The Consumer Vision

           January/February, 2013

Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746

Telephone: 508-994-4972

Web Site: www.consumervisionmagazine.com

Email Address: bobbranco93@gmail.com

Publisher: Bob Branco

Editor: Janet Marcley

CD Production: Allen Hensel

CD Reader: Bob Zeida

Email Production: Bob Branco and Janet Marcley

Braille Production: Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library

Print Production: Alpha Graphics

Board of Directors: Clement Beaulieu, Darryl Breffe, Steve Brown, Lauren Casey, Dan Germano, Bob Hachey, Allen Hensel, Alan Soule and Gail Teixeira

Note: For searching purposes, three asterisks (***) have been inserted just before the beginning of each new article or section.

Table of Contents:

Implant Lets Blind Eyes "See" Braille : Science/Tech : Medical Daily

Blind Medical Student Earns M.D.

Are State Commissions for the Blind Overestimated?

Debacles

Internet use Cuts Depression Among Elderly

Letter of Response from Brian Coppola to Bob Branco

Coastline Elderly Nutrition News: Holiday Eating

In Memory of My Father

What Thanksgiving Really Means

Special Notices:

            “Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey”

            Out-Of-Sight Community

            A Request From One of Our Readers

Why?

Coastline Elderly Nutrition News: Are You an Expert in Heart Health?

Sandy

The Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

            Implant Lets Blind Eyes "See" Braille : Science/Tech : Medical Daily

by Makini Brice

Nov 23, 2012 09:50 AM EST

            Sent by Alan Dicey of Miami, Florida

The technology is a modification of a previous device, Argus II, developed by Second Sight, which has been implanted on 50 patients, many of whom can now see colors, shapes, and movements. The complicated device uses a camera attached to a pair of glasses, a small processor to convert the signal of the camera into electrical stimulation, and a microchip with electrodes attached directly to the person's retina.

The technology, used primarily for patients with retinal pigmentosa, which causes patients to lose the use of their retina but to still have working neurons, can take up to 10 seconds to convert a single letter and minutes to read a single word, and can only be used with words that are printed in a large font and held up close to a person's face. Street signs, for example, cannot be read. The new technology, a modification of the Argus II, should take just seconds to read words, by contrast.

"In this clinical test with a single blind patient, we bypassed the camera that is the usual input for the implant and directly stimulated the retina. Instead of feeling the Braille on the tips of his fingers, the patient could see the patterns we projected and then read individual letters in less than a second with up to 89% accuracy," lead author of the paper, Thomas Lauritzen, said in a press release.

The device attaches 60 electrodes directly to a person's retina in order to stimulate the nerve cells directly. In a trial conducted on a single patient who already used the Argus II device, the person was able to correctly read Braille letters up to 89 percent of the time, and most of the inaccuracy appeared when the participant misread a single letter. The user was able to read one word a second.

The patient was able to read eight of 10 two-letter words, six of 10 three-letter words, and seven of 10 four-letter words, according to the Telegraph.

Researchers believe that it will be easier to read longer words because misreading a single letter is less confusing for words with more letters.

Because fluent Braille readers can read 125 to 200 words per minute, the system is not intended to displace reading Braille traditionally. Instead, it is meant for reading words that do not have Braille translations, like street signs and other words in public places.

Makers of the device believe that it can help up to 65,000 people with retinal pigmentosa and similar conditions in Europe and the United States.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics

With Best Regards,

Alan

Miami, Florida

Alan Dicey, Vice President

United States Braille Chess Association - USBCA

"Yes, Blind and Visually Impaired People, Can, and Do, Play Chess!"

United States Braille Chess Association Home Page:

http://AmericanBlindChess.org 

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            Blind Medical Student Earns M.D.

            AP

[photo] More information about Tim Cordes, another person who is going to bee a blind doctor. Beth A. Keiser  AP

First-year medical student Tim Cordes listens as second-year student Megan Neuman describes the nerves and tissues of a human shoulder during anatomy class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998. In December, Cordes, who is blind, graduated near the top of his class.

updated 4/5/2005 8:24:08 PM ET 2005-04-06T00:24:0

MADISON, Wis. — The young medical student was nervous as he slid the soft, thin tube down into the patient’s windpipe. It was a delicate maneuver — and he knew he had to get it right.  

Tim Cordes leaned over the patient as his professor and a team of others closely monitored his every step. Carefully, he positioned the tube, waiting for the special signal that oxygen was flowing. 

