THE CONSUMER VISION

June 2020

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

Phone: 508-994-4972

Email Address: bobbranco93@gmail.com

Website: www.consumervisionmagazine.com

Publisher: Bob Branco

Editing and Proofreading: David and Leonore Dvorkin

Formatting: David Dvorkin

TABLE OF CONTENTS

In this Table of Contents, three asterisks *** are used to separate the title of each article from its author. In the same way, three asterisks *** will be used to separate articles to make using your browser’s search feature easier. If any of you have screen readers that make searching difficult or undoable with asterisks, please let us know not only that, but also if three number signs ### would be easier. If you are a screen reader user for whom neither symbol works, please let us know what works best, and we’ll do our best to accommodate.

In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes from Karen Crowder, letters of the alphabet—A, B, C, etc.—are used to separate items.

1. HEALTH MATTERS: A Model for Hair Salon Reopening During the Pandemic ***

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

2. THE BLIND AND THE CORONAVIRUS *** by Bob Branco

3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Pass It On *** by James R. Campbell

4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: A Silent May in Indianapolis *** by Don Wardlow

5. WEATHER OR NOT: The 2020 Hurricane Season Predicted To Be Very Active *** by Steve Roberts

6. SAFETY MATTERS *** by Ray Irving

7. THE BLIND ON THE JOB

8. TURNING POINT: The Coronavirus and the Mental Health Crisis *** by Terri Winaught

9. TIDBITS FROM TERRI *** by Terri Winaught

10. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST

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1. HEALTH MATTERS: A Model for Hair Salon Reopening During the Pandemic

by Leonore H. Dvorkin

Copyright May 28, 2020

Email: leonore@leonoredvorkin.com

I welcome comments on any of my articles.

As U.S. deaths from COVID-19 pass 100,000, we’re all wondering when and how this will end. Will we ever have a vaccine? Barring that, will we have a safe and effective drug to treat the symptoms? Will the virus somehow die out on its own? The truth is, no one knows. We can only do our best to adjust to and cope with this exceedingly strange and disconcerting new normal.

My old normal has been sadly curtailed. For several decades, I’ve been self-employed as a tutor of foreign languages and as an instructor of small exercise classes, and for the last 11 years, as an editor of books. While I used to teach in a variety of other locations, I’ve been working entirely at home for many years. Now I’ve had to cancel the exercise classes, which I’ve taught since 1976, and I need to work with my language students by Skype. Not everyone likes that method. As a result, my income has dropped by several hundred dollars a month.

In addition, I’ve had to cancel the monthly meetings of our Spanish and German conversation groups. Those meetings ended in March. Right now, we have no idea when the meetings can resume, or even if all the members will survive, given that most of the members of my exercise classes and the language groups are in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80s.

For all too many people in this country and around the world, there are the life and death issues of employment or its lack, unemployment benefits or the lack of them, and how to obtain food. David and I are most fortunate that we have Social Security benefits, Medicare, and gainful self-employment, so we don’t have to worry about those all-important issues. We are sorry beyond words for those who do.

But apart from major issues like those, many people wonder what we should be doing about things like regular medical and dental appointments and even haircuts. The idea of putting off what were regular medical checkups makes us very nervous.

Some may consider worrying about haircuts beyond silly. People who don’t color their hair and wear it long can just let it grow. However, that does not describe most of us, and knowing that we look unkempt makes for considerable unease. While my husband always trims his own hair very short with a clipper, I usually go every six weeks for a professional trim of my quite short hair with bangs. But the salon I’ve gone to for 22 years, along with all the other salons and barber shops in Colorado, was ordered to close for several weeks.

I was more than a month overdue for a trim, feeling quite shaggy and really kind of depressed about it all, when my hairdresser, Renée, called and said that she is now taking three or four clients a day – vs. her usual seven or eight. She described in detail all the precautions the salon is taking. What she told me reassured me enough that I felt confident that I would be safe if I went for a haircut on May 18. And so I did.

Those precautions are so impressive that I describe them here as a model for safe reopening. I hope that hair salons and barber shops in your area are being equally careful.

