple of red lights later- it happened again and I heard the phone microphone engage.

Me out loud, “Oh stop it!”

Siri, “I can’t stop something I didn’t start, BubbeWisdom.”

Can you believe her? I thought I knew Siri- but maybe not.

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Benjamin Root
by LouiseSilk
Feb 04, 2016 | 288 views | 1 1 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
For those of you who read my last blog here is the obituary for my father-in-law. A memorial service will be held on Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. at the Residence at Weinberg Village, 300 JHF Drive in Pittsburgh. Donations can be made to the Music and Wellness Program at the Jewish Association on Aging, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, 15217.

ROOT – Benjamin Harris, died Jan. 29, 2016, in Pittsburgh, Pa., after spending 96 years making the world a better place. Root led a remarkable life in which he made friends, made memories and made an impact in the community but also in his travels around the world. He left an impression on everyone he met with his combination of deep intelligence, irrepressible charm, unfailing kindness and youthful sense of humor. To some, Root was known as a businessman – a co-owner, along with his beloved wife of 54 years, Cheryl Charlson Root, of Charlsons Wonderful World of Furniture from 1946-99. To others, he was a community leader – a founding board member of the Cambria County Community College from 1993-99, co-founder of the Barnesboro Public Library and the co-founder of the Coal County Medical Center.  To those who knew him best, he was a family man above all. Root was the devoted patriarch of a family that included four children, eight grandchildren, six great-grandchildren; his extended family ranged from Argentina to Japan. He enjoyed nothing more than visiting with his loved ones, hearing stories about them and doting on them. In his later years, phone calls with family provided pride and joy on a daily basis. Root was born in the Bronx (N.Y.) in 1919 and graduated from Nutley (N.J.) High School after relocating several times with his family, who owned Jewish delicatessens. Moving frequently as a child helped Root develop into a man who made friends anywhere he went – Indonesia, Liberia, Russia, Mexico and across town. He graduated from North Carolina State University in 1941 and spent five years working as a U.S. Department of Agriculture inspector, a chemist and a medical school student before marrying Cheryl and relocating to her hometown of Barnesboro, Pa., in 1945. In 1946, the young couple took over the furniture store founded by Cheryl’s parents in 1907, and eventually expanded it to a 15,000-square foot pillar of Barnesboro’s downtown. They proudly served Cambria County and the surrounding area with personalized service and an inventory stocked with furniture the Roots often acquired with their annual trips to international trade shows in High Point (N.C.), Atlanta and elsewhere. Six-day work weeks at Charlsons Furniture were interspersed with time spent traveling to over 40 countries, riding the horses he kept for decades or visiting with family. He also was passionate about bettering the coal-mining community he called home. Root was  a charter member and founding president of the Barnesboro Business District Authority, was the co-founder of the Coalition for Better Healthcare in Tricare Area and spent 20 years on the board of the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Arts, the nation’s longest-running museum satellite system with four locations in western Pennsylvania. He and Cheryl were longtime supporters of the B’Nai Israel Synagogue that her father had founded in Barnesboro. Root also spearheaded a three-year consolidation effort that resulted in the Jan. 1, 2000, formation of the town of Northern Cambria as the merger of Barnesboro and neighboring Spangler. Root was honored in many ways throughout his life. In 1986, he won a Cambria County Conservation Award, he was a 2002 inductee into the Cambria County Business Hall of Fame and he was a member of the Northern Cambria Hall of Fame Class of 2013. To him, there was no greater honor than the opportunity to spend time with his family, whom he cherished, nurtured and uplifted throughout all of his days. After his beloved Cheryl passed away in 2000, Root was blessed with the love and companionship of Mary Ann Fluck (deceased) of Boise, Idaho, and Edna Belle Kalson of Pittsburgh, Pa. At the time of his passing, he was being visited, comforted and cared for by his family and the staff of Weinberg Village, a personal care facility in Pittsburgh. Root leaves behind a towering legacy of love and inspiration, as well as his four children, Stephen (Louise) Root of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Paula Pimentel of Sedona, Ariz.; Maxine (Ray) Butler of Kent, Ohio; and Dan (Sue) Root of Alexandria, Va.; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.  A memorial service will be held on Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. at the Residence at Weinberg Village, 300 JHF Drive in Pittsburgh. Donations can be made to the Music and Wellness Program at the Jewish Association on Aging, 200 JHF Drive, Pittsburgh, 15217. The association’s website is jaapgh.org.

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Leah Zendel
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February 08, 2016
What a wonderful man!