The anesthesia machine was set to emit musical tones to confirm the tube was in the trachea and carbon dioxide was present. Soon, Cordes heard the sounds. He double-checked with a stethoscope. All was OK. He had completed the intubation. 

Several times over two weeks, Cordes performed this difficult task at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. His professor, Dr. George Arndt, marveled at his student’s skills. 

“He was 100 percent,” the doctor says. “He did it better than the people who could see.” 

Tim Cordes is blind. 

He has mastered much in his 28 years: Jujitsu. Biochemistry. Water-skiing. Musical composition. Any one of these accomplishments would be impressive. Together, they’re dazzling. And now, there’s more luster for his gold-plated resume with a new title: Doctor. Cordes has earned his M.D. 

Many barriers to overcome

In a world where skeptics always seem to be saying, stop, this isn’t something a blind person should be doing, it was one more barrier overcome. There are only a handful of blind doctors in this country. But Cordes makes it clear he could not have joined this elite club alone. 

“I signed on with a bunch of real team players who decided that things are only impossible until they’re done,” he says. 

That’s modesty speaking. Cordes finished medical school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the top sixth of his class (he received just one B), earning honors, accolades and admirers along the way. 

[photo] Andy Manis  AP

Tim Cordes walks with his German shepherd guide dog, Vance, and his fiancée, Blue-leaf Hannah, on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in March.

“He was confident, he was professional, he was respectful and he was a great listener,” says Sandy Roof, a nurse practitioner who worked with Cordes as part of a training program in a small-town clinic. 

Without sight, Cordes had to learn how to identify clusters of spaghetti-thin nerves and vessels in cadavers, study X-rays, read EKGs and patient charts, examine slides showing slices of the brain, diagnose rashes — and more. He used a variety of special tools, including raised line drawings, a computer that simultaneously reads into his earpiece whatever he types, a visual describer, a portable printer that allowed him to write notes for patient charts, and a device called an Optacon that has a small camera with vibrating pins that help his fingers feel images. 

“It was kind of whatever worked,” Cordes says. “Sometimes you can psych yourself out and anticipate problems that don’t materialize. ... You can sit there and plan for every contingency or you just go out and do things. ... That was the best way.” 

That’s been his philosophy much of his life. Cordes was just 5 months old when he was diagnosed with Leber’s disease. He wore glasses by age 2, and gradually lost his sight. At age 16, when his peers were getting their car keys, he took his first steps with a guide dog. Still, blindness didn’t stop him. He wrestled and earned a black belt in tae kwon do and jujitsu. An academic whiz, he graduated as valedictorian at the University of Notre Dame as a crowd of 10,000 gave him a standing ovation. 

Cordes finished medical school in December but still is working on his Ph.D., studying the structure of a protein involved in a bacteria that causes pneumonia and other infections.

Though he spends 10 to 12 hours a day in the lab, Cordes also carried the Olympic torch when it made its way through Wisconsin in 2002 (he runs four miles twice a week) and has managed to give a few motivational speeches and accept an award or two. He’s even found time to fall in love; he’s engaged to a medical school student. 

'You deal with what you're dealt'

But Tim Cordes doesn’t want to be cast as the noble hero of a Hallmark special. “I just think that you deal with what you’re dealt,” he says. “I’ve just been trying to do the best with what I’ve got. I don’t think that’s any different than anybody else.”

He also shuns suggestions his IQ leaves his peers in the dust. 

“I just work hard and study,” he says. “If you’re not modest, you’re probably overestimating yourself.” 

Through the years, plenty of people have underestimated Cordes. That was especially true when he applied for medical school and was rejected by several universities, despite glowing references, two years of antibiotics research and a 3.99 undergraduate average as a biochemistry major.

Even when Wisconsin-Madison accepted him, Cordes says, he knew there was “some healthy skepticism.” But, he adds, “the people I worked with were top notch and really gave me a chance.”

The dean of the medical school, Dr. Philip Farrell, says the faculty determined early on that Cordes would have “a successful experience. Once you decide that, it’s only a question of options and choices.”

Farrell worried a bit how Cordes might fare in the hospital settings, but says he needn’t have.

“We’ve learned from him as much as he’s learned from us ... one should never assume that any student is going to have a barrier, an obstacle, that they can’t overcome,” he says.

Sandy Roof, the nurse practitioner who worked with Cordes in a clinic in the town of Waterloo, wondered about that.

