THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editor: Terri Winaught
Proofreader and Secondary Editor: Leonore Dvorkin
Formatter: 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 me 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 me know what works best, and I will do my best to accommodate.
In columns like Special Notices, Readers’ Forum, and Recipes, I will use letters of the alphabet, A, B, C, etc., to separate items.
Hello, Consumer Vision readers.
For a change, I am actually getting September’s letter written and sent earlier than usual, and that’s a good thing. A lot of what’s going on in the news isn’t so great, however, so there is much to talk about.
Sadly, the Carr Fire and the Holy Fire continue to rage in California, exacerbated by dry conditions and hot winds. Needless to say, the length of time these fires have been raging has taken its toll on extremely exhausted firefighters. Unfortunately, these blazes have also continued to destroy property and take lives. Here’s hoping that these infernos will soon be extinguished, so that firefighters and residents alike can get a richly deserved break.
Since I have a counseling background, I wish I could explain the psychological and sociological reasons for arson, the Holy Fire having been set, but those dynamics go well beyond my understanding. My prayers and compassion go out, though, to those whose lives have been destroyed and especially to persons whose loved ones have died. If any of you live in Redding, California or near any of that state’s communities affected by the worst summer for fires in California’s history, I’d like to hear from you. Specifically, I’d like to know how you are coping with such a monumental crisis, especially if you are someone who is blind or visually impaired. If any of you affected by California’s wildfires are deaf/blind, I would think coping would be even more difficult, so I would especially like to hear from you. My contact info is at the end of this letter.
Moving on to yet another newsworthy item: This past weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the terrible tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which marchers were injured and a 32-year-old woman was killed when a car was driven into the crowd. I am happy to report that there was no such unnecessary and heartbreaking violence in Charlottesville or in Washington, D.C., where a rally was held on Sunday, August 12. While some would argue that the best strategy is to ignore hate groups like the Klan, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, I say, “Sometimes that works best because it is the right strategy in some situations,” but I also say that usually, the vitriol that hate groups spew like venom from a snake cannot and must not be ignored. In the current volatile climate, in which there seems to be more racial division than that which preceded the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, we need to do more than not be racists; we need to be anti-racist. As such, we need to engage in honest dialog that might sometimes be uncomfortable.
Finally, for those of you who have or care for children, see if your community has any backpack giveaways. For example, in Moon Township, a suburb of Pittsburgh, there was a backpack giveaway the weekend of August 11 for military families. Here’s hoping that many of you have or care for children who will be able to benefit from a back-to-school giveaway.
To conclude, I want to thank Bob Branco, publisher; Leonore Dvorkin, secondary editor and proofreader (as well as a regular contributor); David Dvorkin, formatter; Janet Marcley, former editor; former proofreaders; our talented writers; and most of all, you, our dedicated readers, without whom this magazine couldn’t have thrived as it has.
To give me your feedback and anything you want to share, contact me as follows:
Phone or text 412-595-6187
Or send braille letters only to 915 Penn Ave., Apt. 307, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.
Thanks for reading with me, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Consumer Vision Editor
by Leonore Dvorkin
Compiled August 26, 2018
Sources: EurekAlert 8/20/18 and the American Chemical Society
This is very exciting news for at least a portion of the blind community. Scientists have developed and tested the world’s first ultrathin artificial retina that could vastly improve implantable visualization technology for the blind. It could someday restore sight to the millions of people with retinal diseases. This could help those who have lost their vision due to macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, or retinitis pigmentosa (RP). This new, ultra-thin device conforms to the size and shape of a natural retina.
The above is merely a very brief overview. The full article can be found here:
Sources: EurekAlert 8/22/18 and the University of California San Francisco
E–cigarettes, which are unfortunately increasingly popular among the young, are far from benign. New analysis shows that they nearly double the odds of a heart attack, and there is a five–fold risk for those who use both cigarettes and e–cigarettes daily. Most adults who use e–cigarettes also continue to smoke regular cigarettes. While e–cigarettes deliver lower levels of carcinogens than regular cigarettes, they deliver ultrafine particles and other toxins linked to increased cardiovascular and non–cancer lung disease risk. However, there is good news if you quit. The risk of heart attack starts to drop immediately after you stop smoking cigarettes. These new results suggest that the same is true for e–cigarettes.