Goin' Home
by LouiseSilk
Feb 04, 2016 | 386 views | 1 1 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

This is a tough blog to write. I lost my biggest fan; the man who believed in me like non-other; my father-in-law; Benjamin Bar Mordecai v Sarah. He was ninety-six and living a good life at Weinberg Village.  We will remember him in a memorial service there at the end of the month. Read his obituary here.

His legacy includes four children, eight grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. One time we were talking about the grandchildren and I asked him if he had a favorite. Without a thought he replied, “Whichever one I’m with.” That was Ben. He was the ultimate in unconditional love. When you were with him, you were sure that he absolutely only cared about one thing- being with you.  

When All That's Left Is Love  

When I die

If you need to weep

Cry for someone 

Walking the street beside you.

You can love me most by letting

Hands touch hands, and Souls touch souls.

You can love me most by

Sharing your Simchas and

Multiplying your Mitzvot.

You can love me most by

Letting me live in your eyes

And not on your mind.

And when you say Kaddish for me

Remember what our

Torah teaches,

Love doesn’t die People do.

So when all that’s left of me is love

Give me away.

By Rabbi Allen S. Maller

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JJaassoonn
|
February 01, 2016
A lovely tribute, Louise. The story you told will ring very true to our entire family.

Living and Dying
by LouiseSilk
Jan 28, 2016 | 238 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

There isn’t a one of us prepared and ready to die so when it does come upon us, it’s important to have resources.

The best innovations in the medical field are palliative and hospice care. The palliative care team supports management of pain and other symptoms, help navigating the healthcare system, and gives guidance through difficult and complex treatment choices. Hospice provides a caring emotional environment knowing that the illness is terminal.  Here is a good overall guide to the dying process from Hospice.

For some spiritual guidance, look at the Living/Dying Project:

Mission Statement:

Imagine facing death without fear.

Imagine using a life-threatening illness as an opportunity for spiritual awakening.

Imagine approaching the unknown with an open heart.

We often resist change as a natural part of life.

Strength and healing can be found in life’s most difficult situations.

The Living/Dying Project offers compassionate support in the spirit of mutual exploration to those facing life-threatening illness.

Here is one of their meditations. If this one doesn’t seem right, check out this page to find one that does.

Softening Pain Meditation

A GUIDED MEDITATION ON SOFTENING PAIN By Stephen Levine

© 1991 Stephen Levine

(To be read slowly to a friend or silently to oneself.)

Try to find a comfortable position and settle into it.

Slowly allow your attention to move toward the area of discomfort.

Watch what feelings arise as you let your awareness approach that place.

Let the pain just be there.

Is the mind and body at war? Much resistance? Is the mind cursing the body?

Is there any fear accumulated in the area of discomfort?

Notice if any old mind fears cling there, turning pain to suffering.

Resistance to hellishness.

Notice whatever feelings arise in that area.

Begin to soften all about physical and mental discomfort.

Let the skin, the flesh, the muscles, begin to soften all around the pain.

Let the fist of resistance and fear which closes down around the unpleasant slowly begin to open. Releasing tension around discomfort.

Letting go of the rigidity holding unwanted sensations.

Let go. This holding, this old resistance and dread turns the moment sour.

Let go. It is so painful to hold to the pain with anger and fear and hopelessness.

Let it go.

Let it begin to float in awareness instead of being trapped hard in the body.

Moment to moment sensation arises. Moment to moment opening.

Softening to each particle of sensation.

Let the muscles soften.

Let the flesh open to receive the moment as it is in mercy and loving kindness.

The fear, the anger, the sense of failure dissolving into the softness.

Each moment new.

Softening from sensation to sensation.

Notice how the least thought or subtlest holding reestablishes tension.

Soften. Moment to moment letting go.

Remembering the mercy that pain cries out for—soften again and again and once again.

Let the discomfort just be there, not holding to it, not even pushing it away.

Softening to the very center of each instant of sensation and feeling.

Meeting the heart of our pain in mercy and forgiveness.

Moving gently into it to heal, to release so much frustration, so much helplessness. Allowing at last the moment simply to be as it is with such mercy for ourselves and these sensations arising in soft flesh.

Soften the ligaments.

Soften the tissue all around each sensation. Let each sensation float free in this softness. Letting it be in the heart of mercy and kindness toward oneself, toward this moment, toward these sensations constantly changing.

Open all around sensation gently.

Push nothing away.

Let resistance melt from the body with a sigh. Let go of long-held fear and doubt.

And in the mind that holds to this pain, that prays to it and wars with it, that beseeches it, a deeper softening begins to permeate. The mental fist opens.

Feel the release of tension in the mind as it softens to the unpleasant in the body. Have mercy.

A moment of fear, a moment of distrust, a moment of anger—each arising and dissolving, one after the other. Each mind-moment dissolving into the next.

The spaciousness increasing.