“My first reaction was the same as others’: How can he possibly see and treat patients?” she says. “I was skeptical, but within a short time I realized he was very capable, very sensitive.”

She recalls watching him examine a patient with a rash, feel the area, ask the appropriate questions — and come up with a correct diagnosis.

“He didn’t try and sell himself,” Roof adds. “He just did what needed to be done.”

'What's the dog for?'

Cordes says he thinks people accepted him because most of his training was in a teaching hospital, where he blended in with other medical students. One patient apparently didn’t even realize the young man treating him was blind. Cordes grins as he recalls examining a 7-year-old while making the hospital rounds with Vance, his German shepherd guide dog. The next day, he saw the boy’s father, who said, “I think you did a great job. (But) when my son got out, he asked me, ‘What’s the dog for?’"

With his sandy hair and choirboy’s face, Cordes became a familiar sight with Vance at the university hospital. The two were so good at navigating the maze of hallways that interns would sometimes ask Cordes for the quickest route to a particular destination.

Some professors say Cordes compensates for his lack of sight with his other senses — especially his incredible sense of touch. “He can pick up things with his hands you and I wouldn’t pick up — like vibrations,” says Arndt, the anesthesiology professor.

Cordes says some of his most valuable lessons came from doctors who believed in showing rather than telling.

“You can describe what it feels like to put your hand on the aorta and feel someone’s blood flowing through it,” he says, his face lighting up, “but until you feel it, you really don’t get a sense of what that’s like.”

Dr. Yolanda Becker, assistant professor of surgery who performs transplants, noticed that Cordes had a talent for finding veins. “I tell the students, 'You have to feel them ... you just can’t look.’ For Tim, that was not an option.”

Becker soon became one more member of Tim Cordes’ fan club.

“He was a breath of fresh air,” she says. “He appreciated the fact people took time with him to feel the pulse, feel the grafts, feel where the kidneys are. ... He asked very good questions.”

Cordes’ training included observing surgery, helping treat psychiatric patients at a veterans hospital and traveling beyond the hospital walls to the rural corners of Wisconsin.

For six weeks, he experienced the front lines of medicine with Dr. Ben Schmidt, accompanying him from house calls to the hospital, tending to everything from heart trouble to chicken scratches.

Cars, camping and canoeing

They took time, too, to indulge Cordes’ passion for cars. Cordes, who reads Road & Track and Car and Driver magazines faithfully, is a Porsche fan. Knowing that, an internist in Schmidt’s clinic brought her husband’s metallic gray Turbo 911 to work one day. Schmidt took the wheel, roaring down the road with Cordes in the passenger seat — his keen hearing detecting the sounds of the valves opening up.

Cordes also enjoys camping and canoeing with his fiancée, Blue-leaf Hannah (her exotic first name comes from a character in “Centennial,” a James Michener novel). They met when both interviewed for medical school. “I was just mostly curious how he was going to do it,” she says. “I must have asked him a million questions.”

“I figured she was just sizing up the competition,” he teases.

She was impressed. “He was smart and pretty modest,” she says.

“Handsome, too,” he adds.

“Yes, handsome,” she laughs.

They began dating and will marry this fall. It’s a match made for Mensa. Hannah is now in medical school. She already has a Ph.D. in pharmacology — her dissertation was on a human protein implicated in heart disease called thrombospondin.

“Too long for a Scrabble game,” Cordes jokes.

The two have talked about starting a research lab together someday.

Looking back on medical school, Cordes says he savored the chance to help deliver babies and observe surgery — things he’s probably not going to do again.

“I just made it a point to treasure them while I had them,” he says.

He once thought he’d become a researcher but is now considering psychiatry and internal medicine. “The surprise for me was how much I liked dealing with the human side,” he says. “It took a little work to get over. I’m kind of a shy guy.”

Cordes plans to attend graduation ceremonies in May.

For now, he’s humble about his latest milestone.

“I might be the front man in the show but there were lot of people involved,” he says. “Everybody was giving a good effort for me and I wanted to do right by them.”

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 

'Things are only impossible until they’re done'

Phone 1-608244-5423 

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Are State Commissions for the Blind Overestimated?

by Bob Branco

Although a large percentage of the general public is aware of Commissions for the Blind, many believe that these Commissions are the ultimate problem solvers, Jacks of all Trades, and complete experts on all subjects relating to blindness issues. If members of the general sighted public are reading this magazine, I want them to know that though Commissions for the Blind serve an important purpose, they are not the be-all and end-all of every situation.