I was told that only clients would be admitted; no one could accompany them. Also, no more than a total of three clients at a time would be admitted. That sounded quite reasonable, as the various hairstylists’ stations are spaced well apart. I was also told that everyone inside, including me, would have to wear a mask at all times. For the washing of my hair and the trimming around my ears, I could simply slip off the ear loops holding the mask and press the mask to my nose and mouth.

I was met outside the door by a young woman who took my temperature and then asked me questions about any symptoms, recent travel, etc. Once I was inside, some drastic changes were obvious. The waiting area chairs were turned so no one could use them. There were no more coffee and tea supplies. All decorations, like the artificial flowers and the jewelry that they normally sell, were gone. For supplies like shampoo and conditioner that one can purchase, there was a big sign affixed to a shelf. “STOP,” it said. “DO NOT TOUCH. ASK FOR ASSISTANCE.”

Inside the large room where the stylists work, there were indeed only three stylists cutting hair, and they were much more than six feet apart. The three fixed basins for washing hair are closer together, but there was a new wall of Plexiglass between each one. I was the only one getting my hair washed at the time. While Renée did not wear gloves to trim my hair, she said that she uses hand sanitizer and carefully sanitizes her entire station between each customer. She even told me that she is not allowed to remove her mask at any time while inside; to drink water or eat, she has to go outside.

While it was odd to get a haircut with a mask on, it worked, and I was so happy to see my neatened-up image in the mirror that I nearly cried. I felt like myself again. Renée seemed very happy to be back at work, and she was touchingly grateful for the considerably larger than usual tip I gave her. I felt it was the least I could do to help make up for the drastic loss of income she has suffered.

I left the salon feeling lighter, more attractive, a lot happier -- and SAFE. Hurray for the wisdom and good care of the owner and the employees of Reflections Salon and Spa. May we all stay healthy and meet each other again on the other side of all this, with our mutual smiles once again on full display.

About the Author

Leonore H. Dvorkin and her husband, the writer David Dvorkin, have been married since 1968 and have lived in Denver, Colorado, since 1971. They have one son and one grandson – which Leonore notes is the same as it was for her great-aunt Leonore Dunn Fertig, for whom she was named. Both also survived breast cancer.

Leonore’s four published books are listed below. The copyright dates given are for the most recent editions. All the books are available in e-book and print from Amazon and other online sellers.

1. Her one novel, set in the 1960s: Apart from You (C 2010)

2. Autobiography: Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey (C 2012)

3. Her breast cancer memoir in Spanish: Una nueva oportunidad a la vida: El camino de una sobreviviente de cáncer de seno (C 2012) Translated by Gloria H. López

4. A humorous fantasy play, with photos by the author: The Glass Family: A Play in One Act

(C 2012)

David and Leonore invite you to visit any of their websites for full information about their 33 published books, their dozens of essays, Leonore’s language services, their editing and self-publishing business, and more. Several of the regular contributors to this newsletter, including Bob Branco, are among their more than 50 editing clients.

David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/

Leonore Dvorkin: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/

DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/

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2. THE BLIND AND THE CORONAVIRUS

by Bob Branco

The other day, I was speaking to a blind person about how this pandemic affected her. As it turned out, she is one of those individuals who believe that all of our American rights and freedoms have been taken away from us because of the shutdown. It’s one thing if she believes that we lost our free America, but she also went on to say that her rights as a blind person are violated, and that she is being discriminated against because she cannot find a job right now.

Here is my very blunt reaction to those comments. First, nobody denies that blind people are discriminated against. It has happened to me at one time or another. We get it. However, given the problems that exist right now throughout this country and throughout the world, I don’t think this is the right time for a blind person to cry discrimination. While this woman may be struggling to find work, there are over 38 million sighted people out of work. The coronavirus crisis does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are sighted, blind, black, white, short, tall, French, Spanish, or of any other nationality. When most of these sighted workers return to their jobs once the pandemic is over, then blind people will once again have reason to claim discrimination if they are turned away from jobs for reasons we are all familiar with. Now is not the time.

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3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: Pass It On

by James R. Campbell

In January of this year, Aunt Sue and I went to the local Albertson’s supermarket to purchase items for a pot of homemade soup. In the fresh meat section, she saw a large number of briskets. “Why not buy a brisket and fix supper some night for Courtney and the kids?” she suggested. “That’s a good idea! We haven’t done that in a long time,” I responded gladly. The brisket we bought cost $25.00. It was big enough to feed the two of us and Courtney’s family for a few days. The meal was enjoyable, and everyone had a very good time.