The full article is here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/uoc--roh082118.php
Sources: EurekAlert 8/20/18 and the American Chemical Society
This surprising report concerns how only about three–quarters of a cup of strawberries per day can significantly improve the unpleasant symptoms of IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In 2015, 3 million adults in the U.S. reported being diagnosed with IBD. Symptoms can include severe diarrhea and fatigue. The risk of IBD is increased with a diet high in sugar and fat but low in fiber, as well a sedentary lifestyle. Such things as purified strawberry compounds and extracts are available, but people are much more likely to eat whole strawberries. The article advises you to consult with your doctor before changing your diet, and some people are allergic to strawberries. Elsewhere, I have read that strawberries are a type of fruit likely to be contaminated with pesticides, so rinse them well before eating them, or buy organic ones if you can.
The full article is here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/acs-sch071218.php
Sources: EurekAlert 8/16/18 and The Lancet
Introduction: This study was conducted with 15,428 adult participants from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds from four U.S. communities: in North Carolina, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Maryland. People with extremely low or high daily calorie intake were excluded from the study.
Reports with titles similar to this one have been all over the news, lately. They are helping to counteract the popularity of the so–called keto diet, which emphasizes a very low consumption of carbohydrates and a high consumption of mainly animal protein, fat, and low–carb vegetables. The upshot of this article is that while such high–protein diets can help with weight loss, low–carb diets that emphasize animal proteins may be associated with shorter overall lifespan and should be discouraged. Animal protein sources include beef, lamb, pork, chicken, and cheese. Eating more plant–based proteins is associated with lower mortality. Those foods include certain vegetables, legumes, and nuts. A moderate daily intake of carbohydrates, having them make up about 50% of your total calories, is associated with lower mortality risk.
The full article is here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/tl-tlp081518.php
Sources: EurekAlert 8/15/18 and the American Journal of Physiology
This was something of a surprise to me, as some people recommend exercising in the morning with little or no food in the stomach. This study, however, found that eating a simple pre–exercise breakfast of oatmeal and milk increased both the rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise and the rate at which the body digested and metabolized food after exercise. The carbohydrate being burned during the morning exercise does not come only from the breakfast that was just eaten, but also from carbohydrate stored in the muscles as glycogen. This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there is a more rapid clearance of blood sugar after lunch when breakfast was eaten before morning exercise.
The full article is here: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-08/uob-ebb081418.php
I’ll have more summaries of articles from this informative issue next month: on protein powders, brain–training games, and more.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin has lived in Denver, Colorado since 1971. She is self–employed, working at home as a book editor, language tutor, and exercise class instructor. She has a strong and abiding interest in health, fitness, and nutrition. In 1977, she won a state–wide award from the YWCA for her exercise program and teaching. She is also the author of four published books, both fiction and non–fiction, as well as numerous published articles. Since 2009, she and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, have been running DLD Books Editing and Self–Publishing Services. So far, they have produced close to 70 books by other authors; many more books will be published soon. Most of their clients are blind or visually impaired.
Leonore invites you to visit the following two websites.
Her personal website: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self–Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
Address any comments to her at: email@example.com
by Dennis R. Sumlin
Coach Dennis R Sumlin
The Core Confidence Life
The video for the following article can be seen at https://coreconfidencelife.com/whats-the-difference-between-reacting-and-responding/
When somebody makes you angry, do you react or do you respond? When something doesn’t go your way, do you react or do you respond? When you feel like slacking off, do you react or do you respond?
Reaction is in the moment. It can be impulsive, without forethought. One of the things I do not like about reacting is that it’s under the control of somebody or something else. For example, consider an empty cup. It has no resistance to any force, so if you hit it, it will fall over. Don’t be an empty cup!
How do you move from reacting to responding?
Responding is something that is more internal, deliberate, and intentional. So when somebody makes you angry, you do not really want to react, say things you may regret later, and so on. Wouldn’t it be good to respond calmly, with a more thought-out reply? If you are slacking off one day, you can respond by giving yourself different messages instead of just going with the slack flow.
Mindfulness, put simply, is being aware of what you are feeling in every moment, staying in touch with your thoughts and emotions. You have the ability to put your focus on anything you want, right now. There are tons of stimuli both in and around you in every moment, and you get to decide which stimulus gets your attention.