Recently I was searching for business grants in order to fund a project I was working on, and a sighted person told me to go to my state Commission for the Blind for money, because after all, the Commission is supposed to help the blind, and therefore it must have lots of funds available for their clients. This is not true. Commissions for the Blind offer information and referral, but they certainly do not have millions of dollars in business grants to give away to the blind population just because they are blindness

agencies.

Another blind man needed home-making services. He was told to go to the Commission for the Blind. After all, he's blind, so the Commission should have a staff of home makers in place, ready to work for him. Wrong again! Commissions for the Blind would rather teach the blind how to run a house. They are not care-giver agencies. The funniest example had to do with a young blind individual who was having trouble tying his shoes. When a sighted observer noticed that he was having difficulty with this task, it was decided that he shouldn't ask his family and friends to teach him how to tie his shoes. Instead, he should go to that blind Commission because that's what it's there for.

Allow me to put all of this into perspective. Yes, there are things that my state Commission for the Blind should be doing, such as more advocacy and support of a blind person who is scratching and scrambling for employment, but I am not going to pretend that the Commission will guide me through life 24 hours a day, seven days a week, because that simply does not happen. Commissions are available if you need some practical assistance with independent living, high technology, job training and mobility, but they aren't going to help you cut your meat, tie your shoes, offer you a business

loan or wash your windows.

When a councilor asked her client to make the misinformed public aware of the Commission's limitations, the client asked why the councilor won't do it. It should be the Commission staff's job to notify everybody as part of their out-reach work, and not expect the client to do his own public relations.

I welcome your feed back in the Readers' Forum.

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            Debacles

by Terri Winaught

Because I wanted to be an informed voter – especially in the presidential election that just took place – I watched both debates.  Two characteristics I found particularly annoying about both were: facts being given incorrectly, and each candidate failing to address what I consider important issues.

The night after the October 22nd debate, I was watching David Letterman when Rachel Madow, a guest he was interviewing, caught my attention. Dave and Rachael were talking about the misrepresentation of facts and neglected issues also bothering them (visit youtube.com).

Regarding incorrect facts, Mit Romney has consistently stated – including in the last debate – that Syria is Iran's pathway to the sea.

Two issues important to me which weren't raised are disability platforms and gun control.

While I respect that people want guns for hunting and self-protection, my heart also breaks for Chicago's African-American and Latino families, many of whose youth are ensnared by the frightening scenario of gang violence; violence which has increased in Chicago by 28 percent since 2011; violence perpetrated by bullets that pierce flesh and make people afraid to help police flesh out shooters; violence which ends life, and violence which ends life as a person knew it before being blinded or paralyzed by gunfire. As a 59-year-old, I have lived much of my life, but I worry about what life will be like when my 28-year-old son and 30-year-old daughter turn 59. My hope is that city streets will be safe so that they and their children won't have to be afraid to go out and play for fear of gun play. (Note: October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month.)

Moving on to disability platforms, neither candidate mentioned his commitment to keeping the Americans with Disabilities Act strong, or anything about the disabled for that matter. Since the need to jumpstart the economy through job creation was mentioned, and October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the last debate would have been a perfect time to discuss workplace inclusion. After all, the best America is an inclusive America, and I hope that President Obama will continue to support that perspective through his policies and initiatives.

Sources: bloomberg.com telegraph.co.uk and youtube.com.

I'd love for readers from Massachusetts to tell me where former Governor Romney stood on disability issues. Based on his positions as governor, how supportive do you think he would have been of disability initiatives had he won the presidency? To share your opinion, E-mail twinaught@comcast.net.

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            Internet Use Cuts Depression Among Elderly         

by Terri Winaught

According to a recent study reported in E-Access Bulletin, Internet use can cut depression among the elderly by as much as 20 to 28 percent.  This research was conducted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and the participants were retired Americans aged 50 and over. Participants were also individuals who lived in their own homes as opposed to assisted living or nursing facilities.

To define terms and measurements, "regular Internet use" was based on people's answer to the question: "Do you regularly use the World Wide Web, or the Internet for sending and receiving E-mail or for any other purpose?" Depression was determined by how respondents scored on an eight-item scale commonly used by the Center For Epidemiologic Studies to measure depressed mood.

These results were compiled by Shelia Cotton, George Ford, Sherri Ford, and Timothy Hale, who used existing data from a survey which covered both Internet use and depression among older adults. That survey, part of an ongoing study being conducted at the University of Michigan, is referred to as HRS or "The Health and Retirement Study."