Fast forward to May 18th. We went to the same store and looked at the meat. The prices are beyond belief. The brisket that cost $25.00 in January now sells for $57.00 and up. We were lucky to find a pork roast for a reasonable price.

And that’s the way it is all across the land. The reason: the pandemic. Some of the meat processing plants are closed. A number of people who work at these facilities have become ill, and the farmers can’t get their products to market. The result was predictable.

Grocery prices are at their highest level since 1974. In the past three months, family budgets have been stretched almost beyond their limit. At no other time since the Great Depression of the 1930s have we faced a crisis of this scope and magnitude.

This current generation isn’t used to these conditions. We, the Baby Boomers and beyond, are accustomed to enjoying anything we desire that we can buy. Fast food takeout and microwave meals have replaced the home-prepared fare that Aunt Sue grew up with in Bryan County on a southeast Oklahoma farm.

My grandma told stories about a community minder who would visit the homes during the rationing of the Second World War to inspect the dining tables of the residents. The laws concerning rationing were strictly enforced. Aunt Sue thought he was a snoop, but the residents took it in stride for the sake of our fighting men overseas. The situation isn’t helped by the fact that many people are now hoarding whatever they can get their hands on. This does nothing for those who engage in this activity, let alone others who need food and supplies.

Recently, a podcast appeared on the sgi.usa website. The focus was on the Buddhist take on the pandemic. One of the things that was mentioned in the podcast was how karma plays into the present circumstances. According to Buddhist theory, the karmic result of greed is famine. Those of us who buy food and waste it (and I’m just as guilty as anyone else), those who ignore the hungry and homeless, and the population in general are reaping the reward for our greediness.

Yet, to be fair, there have been acts of generosity at work during this time, as well. My friend in New York City gave the food she didn’t want to her workers for distribution to the homeless. Last Sunday, Aunt Sue and I received a box of groceries from a woman who gets Meals on Wheels. She didn’t like the items in the boxes, so she gave us the groceries. It’s our intention to share with the widow who lives next door to us and Courtney’s family.

Let me close with this advice: If someone gives you a grocery box, and some of the items aren’t to your liking, pass it on. Just because the food doesn’t suit your taste, that doesn’t mean that 10 other people won’t appreciate it. Only do it quietly, so as not to hurt the feelings of the person who gave it to you.

As always, thanks for your time.

With loving kindness,

James R. Campbell

Campbelljamesr1968@gmail.com

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4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: A Silent May in Indianapolis

by Don Wardlow

The city of Indianapolis usually begins to buzz at the beginning of May, leading up to The 500 on Memorial Day weekend. At its peak, when some 400,000 spectators went to the race every year, nobody had to call it The Indy 500. If you were in the club, The 500 was all you had to say. Twice, war put a stop to the race. This year, for the first time since the first 500 in 1911, the race had to be postponed for a cause other than rain or war. The cause is the coronavirus pandemic. As of now, the great race will take place on Sunday, August 23.

The first 500 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway came from the mind of Carl Fisher, who would become famous a decade later for making Miami Beach a destination. Charles Leerhsen’s brilliant book Blood and Smoke reads like a thriller, but it’s a true tale of the mayhem and mass confusion surrounding the first 500. Even before World War I, drivers from Europe were coming to test their mettle at Indianapolis. There were no races in 1917 or 1918, with American troops fighting in France. Two decades later, races were cancelled between 1942 and 1945 as America and her allies battled the Axis powers. Between the wars, the race became a sensation in Indiana and to some extent in other parts of the country. Nobody thought twice if they saw a license plate from Kansas or Minnesota in the parking lot at the speedway, and this was well before the Interstate highway system. World War One flying ace Eddie Rickenbacker, who had finished 11th in the first 500, owned the track from 1927 until 1941. He sold it to Tony Hulman and his family, who resurrected the mostly abandoned speedway once World War Two was over. The family owned it until Roger Penske bought it last November.

