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Bubbe Wisdom by LouiseSilk
Unraveling the Threads of Life
Oct 19, 2010 | 154938 views | 0 0 comments | 137 137 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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A Modern Quilting Bee
by LouiseSilk
May 26, 2015 | 152 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

In olden days, on farms and ranches of the Middle and Far West creating a quilt top, whether pieced, applique, or embroidery, was usually a solitary activity. Women constructed their quilt tops during the winter when there were fewer chores and the sun set early. When the weather warmed, neighbors would gather together at a quilting bee to complete the quilt with hand quilting. The quilting bee was one of the most popular ways for women to gather socially to work, laugh, and gossip about the goings-on in the community.

The Bee in Quilting Bee is derived from the Old English bēn meaning “a prayer, a favor.” By the late eighteenth century, Bee had become commonly associated with the British dialect form, been or bean, referring to the joining of neighbors to work on a single activity to help a neighbor in need. This derivation counters my logical belief that bee refers to the buzzing insect and the social nature of a beehive.

Sarah made the top from Evans’ materials. Steve, Sarah, Evan, Louise and Ben attended the Bee. Very cool!

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A Whole New Braddock
by LouiseSilk
May 22, 2015 | 753 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

I’ve been going to Braddock for over six years now- mostly to participate in events organized by my stepdaughter, Dana. Each time I shake my head in the wonder of how she ended up there and remember the first time she considered the move here from Brooklyn when I emphatically declared, “No way are you moving to Braddock.”

But low and behold as I drove down Braddock Avenue last night on my way to see my daughter, Sarah, in the Barebones production of American Falls, I understood how a vision becomes a reality. There is new housing on the empty lot that was once Braddock Hospital. The Brew Gentlemen was hopping with its beautiful storefront, food trucks and folks mingling about. There was a sizable congregation of people waiting to start The Bricolage Saints Tour. The Free Store, the library, the urban gardens, all beckoned me toward my first stop of the evening, the new home of BareBones in Superior Motors. The production was well acted and compelling, the set beautifully conceived and constructed, all in odd contrast to my old image of Braddock, but now as I think about it, that’s part of the brilliance of the thing. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket- don’t miss it!

After the play, Dana hosted a little party for the cast in her working-toward-completion project, General Sisters.  When it’s open to the public, the storefront aims to confront the distance that race and class create by bringing disparate parts of the community together harvesting spices, distributing bulk dry goods and forging an every increasing path of possibilities for Braddock, for us, and for the world- don’t miss it!
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Secret #5: The Cause of Suffering is Unreality
by LouiseSilk
May 20, 2015 | 221 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The steps that lead to suffering:

Overlooking actual facts

Adopting a negative perception

Getting lost in the pain without looking for a way out

Comparing yourself to others

Cementing the suffering though relationships


The root cause of every form of suffering:

Not knowing what is real

Grasping and clinging to the unreal

Being afraid of the unreal and recoiling from it

Identifying with an imaginary self

Fear of death


How to eliminate suffering:

Create order

List the major stresses in your life and take steps to reduce them

Stop trying to take away another's pain with empathic suffering- create boundaries

Eliminate toxic relationships

Overcome the inertia of old habits and conditioning

Examine and dissect your motives for suffering

Learn to identify and release physical sensations that hold the suffering

From Secret #5; The Book Of Secrets; Deepak Chopra

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Does Age Matter?
by LouiseSilk
May 13, 2015 | 344 views | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Matures: Born on or before 1945, Matures lived through the Depression and WWII, events that marked all who lived through the 30s and 40 with an outlook of uncertainty. Matures are happy to contribute to the growth of the nation and to fit in defining them as loyal, patriotic and responsible.

Baby Boomers: Born between 1946 and 1964, the first generation to be marketed to as children by way of television. Known for individuality, aspiration and idealism, they fight to make the world just and fair.

Gen Xers: Born between 1965 and 1977, are dubbed with the X signifying an unknown. Suspicious of phony values and corporate greed, they recognize independence, authenticity, thrift, and a balanced outlook on life.

Millennials: Born between 1978 and 1995 are socially responsible, diverse, and always-on tech shaping our early 2000s culture.

Generation Z refers to our youngest cohort of people. They are post-9/11, post-tsunami, post-Obama election, post-Great Recession and post-millennial and have never known a world without smart phones.

These titles make me feel my age until I look at this fascinating  list of the most creative people in business and then I know for sure that age is just a number.