Although prior research was based on small samples, The Health and Retirement Study obtained responses from 7,839 retired adults who lived independently.

Doctor Cotton told the writers of E-Access Bulletin that the most important finding of this study is that there is a strong and robust effect of Internet usage on depression. Doctor Cotton went on to assert the need to encourage more Internet use among the elderly, believing that the positive correlation between less likelihood of depression and Internet use is due to factors like the ability to access resources and the ability to keep in touch with their peer group.

With ongoing developments in access technology, it would be interesting to know if such data would be the same or similar for persons who are blind or vision impaired.

To share how frequently you use the Internet, and if you feel it has a positive impact on your mood, E-mail me at twinaught@comcast.net.

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The following is an article written by Brian Coppola in response to Bob Branco’s column entitled “Massachusetts Agency Goes Too Far with Independence,” published in the November/December Consumer Vision.

Dear Bob,

I am very much in favor of independence. I think that the agencies that give government money for these caregiver/homemaker services should do a provider directory just like a program I know does, that being the DBCAN program and that stands for Deaf/Blind Community Access Network, which receives funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I use that service a lot, which makes me more independent. Though I had run into some problems with it, I had for eight years a top-notch provider; however, he had to leave due to family circumstances. His wife ended up getting a job with the federal government doing programming on a data base called Remedy. In December he will be moving down to Washington, DC, where his wife is. When he ended with me back in June, he had to move down to Framingham temporarily because he could not afford to continue live in Salisbury (which is not too far from me) anymore. Thus, after his leaving, I had to find a back-up provider, which was very hard to find. I thought I had one; however, after she agreed to do it, she reneged by playing all kinds of kids’ games such as either no return phone calls or E-mail messages, or when calling, calling abruptly like she was annoyed, or answering the phone when I would call at pre-arranged times, and saying that she had a cell phone, but, in her voicemail messages, said, she “would have one soon.” After forgetting her, I tried another one who lives in Billerica, but wanted to stay in that area. Finally, the job announcement for a new one to vacate this top-notch provider’s job was not made until September, when in fact the guy was leaving on June 30, 2012.  

In his honor I plan on having a bill filed, which will bear his name. The bill will call for consumer service providers, criminal record inquiry and sex-offender-registry checks by both the agency and the consumer. The bill is also going to call for these service workers to have to give fair notices to both the agency that they are hired out of and to the consumers that they work for. It will also be that these notices and any disciplinary actions against them will have to be on their records for 10 consecutive fiscal cycles, July 1-June 30 for each of the 10 fiscal cycles. Example, let’s say the law was passed September 30, 2014. That means starting from that point, the record keeping would run from fiscal year 2015-2025, and the Committee on Ways and Means would have access to these records by way of subpoena should any problems occur, such as insufficient notification of vacancy of the job, the job notices, and when job announcements are made by the agency that recruits the people (i.e., the announcements would have to be made to fill the vacancy within two weeks of the date of the filing of the notice of termination of employment). The job announcements would have to be distributed to the state’s welfare office and the state’s unemployment office to be put into their data bases and these agencies cannot charge the agency making the job announcement for placing the job announcement into the database.  

Upon hire, if a consumer needs to cancel an appointment it would require a 48-hour notice, except in the case of an emergency or illness, and the provider would have to cancel within 24 hours prior to arrival to perform the service – this means the day before services are rendered. The agency would have the discretion of whether to purchase a cell phone and a cell phone plan; otherwise it would be incumbent on the worker to incur such as a job-related expense, which would be allowed as a tax write-off when it is being used for the sole purpose of employment activity.  

The hiring agency would be required to have an open-door policy to discuss any problems with the workers. The workers would be required to undergo periodic drug testing, once every two months for illegal substances, by the hiring agency. Consumers would be allowed to check both their criminal history and their credit scores, with no charge or a minimal fee of $10.00. Otherwise, the agency must disclose this information to the consumers. The Joint Committee on Ways and Means would have access to the hiring agency’s policies and procedures every-other fiscal cycle, to gauge whether or not more funding is needed to pay for expenses such as gas and mileage within a 30-mile radius from where the service-provider lives to where the consumer lives or is being picked up from.  

There you have it. Those are my thoughts, because common sense and responsibility has died. And it sounds like it died in the mid ‘80s. Everyone started being out for themselves and money and living high off the horse even if they could not afford it.  