Just as an exercise, focus on one stimulus at a time. Focus on how your shirt feels on your body, then shift your attention to how your shoes feel on your feet. You can then shift to any noise that you may hear around you. Notice how you can choose to shift what stimuli you are paying attention to while shutting off your awareness of other sources.
Through the practice of mindfulness, we can keep track of how we are feeling. We can keep track of all the energy moving in and around us. This way, we are able to interrupt any impulsive or negative feelings and stop them from taking control. While anger is a natural feeling, if you are mindful/aware in that first moment of anger, take a second to breathe. You will be better able to respond in a constructive, productive way.
When you master mindfulness and the art of responding, you are better able to handle some ups and downs, which will result in more self-confidence, core self-confidence.
If you want to know more about channeling your personal power, aligning with your principles, and developing a productive mindset, I’ve got your back. WWW.CoreConfidenceLife.COM
by Stephen Théberge
A major software company announced a brilliant new invention today. It is called the DreamView 3000. It is a one-inch wide nylon headband that wraps around the forehead and is connected with a clip at the back. The unit contains an on/off switch, a record start/stop button, and a small USB connector.
The user wraps the unit around the head before bed. The narrow nylon band is infused with thousands of electrodes. The person turns on the unit and pushes the record button. It can store up to 24 hours of brain wave data. In the morning, the subject can turn off the unit and put the data on the computer.
The magic involves the included USB connector. You can download the data onto your PC. The software only saves brain wave data that is associated with REM cycles. Each cycle is date and time stamped. The DreamView engine then converts these files into a visual/audio file that can be viewed on most movie-watching or media software. Options for playback include audio description for the blind and closed-captioning for the deaf.
What is even more revolutionary is that the software has a feature for everyone. Any touch sensations, scents, smells, sensations of heat and cold, and even emotions of the dreamer can be audio described or put into closed-captioning.
The product will retail for $1,234.56 and be released in January 2019. Many psychology experts are thrilled. It will help in dream analysis. Even dreams that have been forgotten by someone can now be unveiled.
I should have put this hoax in the April issue. Did any of you fall for it? In any case, I thought this bit of sci-fi was appropriate, as the sequel to my first science fiction book has just been released, and there is a fair amount about dreams in it. The title is The MetSche Maelstrom.
Follow me on twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog: http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out the Web page for my coming of age science fiction novel, The MetSche Message, and its new sequel, The MetSche Maelstrom: http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my YouTube channel for many blindness-related issues and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
by James R. Campbell
One Wednesday evening in 2012, my friend and I saw a local news story about a woman and her daughter who had recently lost their apartment due to the oil boom that was in progress at that time. The women, who lived in Midland, Texas, were forced to live in their van because they had no other place to go. “It’s very sad. I never thought it would come to this,” the younger of the two told the journalist who was covering the story for NewsCenter 7, the local CBS affiliate in Odessa.
My friend and I were saddened to hear this story, but were soon debating about it.
“How does this happen?” I asked in protest.
“It’s fair market value! It’s what the current market will withstand!” was his reply.
“Is it fair for those women in Midland to live out of a van because they lost their apartment thanks to the price of a barrel of oil?” I snapped back, incensed at his remark.
“Buddy, you will never understand business. It’s Economics 101.”
“Then you need to call my high school economics teacher and tell him that it’s no wonder I almost failed his class. You’re right: I don’t get it,” I fumed.
According to the theory of fair market value, landlords who own property will charge a higher price for rent if they believe that current economic conditions will withstand the increase. That is, the price of rent increases due to the law of supply and demand. When people migrate into an area in search of work, the available apartments and homes are up for grabs. Since the oil business fluctuates according to the price of oil as dictated by the world market, this affects everything else. If the price is low, as it has been for the past few years, the demand is not as great. When the demand is low, work in the oil field slows, and the companies lay off workers. When the price is high, the demand is greater, and workers return to the area, vying for living space. The unfortunate consequence is that landlords will rent to somebody who can pay a higher price. They will raise the rent on a dwelling place if they think they can get more money for their bottom line. This often means that those who can’t pay the increase are forced from their homes as a result.