Starting in 1946, the next five decades were the glory years at the speedway. As early as 1912, AAA had sanctioned the races. That’s the same AAA people call for help if their cars break down. AAA pulled out after legendary driver Bill Vukovich was killed in the 500 on Memorial Day 1955. From then until the race in 1995, the US Auto Club (USAC) was the sanctioning body. A new group, Championship Auto Racing Team (CART), rose up to challenge USAC for reasons that are hazy a quarter of a century after the fact. The resulting rift kept most of the best drivers away from Indianapolis, starting in 1996. They began to return in 2005, the year Danica Patrick became the most successful woman ever to race in the 500.

Since 1946, the race has always been run. It might be held back for a day because of rain. In 1973, pouring rain and two horrific crashes caused the already delayed race to be shortened to just over 330 miles. The race was moved from Memorial Day itself to the fourth Sunday in May starting in 1974. In 1986, it rained that day, and the race wasn’t run until the following Saturday.

This year, trouble hit the sports world in March. Baseball, the sport no disease or war could stop, folded its tent before the pandemic on March 12. The newer sports followed baseball’s lead. An eerie quiet has hung over sports venues since, and a pall has hung over the city of Indianapolis. Some who regret the delayed race have taken comfort watching past races on YouTube. The day the 500 was scheduled, ESPN2 showed a mix of Monaco Grand Prix and 500 races, as both have been run on the same day for some years. But nothing can make up for the lost income and excitement. Instead of a month-long festival, Indianapolis will barely get 11 days this year. The first practice will be held August 12, with the race taking place on the 23rd. Nothing has been decided about whether fans will be allowed in. Since the track has no lights, the race has to be run in daylight, and August heat in the Midwest is something else compared to hot weather near the water where you might get a breeze. Simon Pagenaud, last year’s winner, has to wait another couple of months to see if he’ll be the first champ to defend his title. Helio Castroneves did it in 2001 and 2002. It hasn’t happened since.

Then there’s the story of Russ Van Treese, age 97. He was taken to his first 500 as an infant in 1923. He’s been to every race since, 92 more in all, leaving out 1942-45. He remembers his favorite finishes—Wilbur Shaw winning in 1937 and Al Unser Jr. winning on a frigid May Sunday in 1992. He saw Bill Vukovich, a favorite driver of his, lose his life in 1955. Russ’s wife stopped going after seeing a 16-car crash early in the 1966 race. Van Treese fell a few weeks ago, a fall that would have broken his streak. He told the Indianapolis Star that waiting three months felt like forever, but if he’s alive, he will be at the next 500. Indianapolis and the racing world are with him.

 

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5. WEATHER OR NOT: The 2020 Hurricane Season Predicted To Be Very Active

by Steve Roberts

Every forecast group that does seasonal hurricane prediction is calling for an active to very active hurricane season. There are several factors that lead weather forecasters to believe that we are in for trouble from the tropical Atlantic.

What factors are at work that will make this season more active?

Sea surface temperatures are way above normal. The warmer the water, the stronger a hurricane that forms out over those waters will be. Warm water enables a hurricane to be more severe than if the water temperatures are average to below average. Historically speaking, the years that the Atlantic is at its warmest are also years in which Atlantic hurricane activity is at its greatest.

There is a lot of rising air motion out over the tropical Atlantic. Rising air motion is conducive to convective activity that is the life blood of hurricanes.

There is a lot of convective activity out over Africa. This convection will enable the tropical waves that come off the West Coast of Africa to be more robust. These stronger waves will go on to be better seeding systems for stronger hurricanes.

There are also indications that the winds blowing across the Atlantic will be of uniform speed and direction with height in the atmosphere. This is highly conducive to the development of tropical storms and hurricanes out in the Atlantic.

Climate forecasters see no signs of El Niño during the next six months’ time. El Niño is the periodic warming of the eastern and central equatorial Pacific. During these warm phase events, there are strong westerly winds that blow from the eastern Pacific out into the Caribbean Sea. These winds cause wind shear that cuts the tops off of the thunderstorms that go on to develop into tropical storms and hurricanes.

There is a possible La Niña on the way. Should this cold phase take place, there could be even more hurricanes than are currently being called for. The official forecast from NOAA calls for 13 to 19 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes, and three to six major hurricanes.

Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford says that the door is still open for a hyperactive hurricane season. If a La Niña develops in the Pacific, then this season could be more active than we currently predict.