It is time for our elected officials who decide our budget to have some form of subpoena powers to see whether or not these agencies are living up to par in proportion to what they are being funded by state budgets, meaning your tax payer dollars.  

Brian

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            Coastline Elderly Nutrition News

            From the desk of Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN

            January 2013 

Holiday Eating 

Food is an important part of many celebrations, parties, and cultural traditions. The holiday season is often a difficult time to resist all of those holiday goodies: pumpkin pie, sugar cookies, eggnog, etc. Do not avoid holiday gatherings in an attempt to maintain your weight.  Consider these 10 tips for fully enjoying this season without gaining weight! 

1.  Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays.

2.  Do NOT plan to diet after the New Year.  Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays.

3.  Be physically active every day.

4.  Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties to avoid overeating.

5.  Plan ahead. Think about where you will be, and what foods are really special to you vs. those that you could probably do without.

6.  Make one plate of the foods you really want.  Enjoy & savor every bite.

7.  Reduce the fat in holiday recipes.

8.  Choose your beverages wisely. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. Limit your intake to 1-2 drinks per occasion.

9.  Enjoy good friends and family rather than have food as the focus.

10. Remember… Balance and Moderation.

Source:

http://www.snac.ucla.edu/pages/Resources/Handouts/HO.Holiday%20eating.ht 

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In Memory of My Father

            Anonymous

Dear Dad,

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much you’ve meant to me over the years, and I just want to share a few favorite memories with you. It’s the simple and ordinary things that have held the most meaning. You have so often been my eyes, my wheels, and my way to the world.

You took me back and forth to school all those years; I remember your stopping to do an errand and then getting back into the car with, “OK, we’re off like a herd of turtles,” then whistling one of your favorites, “Sukiyaki” by that Japanese singer. I remember our watching American Band Stand together and your asking me my take on which songs were bound to become hits. Something I always looked forward to was listening to the top 100 songs count down at New Years. Remember it was I who always provided you with the music and entertainment clues to the crossword puzzles.

I have images of many grilled cheese sandwiches, sparklers, and gingerbread I made myself that time which Nana never got to enjoy that Thanksgiving in 1973.

Over the years, you continued to transport me when I worked at the Faulkner and had my own apartment. Although I enjoyed my independence, I looked forward to those weekends and Holidays when you enabled me to spend time with the family.

A special memory was the day I married John. In the limo, we were sitting together and I was asking you to tell me about my bouquet.  You leaned over, and I wasn’t sure what was going on, but you were nonchalantly whisking away a few ants that had gotten among the flowers.  I’ll always remember dancing to “Daddy’s Little Girl” with you later at the reception.

You’ve been through at least fourteen different surgeries with me, not to mention my first six months of life in an incubator fighting for my life. So now I find myself rooting for you the way you once rooted for me. Back then you had just married Mom, and the two of you weren’t much more than kids yourselves. I want to thank you also for a great birthday weekend when one of my surgeries was coming up. I would also like to thank you for all you did to provide for we kids and for Ma – sometimes working two and three jobs. For one thing, this freed up Ma so she could make those delicious Sunday roast beef dinners!

You are always there for me, and even though Jack, Ma and Marsha are taking such great care of you, I wish I was able to do the same and give something back to someone who gave so much to me over my life time.  Including Susan, they are four of your best prayers, and I will always keep you in mind. I hope you know that you are, and always will be, in my heart. I love you.

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            What Thanksgiving Really Means

by Bob Branco

According to tradition, Thanksgiving is a day when we give thanks for all that we have, including family, friends, and other loved ones. It is a time when everyone gets together to share and bond with one another.  Though history has carefully defined when Thanksgiving should be on the calendar, I always felt that we should be thankful every day of the year, and not wait for the fourth Thursday of November to have a celebration about being thankful. Our world is full of problems, and when Thanksgiving is over, the problems are not over. Shouldn’t we express our thanks the next day instead of running around shopping malls like maniacs? Then there’s the day after, and the day after that. To those who practice desperate commercialism, Let’s stop scurrying and start relaxing with our loved ones more.

As time goes by, family traditions have evolved into fast-paced activities. Though we can’t always control these activities because of the times we live in, I feel that there must always be time devoted to a lengthy, quality family activity, such as a Sunday dinner, game night, or a couple of hours per evening with the children on a regular basis.  It’s important to share our feelings, our desires, our problems and our good times during these very important family opportunities.