The average cost to rent an apartment in Midland is now $1341.00. In 2016, it was $1115.00. What caused the jump in price? The oil business is picking up again, whereas a few years ago, there was a downturn that caused the companies to lay off workers because of low prices for a barrel of crude. At that time, the price was $40.00 a barrel; now it is up to $65.00. If the oil business pays its workers good salaries, the thinking is that they can afford to line the pockets of the apartment owners, while others can’t. What is good for the apartment managers is a disaster for everyone else, and that is unfortunate.
There are other factors that play into the concept of fair market value. One of those is the unwillingness of many apartment owners to rent to those on welfare. In some cases, apartment managers refuse to rent to those with lower incomes, due to the belief that they pose a risk. This is especially true of those on welfare. The assumption is that welfare recipients are misusing their money for drugs and alcohol while they live at the government’s expense. The story is tragically familiar; the many are punished because of the few who engage in bad behavior.
Most elderly and disabled are either uninformed or too proud to apply for Section 8 housing. The reasons are obvious and varied. The bureaucratic red tape is one; another is the aforementioned perception that Section 8 is a dwelling place for addicts, alcoholics, and bums. Nothing is further from the truth, even though such people do take advantage of the system. The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, has proposed raising rent on Section 8 housing for those who are not elderly or disabled, in an effort to get them off the welfare doles and into the work force.
Fair market value is often a political lightning rod. The Republicans are blamed because they, after all, are the party of big business and deregulation. If it benefits the rich, they are in favor of it, at the expense of those who can’t afford to be at the receiving end of the policy. I, for one, would be in favor of regulating what landlords can charge their tenants for rent. They should be subject to stiff fines and other civil penalties if their prices run the risk of forcing those who are elderly or disabled from their homes. It wouldn’t be surprising if landlords found another way to get around the regulations. An example might be that the renters are not passing inspection, or are in some way violating the rules or terms of their lease. The bottom line and the bank book are what count.
Fair market value doesn’t work in practice the way it’s supposed to in theory. And the unfairness is all too clear to many who see stories like the one featuring the two women from Midland. Therein is the crisis. Big business wins at the expense of the weak and disadvantaged. Fair market value? For whom?
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
Editor’s note: Here in Denver, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is over $1,600. For a two-bedroom place, it’s at least $1,800. The average house price is now over $500,000. It’s gotten insane. I don’t know how anyone can afford to move here, even with our extremely low unemployment rate. — Leonore Dvorkin
My family and I moved to Illinois back in the summer of 1985 because my father got a job out here at one of the prestigious hospitals. Prior to that, we lived in Pennsylvania, and I was there through 4th grade. All of the services provided by the local special education district in PA were excellent, and we didn’t have to rely on the state for anything. I learned braille at a young age from an instructor who came to my parents’ house.
The problem I’d like to write about is people never responding to my requests for assistance, or taking such a long time to respond that the issue becomes moot. I’m not just talking about online requests. I am specifically referring to vocational rehabilitation. I first became a VR client back in 1994, which was my senior year of high school. I was asked to report to the special-ed conference room one afternoon to meet my first VR counselor. He shook my hand, introduced himself, and told me what he’d be doing for me. I thought the meeting went very well. He seemed like a decent enough guy, and he also seemed to know what he was talking about.
Not long after that, I met a colleague of his who was to become my rehab teacher. At the time, he also seemed to be very friendly and know his stuff. Fast forward a bit, and I began working with these guys. It didn’t take me or my parents long to realize that these guys worked very slowly. Combine that with the fact that they had what might be termed case overload. But in addition to that, nobody bothered to let us know until after the fact that they both retired. We were actually scolded by somebody at one of the downtown Chicago rehab offices and told rather curtly that we should’ve known these two men were going to retire. They never made mention of it, so how were we to know? The person who yelled at us probably thought we had mental telepathy or something.
I won’t bother telling you and your other readers my whole vocational rehab sob story, but suffice it to say that wasn’t the only time I had an issue with them. One of them even asked me out of the blue if I was ever going to kill myself. Just for the record, the answer to that was and still is a resounding no. I really don’t think these so-called professionals know their stuff, and in some cases, they don’t even care. At least this is largely the case here in Illinois, which has a lousy track record of services for those of us who have disabilities. Thanks for reading.
The Importance of Chat Lines
by Bob Branco
I realize that some of you do not use chat lines, and that’s okay. For those who do, I hope they never go away. Despite rumors that Verizon or some other company may eliminate chat lines in the near future, I regard these chat services as valuable support systems for many individuals, blind or sighted.