Steven P. Roberts is the author of The Whys and Whats of Weather, C 2014.

Website with full details of this book and his novel The Great Winter Hurricane:

https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenroberts/

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6. SAFETY MATTERS

by Ray Irving

I attended a coronavirus support group last Thursday, as I do each week. The group is hosted by Bob Branco. We talk about how the virus has made things difficult for the blind to follow social distancing regulations. Someone in the group referred to it as a blindemic. This got me thinking about how the pandemic has affected so many groups. We, the blind, are not the only victims.

So many lives have been turned upside down because this virus is so contagious. All sports spectatorships have been canceled; no doubt they will take a huge cut in pay. Musicians will be out of a job. All other forms of entertainment will basically be shut down.

The hardest hit, in my opinion, are the kids who are still in school, particularly the class of 2020. Can you imagine missing out on your senior prom or having a picture taken of you walking across a stage to pick up your diploma while wearing a mask?

Couples who live in separate states have to wait until the borders re-open before they can get together again.

So you see, we are all in the same boat, and we will get through this together. We just need to think of creative ways to stay safe! After all, isn’t that what all these safe distance rules are about?

Should, we the blind community, ease up on social distancing? Would that keep us safe? It’s no secret that keeping a safe distance can become challenging for the blind, with physical contact playing such a large part of everyday life. Most folks can’t reach six feet in front of them, never mind touch someone six feet away. And wearing a mask can be very disorienting, blocking out facial vision.

The experts say that wearing a mask and gloves, washing your hands frequently, and keeping a safe distance from others will cut down on the spread of COVID-19. Although wearing a mask can be very uncomfortable, it is said that COVID-19 is spread by liquid droplets, and it’s hard to speak without spraying those droplets. One sneeze or cough can contain at least 3,000 droplets of COVID-19, which can land on others around you. A mask will not prevent you from catching the virus; it can only cut down the spread. This is vital because you can be carrying the virus for up to 14 days before feeling sick.

Many states are reopening their economies, but until a vaccine is found, I don’t think safe distancing will go away. We can complain about how inconvenienced we are or think of creative ways to get around it. For example, just today, I did an experiment. I went food shopping. I called my Price Rite store and asked to speak to the manager. I told him that I was blind and would need to do some shopping. I also told him that, for me, wearing a mask was a little disorienting, and I was concerned about touching or bumping into stuff in the store. I also asked him if I could e-mail him my shopping list and come by with a friend to pick up what I needed. He was very accommodating and told me that he would have the items on my list ready in about an hour. When that time had passed, I went to the store and paid. We filled the car with six bags of food. This was just one store, but I believe that if we communicate our needs, more businesses will provide accommodations. We just have to be specific about what we want and what time we will arrive.

Soon travel restrictions will be lifted, and many of us will be traveling by train, bus, or plane. Some of us will be traveling independently and will need assistance. Keep in mind that we are moving into a new normal. The virus is still with us, and until it is stopped, a uniform is required. This uniform consists of a mask and gloves. The mask cuts down on the spread of your germs, and the gloves help keep you from touching someone or something that may be contaminated. After all, you wouldn’t want to grab onto an elbow that has just been sneezed into 10 minutes before.

Whether you use a sighted guide, a white cane, or just follow someone’s voice, what works for one person may not work for another. We must use our own discretion as to how we get around. However we do that, the appropriate uniform is needed, and we must all look the part. In these times, going outside without mask or gloves can make other people see you as not safe to help. Until a vaccine is found or this virus is extinguished, we all should look like we care about ourselves and others around us. Safety really does matter.

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7. THE BLIND ON THE JOB

In this feature, you will be reading about success stories of blind people in the work force. While most of us understand that blind people can compete on equal terms with the sighted at work, this feature always serves as a public awareness for sighted individuals who may not understand this concept.

A. Hello, Robert,

My name is Larry Crismond. I have RP. I am legally blind. I’m not able to use a computer with magnification. I use a screen reader called JAWS. I have worked in the insurance industry for over 10 years. I was also hired at AAA, but things did not work out with accessibility. I currently work at the VA hospital in Long Beach as an operator. The Lighthouse for the Blind has a program where they pair blind people and sight-impaired people with a lead operator who is sighted. I enjoyed working in the insurance industry.