With that said, I get angry when I hear about family members who get up from the dinner table on Thanksgiving to camp out in front of a store, because they need to buy that special item so badly. The store might not open for another six hours, but that doesn’t stop these ambitious people from braving the elements in order to bring home a cheap flat-screen television or a lovely smart phone. It was bad enough when stores and malls opened up at midnight for the Black Friday rush. Now they are opening during Thanksgiving evening just so people can shop till they drop. This is where commercialism is invading family time, and I, for one, don’t think it’s necessary. To prove my point even further, I heard about a man who left his 2-year-old toddler in a car because he had to buy a flat screen television, and he forgot about the child. Is this how commercialism is taking over our lives? Are we at the point where aggressive shopping takes priority over other important responsibilities? I know that most of you are aware of what your priorities are, but if Black Friday, along with its egotism, causes at least one person not to think, it’s time for me to be worried as a human being. Years ago, we were raised with what we had, and it was accepted. Material things were few and far between, so we simply played together, ate together, laughed together, cried together, and traveled together. We were very satisfied with those traditional arrangements, and when we received a gift, especially at Christmas, it was a big deal.  Today, most children not only expect, but anticipate gifts, and many parents enable these children.    

As a result of Black Friday, and the madness that goes with it, the neglectful father that I spoke of earlier will probably be charged with reckless endangerment of a child. Was it worth this man’s criminal charge just so he could have his flat screen television? The toddler was left sitting in a car by himself while his dad admired the wonderful bargain he stumbled on.  This is commercialism at its worst, not best, because it was at a young child’s expense. Also, is it worth being beaten up on Black Friday in order to buy your favorite gift? I have even heard reports of death resulting from the scavenger-like environment on that day.

I don’t need a smart phone, an i-pad or a television badly enough where I would risk serious injury to get it. I would rather devote my time, as much as I can, to the people I love, and to make sure they are happy, well cared for, and are taught the values they need to have in life. I wouldn’t want to teach my children how to go after what they want by fighting crowds and pushing and shoving people around. This sets a poor example, and sets the stage for a poor future.

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            Special Notices

A new book by Leonore H. Dvorkin is now available in print, e-book, and audiobook formats. The title is Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey.

 

Summary: This is the story of my 1998 breast cancer and mastectomy, with no reconstruction. The book deals primarily with the surprising emotional benefits I gained. The five appendices offer a wealth of practical information on risk factors for breast cancer, ways to help prevent it, and much more. The book is now in Spanish, too, in e-book and print formats.

Review quotes: "Beautiful, moving, informative, uplifting." "A terrific read – well-written, frank, and honest." "An unusual and important perspective on the experience of having breast cancer." 

The paperback is $9.95, the e-book is $3.99, and the audiobook is $14.95 (less with membership in Audible, Inc.). 

For more review quotes, text excerpts, buying links, a link to the Spanish edition, and more, please see http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/brcan/index.php    

E-mail: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com 

Home 303.985.2327 (best number) / Cell 303.885.1728

My website: www.leonoredvorkin.com (books, articles, language services, publishing help, and more)

David's website: www.dvorkin.com

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Hey Folks! Would you like to have lots of fun and meet other blind or visually impaired individuals from across the country and around the world? Do you like challenging games, old-time radio, adaptive cooking techniques, book clubs, chess instruction, product presentations, real-time technical assistance with your computer, and lots and lots more? If this is what you are looking for, join us at, Out-Of-Sight! We offer nearly 40 different Chat Rooms with something for everyone! This site is made up of the most friendly and courteous folks you are likely to meet on the net! The Out-Of-Sight community is made up of a set of free voice chat rooms that are extremely user friendly, and all you need is a microphone to get started!

To become a member and join our Out-Of-Sight free chat community go to the website, www.out-of-sight.net

If you have any questions or need assistance logging in, please contact, webmaster@out-of-sight.net

We hope to see you soon! "Catch the vision – it's Out of Sight!"

Lee Richards

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A Request From One of Our Readers

I live in Macedonia and was wondering if readers could help me get some particular magazines regularly. I find "Readers Digest," "Home Ladies Journal," "Newsweek" and "New York times" particularly interesting and informative and if you can send them to me regularly in any format except 4-track tape or large print, feel free to email me at:

adrijana.prokopenko@gmail.com

I would appreciate your help and these magazines would also help my students to practice their Braille skills and help them with their English.