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May 14, 2015
You're a little too broad with "matures." Anyone who lived through the Depression and the war was a "grown-up" mature when I was a high-schooler. Those people now, sadly, are old and disappearing all too quickly.

I was born in 1944, so I didn't live through the Depression and was an infant during the last 18 months of the war.

I am 71, and blessed with good health, I usually think I'm 35. I am astonished that I've retired from two careers; I'm still waiting to feel like a grown-up.

Am I mature? Depends on who you ask and what I'm doing when the question is posed.

Introducing Our Better Than The Swedish Furniture Retailer’s Blue Bag
by LouiseSilk
May 12, 2015 | 364 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Top Ten Reasons I Love Our Better Than The Swedish Furniture Retailer’s Blue Bag

10.  I love IKEA’s idea of a hold-everything bag but I hate blue plastic.

9. It has two kind of handles- making it versatile when holding.

8. It is bigger than our Big Bag.

7. It’s easier to make than our Big Bag.

6. It is more fun to make than our Big Bag.

5. It makes use of our ever-increasing pile of scraps.

4. It eliminates the need for large white garage bags when shopping for used denim.

3. It is part of our Second Collection soon to be seen at SilkDenim.us.

2. It is big enough to hold a quilt commission.

1. It is the most perfect container I have ever found to take to the beach.


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by LouiseSilk
May 08, 2015 | 464 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

You’d think a soon to be 65 year old would be able to easily identify her range of emotions, but like anything, I’m a work in progress. During a discussion this week, I realized how limited I am in this category. I found these two comprehensive charts: one for positive emotions and the other for negative ones.

Acknowledging and naming an emotion is the first step. The second step is to take a deep breath and locate where the emotion resides in your body. Wow- isn’t that an eye-opener?

If you find yourself stuck thinking about the emotion (and the action that caused the emotion), rather then feeling it, try deeper breathing, tapping, meditation, or yoga- all techniques designed to help you engage with the emotion.

Finally, act in ways the move you beyond yourself. Talk to a friend. Take a walk. Get into the garden.  Tap into that something larger than yourself that brings the feelings into acceptance and integration.

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Thanks For The Memories
by LouiseSilk
May 05, 2015 | 404 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

By pure luck, I happened upon the David Letterman Prime Time Special last night. What a treasure. David is to my generation what Johnny was to my parents. Although, I haven’t watched him in years, I didn’t know he had a ten-year-old son but still he was a master at telling it like it is and making me laugh.

All together, 4,014 episodes at CBS and 1,810 shows at NBC (including the morning show which I used to watch regularly when my kids were little) bring the total to 5,914 shows over 34 years. Kudos to you Letterman and thanks for the memories.

Some gems:

Blue Cross Blue Shield man of the year

Doing the weather

Talking to Paris Hilton about jail

And my all time favorite Dave’s suit of velcro

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If It’s Not The Feet, It’s The Hands
by LouiseSilk
Apr 29, 2015 | 610 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

My brother was just complaining that with his arthritis he can hardly grip his golf clubs. I, myself, have been experiencing pain in my thumbs. Last week, I talked about feet and now it’s time to address hands.

There are overuse problems like carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, De Quervain's disease, repetitive motion syndrome, writer's cramps and trigger finger/thumb. There are bone, muscle, and joint problems such as Dupuytren's and ganglion cysts. And there are problems from medical conditions such as tingling in heart attacks, decreased blood flow with Diabetes, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, gout, and Reynaud’s phenomenon. Really, what are the chances of not having any or these?

Like other body parts, simple regular hand strengthening can best retard functional aging changes in hands and hand flexibility exercises. The best thing I found is this slide show: Ten ways to exercise hands and fingers. Once again the axiom: use it or lose it, applies to hand function, as it does to any other part of the musculoskeletal system.

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Peculiarities of Pittsburgh; 1886
by LouiseSilk
Apr 28, 2015 | 542 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