B. Hi, Bob,

I have been in the security field for nearly 40 years and love every minute of it, especially now. Of course, there are frustrations and irritations, but you have to learn to get over those. I did when I went blind in 2003. Since then I have continued to write, blog, teach, research, and be interviewed about my specialty, which is workplace and school violence prevention.

I get up early, usually at 2 a.m., and work. That’s when my creative juices are best and I think logically and straightforwardly.

What I do now, instead of working in the field, is consult with organizations that wish to prevent any incident of violence in their facility. I have finally had the time to sit and write nearly full time. I have published four books since 2014, three on security issues and one on customer service. I also write a twice–weekly blog on Facebook and consult with organizations and individuals to keep them safe.

My mission on this blue marble and ball of mud is to protect lives in any way I can. Therefore, despite not having found work in security, I continue on my own to keep people safe.

Robert D. Sollars

Book-related website:  https://www.dldbooks.com/robertdsollars/

My latest book is Murder at Work: A Practical Guide for Prevention

C. Hi, Bob,

I am a certified recruiting and sourcing agent from Indiana. A sourcer is somebody who turns people into candidates. The recruiter then turns candidates into employees. I worked for a year and a half as a self-employed independent contractor and then was just recently hired by the company as an employee.

Description of Position

A sourcer turns people into candidates through reading job descriptions and picking out keywords that are unique to the position. Most times, these keywords are jargon used in a particular industry. However, sometimes they are just everyday, usual words that get results. Armed with a list of words, a sourcer will then do a search on Google, arranging the words in a specific order and with specific commands to bring up people. The next stage is to parse through the names and pick the lucky ones. Get their contact info through crawlers and put them into a Google sheet or spreadsheet program. If need be, a sourcer can also be a recruiter. This stems from working with multiple sourcers and having to pull duty as a recruiter while others source.

Usually, the talent industry works in pods and in teams, throwing out ideas for search strings and different ways of bringing candidates to the forefront.

I love what I do. If you need anything else, please reach out.

May the source be with you,

Aaron Linson

Sourcer

D. Hi, Bob,

My job is doing Meals on Wheels enrollments for the Division of Senior Services in my county. Using an Excel spreadsheet on the computer, I fill out the required information and send it to work colleagues, who continue the process of putting clients in the Meals on Wheels program. It’s particularly busy right now on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

E. Hello, Bob,

My name is Curtis Jackson, and I have been totally blind since birth. I work as a cashier/stocker at a base supply center in Fort Riley, Kansas. I also just started a voiceover company called Jacksons Production LLC. I’m currently attending broadcasting school. The website for my company is www.djcurveball.com. I also do radio shows for a couple of radio stations. Those stations are blindcaferadio and g-spin radio.

F. Hello, Bob,

From October 28th through December 19, 2019, I worked at Images of Glory, Inc. as a receptionist assistant. Images of Glory, Inc. is a non-profit organization in Orlando, Florida, that provides services to disadvantaged youth who have been victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking. My primary duty was to answer phone calls. My secondary duty was to greet the customers who entered our office building. I also had the opportunity to answer any questions that clients asked.

I utilized both JAWS and the Vonage phone system to perform my job duties. The Florida Division of Blind Services purchased a laptop computer with a full version of JAWS.

Sincerely,

Roanna Bacchus

***

8. TURNING POINT: The Coronavirus and the Mental Health Crisis

Summarized by Terri Winaught and taken from the May 12, 2020 issue of the New York Times’ opinion piece written by Jennifer Finney Boylan.

Since March, the local and national news has been inundated by statistics and reports that tell us not only how many people tested positive for COVID-19 but also how many people died each day. What hasn’t been reported, however, is a less visible crisis: the impact the current health challenge has had on people’s mental health. According to data Jennifer Finney Boylan shared, more than half of Americans say that the coronavirus is impacting their mental health. Here’s a more specific example that shows the contrast between this time last year and the here and now: A crisis line with services specifically geared to disasters reported receiving 20,000 text messages this April compared to 1,799 last April.