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            Why?

by John Justice  

Love heals all wounds, or so I believe,

So when I’m alone again, why do I grieve?

Are we brought into life to be left on our own,

Is it part of God’s plan that we’re left all alone? 

Dogs don’t understand when we cry or we’re sad,

They watch us and ask why we’re feeling so bad;

They cuddle up close, lick our tears when we cry,

But not once has a dog ever stopped to ask why: 

Is something not right here, do we all have it wrong?

Have our dogs and our cats known the truth all along?

They live in the moment, each day is brand new,

Are they trying to teach a new lesson to you? 

Can we live in the now and make each second last?

No, for us there is hurt while the memories last;

Would our friends cause us sorrow, would they lead us to pain?

No, let light shine inside us, let love live again: 

We should treasure our dog friends as each passes by,

We should welcome each moment then struggle and try;

To prepare for that time when we must say goodbye,

Then make room for our new friends and never ask why:     

John and Linda Justice

with Guide Dogs Jake and Zachary

personal e-mail: john_justice@verizon.net

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            Coastline Elderly Nutrition News

            From the desk of Kimberly Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN

            February 2013 

Are You an Expert in Heart Health? 

February is American Heart Month so it’s always a great time to review the following about yourself: How well do you treat your heart? What do you know about cholesterol? Do you know what foods to limit to keep your heart healthy and strong? Let’s put your knowledge to the test! Be sure to participate in our contest, see details below!

1.  In additional to your total blood cholesterol number, you should know what your LDL (bad) cholesterol and HDL (good) cholesterol numbers are?

a.  True                                                                    b. False

2.  High Cholesterol has no symptoms, so the only way to know your cholesterol levels is by having them checked by your doctor:

a.  True                                                                    b. False

3.  Lifestyle habits, such as diet, exercise and smoking, will not affect your cholesterol levels.

a.  True                                                                    b. False

4.  Which of the following is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke?

a. High Blood Pressure                                         b. Smoking               

c. Family History                                                    d. All of the above

5.  Which fats raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease?

a. Saturated & Trans fats                  b. Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats

6.  Which food items typically contain high amounts of saturated fats?

a. Plant foods( ie: Nuts, Oils   b. Animal foods (i.e., Bacon, Whole Milk)

c. Palm & Coconut Oils                               d. Both B and C  

Answers: (1) True (2) True (3) False (4) d (5) a (6) d 

Source: American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org 

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            Sandy

by Karen Crowder

 You came to North American shores, in late October, your excuse "women are never on time."

 You had fun playing around with waves rain and winds in the Bahamas and the Caribbean

 Your mischief-making went too far you leveled huts and took lives in Haiti and Jamica

 You danced along Floridian shores stirring up still warm oceans wind and rain,

 You had your eye on a bigger prize the Northeast coastline,

 Your winds and rain growing as you went towards North Carolina's Cape Haterass and its outer Banks,

Wednesday October24, meteorologists began taking serious notice of you

With stronger winds and rain you announced  "I'm not just some puny little storm!”

With your voracious appetite you grabbed a cold Nor-easter 

Your immense size shocking everyone across the Mid-Atlantic and East coast

 In stunned horror we realized like an unwelcome guest you weren't going

 away

On Monday October 29 you unleashed your new toy. Your terrifying power of wind rain high tides astronomical devastating coastlines

Giant waves, and sand rushing in to streets, boulevards and boardwalks

Basements and subways flooded with dirty seawater; sidewalks peppered with sand

That night few lights shining in New York City, New Jersey and Southern Connecticut

Power in .Houses stores and offices stilled by your massive destruction

You slinked off to Canada and Northern New England on Tuesday,

Leaving us with tropical humidity and warm winds as a “Peace offering."

Your unwelcome snows blanketing the mountains of West Virginia North Carolina Pennsylvania and Tennessee,

 "good riddance” we said while we assessed the shocking destruction you

 wrought.

The beautiful shores of New Jersey had been changed forever,

So much would never be the same because of you,

TV, the history books and our memories will never forget you.

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The Consumer Vision Trivia Contest

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the November/December Consumer Vision. The cat that Archie and Edith owned before the television series “All in the Family” was named Arthur.

Congratulations to the following winners:

Linda Brown of Claremont, New Hampshire

Michelle Verrette of Fairhaven, Massachusetts

Barbara Duford of Beverly, Massachusetts

And now, here is the trivia question for the January/February Consumer Vision: What was the first animated television commercial? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.

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