Hard reactions melting to soft responses in the mind. The body softening to receive the moment as is.

Moment-to-moment softening all about sensations arising.

Softening the tissue. Softening the muscles. Softening around each moment of experience arising in the body.

Softening to the center of each cell.

Sending mercy and loving kindness into each moment of sensation arising and dissolving in space.

Each instant of sensation received in an awareness that gently embraces.

Letting go of discomfort.

Letting it float in a merciful awareness.

Letting the mind float in the heart.

Receiving this moment in the opening heart of mercy.

Receiving this softness in all the far-flung galaxies of the body.

In the vast body, such mercy, such kindness, receives each moment.

Softening. Opening with a merciful awareness we continue the path of the healing we took birth for.

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Plant A Tree; Make a Seder
by LouiseSilk
Jan 25, 2016 | 185 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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Who Killed Theresa Halbach?
by LouiseSilk
Jan 22, 2016 | 365 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I’ve been staying up late the last couple nights hooked on the Netflix documentary series: Making a Murderer. It shouldn't be as engrossing as it is. It's a little flat, has way too much courtroom footage, and delves into the past repeatedly over and over again.  

I won’t give you any of the details. Truth be told, the filmmakers do weight the evidence in one direction; yet with everyone on the prosecution side (including the judge)  being so despicable,  I am willing to put money on the fact that Steven Avery did not commit this murder.

10 episodes later, one thing is for sure, there continues to exist within our criminal justice system terrible injustice.

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Baby Alive Goes Green
by LouiseSilk
Jan 19, 2016 | 199 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I’m always looking to buy something for my granddaughters that is useful and needed or wanted instead of something unsolicited and useless. One time it was raincoats, another time it was fish tank supplies. Recently they convinced me that they could make use of the newest in baby dolls- one that drinks and wets like a real baby. We spent hour pouring over the videos, the specs, the clothes and the accessories to be sure we right selections. Everything arrived and was perfect except for one thing: these dolls use paper diapers. For children brought up in a consciously green household including their own cloth diapers and a Bubbe who is an expect sewer, the solution was clear: new cloth diapers for Baby Alive! Do you think maybe I have a new product?

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The State of Our Union
by LouiseSilk
Jan 14, 2016 | 241 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

That was the Obama I know and love: the one that stood confidently in front of us on Tuesday night duty-binding us to become our higher selves; to cure cancer; to end any and all forms of violence; to ward off fear; to accept and embrace change; to be undaunted by any challenge; to be clear eyed and big hearted; to reject any inclination to separate from other. Like him, I truly believe.

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In Memory of A Fashion Icon
by LouiseSilk
Jan 12, 2016 | 275 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

“David Bowie was an absolute rock star. He transcended the eras, influencing them and sometimes even creating them, musically, intellectually, and as a human being. Personally, he inspired me by his creativity, his extravagance, his sense of fashion[s] that he was constantly reinventing, by his allure, his elegance, and his play on gender.”  Jean Paul Gaultier

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Follow This Thinking
by LouiseSilk
Jan 07, 2016 | 316 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I began with this opinion in the NYTimes: Purity, Disgust and Donald Trump concluding that Trump’s success embodies irresolvable conflicts in our political system. What are those conflicts, how did they happen and how might we overcome them?

Those questions brought me to YourMorals.org’s moral foundations theory that probes how people put together moral beliefs based on six different foundations - Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation. Their research found that conservatives value loyalty and purity as much or more than fairness and caring whereas liberals most often only value fairness and liberty.

This brought me to Jonathan Haidt, his book The Righteous Mind and this article in the Washington Post: The top 10 reasons American politics are broken:

1) The two parties purified themselves ideologically

2) As politicians polarized, so did many Americans

3) The urban-rural divide grew into a gulf, reflecting diverging interests and values

4) Immigration was rising, leading to larger racial and ethnic divisions

5) The net effect of all these trends is that partisans dislike one another more intensely

6) Meanwhile, rule changes and culture changes in Congress made it harder to maintain cross-party friendships

7) The media environment changed, making it easier for partisans to confirm their worst suspicions, and putting greater pressure on politicians to play to the extremes

8) As the costs of campaigns increased, politicians have become increasingly afraid of offending their party’s donors

9) When the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States lost a common enemy that had once unified the country

10) The end of the Cold War coincided with the baton pass from the Greatest Generation to the baby boomers, who may be more prone to hyper-partisanship

And finally I end with Haidt's advice for both parties to move in a more libertarian direction: Republicans should give up their opposition to gay marriage and agree to end the drug war; Democrats should back off on race-based affirmative action and agree to rein in the regulatory state. Makes great sense to me- if only it will happen!

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