In Jennifer’s article, we also read about the heartbreaking struggle of a family living in Maine with a member diagnosed with anxiety. By May 1, after seven weeks of isolation, this individual could stand the current situation no longer. Completely distraught and hyperventilating, this loved one said that they would rather not be here. (Note: “They” is being used in this sentence because the New York Times article failed to reveal the person’s gender.)

After a call to Maine’s state crisis line, an evaluation four hours later, and discussion among family members, the decision was made that the family member in crisis would spend a few days at a crisis center—a residential facility halfway between home and a full-blown hospital stay. However, no beds were available at the center due to COVID-19. After further reflection and discussion, it was decided that the family member would stay at home. The individual did stay home. A medication change was made. Sharp items and extra medication were moved to where the vulnerable person couldn’t access them. There was no further talk of suicide.

What makes this a turning point article, you may ask? For one thing, to the best of my knowledge, had this happened during my childhood, there would have been no crisis centers to provide respite care. Instead, a person with mental health issues who was suffering with debilitating symptoms would either remain home or go into a hospital. In the same way, I don’t remember crisis lines existing during my childhood and adolescence. In fact, even the 911 system many of us take for granted wasn’t implemented until 1968.

As a person with lived mental health experience, I know that debilitating anxiety is no fun, but how refreshing that there are now alternatives to toughing it out at home with family members, who may or may not understand, or being admitted to a hospital. That there are now crisis lines, evaluations without going to an emergency room to be assessed, and crisis centers if one can’t stay at home are positive changes that lead straight to self-advocacy and recovery-oriented treatment.

Here’s hoping that you are all weathering the current situation as well as any of us can when variables and the expectations around them are always changing.

If you have any comments or want to share a Turning Point in a difficult situation affecting your mental health, feel free to write to: Terri Winaught: 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228 (braille only), or email: twinaught@pittsburghmercy.org. (I currently have no home computer.)

Terri Winaught

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9. TIDBITS FROM TERRI

by Terri Winaught

Hello, Consumer Vision Readers.

Let me start by apologizing for such a long hiatus. I no longer have a home computer because it got fried in a storm that resulted in a power outage. I also found that there was so much in the news about which I wanted to write that I didn’t know where to start.

I’m going to start with a topic that I am tired of hearing about, talking about, and listening to. You guessed it: That topic is the coronavirus.

A key reason I am so tired of hearing and talking about the virus is that the network news services seem to focus exclusively on the negative.

Given that our current health crisis is a pandemic and not an epidemic, I readily appreciate our need to be as updated and informed as possible. What has often drained me emotionally, though, is hearing only about new outbreaks and deaths. Again, there is nothing wrong with informational updates. I just wish that the media, whether liberal or conservative, would also tell about the many things we have done right. Examples of this: More people have recovered than have died, and people have exhibited many acts of kindness. Both individuals and businesses, for example, have stepped up to help those in need through donations and drives.

If any of you have been impacted by COVID-19 or have loved ones who have been, my heart definitely goes out to you.

With Memorial Day being in a few days after I am writing this, I hope all of you will be blessed with a wonderful holiday weekend. In addition to enjoying standard picnic fare and the fellowship that goes along with it, I also suggest taking time to pray for members of the military who gave their lives in various wars. May their souls rest in peace, and may their loved ones left behind be comforted.

To contact me, feel free to email me at: twinaught@pittsburghmercy.org, or phone (412) 595-6187, cell. If your preferred method of contact is a letter, my address is: 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228 (braille only).

Thanks so much for reading with me, and take good care.

Terri Winaught

***

10. RECIPE COLUMN

by Karen Crowder

When June arrives, days are longer and warmer. At night, there are the sounds of chirping birds and crickets. Summer arrives on Sunday, June 21. June is a time for cookouts and trips to beaches and parks. Summer roses bloom, as do strawberries, rhubarb, chives, lavender, and spearmint.

There are two special days: Flag Day is Monday, June 14, and Father’s day is Sunday, June 21.

June is a month for graduations and weddings. However, because of the pandemic, graduations have gone virtual and many weddings have been postponed. Some in-person graduations may take place in the fall.

This recipe column is shortened due to technical problems. There are three recipes this month.

Contents:

Sweet Egg Salad

Creamed Asparagus and Mushrooms with Toast

South Shore Chocolate Chip Squares

A. Sweet Egg Salad

Everyone likes egg salad sandwiches, especially during the spring and summer months. Sweet relish makes it extra delicious.