In truth, Pittsburg is a smoky, dismal city, at her best. At her worst, nothing darker, dingier or more dispiriting can be imagined. The city is in the heart of the soft coal region; and the smoke from her dwellings, stores, factories, foundries and steamboats, uniting, settles in a cloud over the narrow valley in which she is built, until the very sun looks coppery through the sooty haze. According to a circular of the Pittsburg Board of Trade, about twenty per cent., or one-fifth, of all the coal used in the factories and dwellings of the city escapes into the air in the form of smoke, being the finer and lighter particles of carbon of the coal, which, set free by fire, escapes unconsumed with the gases. The consequences of several thousand bushels of coal in the air at one and the same time may be imagined. But her inhabitants do not seem to mind it; and the doctors hold that this smoke, from the carbon, sulphur and iodine contained in it, is highly favorable to lung and cutaneous diseases, and is the sure death of malaria and its attendant fevers. And certainly, whatever the cause may be, Pittsburg is one of the healthiest cities in the United States. Her inhabitants are all too busy to reflect upon the inconvenience or uncomeliness of this smoke. Work is the object of life with them. It occupies them from morning until night, from the cradle to the grave, only on Sundays, when, for the most part, the furnaces are idle, and the forges are silent. For Pittsburg, settled by Irish-Scotch Presbyterians,[Pg 335] is a great Sunday-keeping day. Save on this day her business men do not stop for rest or recreation, nor do they "retire" from business. They die with the harness on, and die, perhaps, all the sooner for having worn it so continuously and so long.

Pittsburg is not a beautiful city. That stands to reason, with the heavy pall of smoke which constantly overhangs her. But she lacks beauty in other respects. She is substantially and compactly built, and contains some handsome edifices; but she lacks the architectural magnificence of some of her sister cities; while her suburbs present all that is unsightly and forbidding in appearance, the original beauties of nature having been ruthlessly sacrificed to utility.


CHAPTER XXIV.—PITTSBURG; 332-347 Pittsburg at Night.—A Pittsburg Fog.—Smoke.—Description of the City.—The Oil Business.—Ohio River.—Public Buildings, Educational and Charitable Institutions.—Glass Industry.—Iron Foundries.—Fort Pitt Works—Casting a Monster Gun.—American Iron Works.—Nail Works.—A City of Workers.—A True Democracy.—Wages.—Character of Workmen.—Value of Organization.—Knights of Labor.—Opposed to Strikes.—True Relations of Capital and Labor.—Railroad Strike of 1877.—Allegheny City.—Population of Pittsburg.—Early History.—Braddock's Defeat.—Old Battle Ground.—Historic Relics.—The Past and the Present.

Read it in its entirety here: Gutenburg.org

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What’s With These Feet?
by LouiseSilk
Apr 24, 2015 | 717 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

When I was in high school, I wore a size 5 shoe and had tiny hands. So why did I find that a size 7 was the best fit for me the other day in Gabe’s????

A podiatrist at George Washington University Medical Center estimates that some people over the age of 40 can gain half a shoe size every 10 years. As we age our feet don’t actually get bigger, instead, they flatten as the tendons and ligaments lose some of their elasticity holding the bones and joints together. Gravity gradually overwhelms the older, less resilient ligaments in the weight-bearing feet but not in the free-floating hands (my hands are still tiny.). It squeezes fluid from leaky veins in the lower extremities, contributing to swelling. In addition, if you have had children, hormones released during pregnancy cause ligaments to relax.

Looser tendons and ligaments mean more than the need for bigger shoes. As the front of the foot widens and the arch lowers, the foot becomes not only longer but more flexible and flatter, letting the ankle roll inward and increasing the chance for sprains. Then there's the constant force of bearing weight that causes the fat pads cushioning the bottom of the feet to thin out. When this happens, they can absorb less shock, which can make feet sore and painful after time. The loss of padding can also cause corns and calluses on your balls and heels.

Also, as the foot becomes wider, longer and less padded, the plantar fascia tendon that runs along the length of the sole and forms the arch becomes stretched, contributing to the lowering of the arch. A lower arch contributes to bunions, sometimes painful, bony prominences sticking out from the big toe. Foot flattening has the added disadvantage of pulling the big toe up. This can cause pain in its own right, but if a big toe is sticking up and in a too-tight shoe, it can rub against the top of the shoe, thickening the toenail and possibly damaging it and turning it black.

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis can pester joints and bones of the feet as well, especially in the big toe, already hampered by tendons and ligaments pulling it up. These conditions can cause damage to bones and joints, and thin bones are more prone to stress fractures. All of these changes in foot structure affect balance and gait. Older people who have weaker, less flexible ankles as well as other problems such as bunions or reduced sensation on the bottoms of their feet were more likely to fall.

Aging feet need properly fitted shoes with good support and cushioning. Shoes should have good cushioning in the heel to make up for the loss of natural padding and the widest part of the foot, usually the front, should fit the widest part of the shoe.  It is important to keep leg muscles in good shape. Out-of-shape calf muscles can torment the plantar fascia and Achilles tendons. Basic stretching and weight-bearing exercises help prevent muscle and bone loss and improve circulation, and adjust to a bigger shoe.

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