Ingredients:

Six large eggs

Three pearl onions

Handfuls of dried chives

Dashes of curry powder and optional dried dill weed

Salt

4-6 tablespoons mayonnaise

One spoonful of sweet relish. It can be from a supermarket or a garden.

Two hamburger rolls

Optional butter.

Directions:

1. Fill a large lock-lid saucepan half full of water. Bring eggs to room temperature in a small glass bowl. This will take five minutes. After 15 minutes, put eggs in nearly boiling water.

2. While eggs are cooking, chop two or three sweet onions into a small mixing bowl. Add chives, curry powder, salt, and optional dill weed.

3. Drain water into the sink. Fill the saucepan with cold water. After 15 minutes, drain the water.

4. Shell the eggs and rinse them to be sure all shell pieces are gone. Cut eggs into small pieces with a paring knife over the mixing bowl. Combine them with the onions and spices. Add mayonnaise and sweet relish. Blend with other ingredients with a large spoon.

5. Transfer egg salad to an airtight container. Refrigerate egg salad until serving time.

6. Toast hamburger rolls, dotting them with butter.  

Egg salad has always been a treat, not only for me, but also for my Claire Mary and the late Marian Cote. The ingredients for the relish I used often came from my stepdaughter’s garden in Maine.

B. Creamed Asparagus and Mushrooms with Toast

Ingredients:

Six tips of asparagus

Six whole mushrooms

One-half stick butter

Dash of olive oil

Four tablespoons flour

A handful of chives

Dash of salt

One and three-fourths cup milk

One-fourth cup light cream

Three slices buttered toast.

Directions

1. In a large four-quart saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir for a minute with a wire whisk.

2. Add milk and cream. Stir until lumps disappear. Stir infrequently for 30 minutes.

3.While the cream sauce is cooking, sauté vegetables in a one-quart saucepan with two tablespoons of butter and a dash of olive oil for fifteen minutes.

4. Add vegetables to the cream sauce. Toast Italian wheat or white bread in a toaster oven. Break up toast into crocks or large bowls. Measure out cream sauce with vegetables over it and enjoy.

Accompany it with a tossed salad on a cool late spring night. Everyone will enjoy it.

C. South Shore Chocolate Chip Squares

I have made this recipe for Bob’s summer picnics. Everyone liked them.

Ingredients:

21 whole honey graham crackers

One can condensed milk 

One stick butter or Imperial margarine

18 ounces Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate morsels.

Directions:

1. In a large mixing bowl, break up graham crackers. Put them in a Ziploc bag and crush them into crumbs. Melt butter or margarine in the microwave in a crock or large bowl. This will take 45 seconds.

2. Combine cracker crumbs, condensed milk, and cooled butter to the large mixing bowl. Stir the batter with a wooden spoon for two minutes. Add chocolate chips and stir again for two minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a foil-lined or parchment-lined 7” x 11” Pyrex pan  with butter.

4. With a one-cup measure, scoop brownie batter into the pan. With a sandwich knife or spatula, smooth brownie batter over entire pan. Bake brownies for 40 minutes.

5.  Remove brownies from the oven and cool pan on the counter for an hour. Turn pan over, inverting brownies onto a dinner plate. Cover plate with foil. Cover brownies with plastic wrap. Refrigerate uncut brownies overnight.

6. Cut them up the next day with a serrated knife.

Everyone will enjoy these delicious brownies. They are the right dessert at summer cookouts and picnics.

I hope all Consumer Vision listeners and readers will enjoy these recipes.

Let us pray for a patient, kinder, and more peaceful America.

***

11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST

The Osmonds were the musical group who had a hit song called “Crazy Horses.” Congratulations to the following winners:

Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts

Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois

Nancy Hays of Oakville, Connecticut

Brian Sackrider of Port Huron, Michigan

And now, here is your question for the June Consumer Vision. On the television series “Leave it to Beaver,” what was Clarence’s nickname? If you know the answer, please email bobbranco93@gmail.com or call 508-994-4972.

Copyright © Consumer Vision Magazine, All rights reserved.

www.consumervisionmagazine.com

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