On several occasions, I’ve been on chat lines where prayer and support were necessary, especially when someone was lonely, ill, or had other problems. It is very comforting to participate with other people who care. Many people are lonely and need these chat lines as a source of comfort. Everyone on the line shares problems and solutions, talks about whatever is on their mind, or simply has a few laughs.
I sincerely hope that the rumors about their elimination are false. It would be a shame if this important human resource were no longer available. To some, it’s a lifeline.
Bob blogs at www.brancoevents.com/category/recent-news
by Steve Roberts
Weather forecasters are eyeing another possible El Niño during the upcoming fall and winter. Those who see this upcoming El Niño say that it will be a weak to moderate event. So what is El Niño, and what could it mean for us all?
The Normal State of the Pacific
What usually happens in the equatorial Pacific is that the trade winds blow from Ecuador to Indonesia. These east-to-west trade winds induce surface friction on the Pacific Ocean. This interaction between the air and the sea causes so-called Rossby waves to rapidly cross the vast equatorial Pacific.
As these waves propagate along the equator, they grow increasingly warm. As these waters go to the west, they create a void that gets filled by the upwelling of water from the depths. These Rossby waves make the western Pacific warmer and the eastern Pacific colder.
This oceanographic temperature disparity can be as high as eight degrees from the cold eastern Pacific to the warm western Pacific. Because of this thermal difference, the west coast of South America is dry and desert-like, while the western Pacific out by Asia is hot and humid, with lots of thunderstorm activity. These thunderstorms are referred to as “hot towers.”
The Development of El Niño
Every few years, the trade winds blowing across the Pacific slacken or reverse. This modification in the trade wind flow causes the warm waters in the western Pacific to slosh to the east on deep, broad waves called Kelvin waves, or K-waves. A K-Wave may take as long as three months to cross the vast Pacific.
As these waves propagate to the east, the western Pacific cools and the eastern Pacific heats up, until you have that tell-tale red gash that extends from Peru out past the International Dateline.
What Could this El Niño Mean to Us All?
Though no one knows for sure what this El Niño will do, there are certain things that you can almost always count on. Think of these as the typical outgrowth of El Niño. Keep in mind that every El Niño has its own complexion.
During an El Niño, the cooler waters of the western Pacific lend less moisture to the overlying atmosphere than they normally do. This dearth of water vapor results in less rainfall in Asia and Australia. The resulting drought causes huge bush fires on both continents.
Conversely, the very warm waters of the eastern Pacific lend lots of moisture to the overlying atmosphere. This great abundance of moisture results in heavy rain and snow on the west coast of the Americas. These heavy rains result in landslides and river floods.
What Does this Mean for the United States?
In a typical El Niño winter, the northern tier of the United States, from the Pacific Northwest to the western Great Lakes, is warmer and drier than average.
The southern tier of the United States tends to be cooler than average, due to the hyperactive subtropical branch of the jet stream. The clouds block out the sun’s warming rays. The rain causes a process called evaporative cooling.
The Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast can go either way. If there is a west-to-east component to the jet stream, the weather will be nice. On the other hand, a blocking pattern will result in a cold and snowy pattern for the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. This is because the ridge in the Atlantic prevents the trough in the eastern United States from moving out into the Atlantic. This winter could be very interesting for those of us who live in the United States.
A Study in Courage
A blog post from Leonore Dvorkin, 8/25/18
Blog: denverspanishtutor.blogspot.com / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yesterday, at our local Costco store, I stopped to talk with an older lady whom I have seen there quite often, handing out samples of food. I’ve always rather admired her, as she radiates a sort of calm confidence as well as friendliness. All the food demonstrators wear large name tags, so I always greet her by name.
I learned that she is in her mid-80s, a widow, and a survivor of three bouts of breast cancer! I told her that I am a 20-year breast cancer survivor, and we talked a bit about our contrasting treatments.
She said that she loves her job, as she likes people and getting out in public. I imagine that the money is not great, but obviously there are many other benefits. Of course I congratulated her on her cancer victories and wished her well. I hope to see her often again in the future.
I don’t go to Costco every week, but David, my husband, does. He does almost all the food preparation and all the grocery shopping, at Costco and elsewhere, and I just kind of tag along from time to time. I like having the time to stop and chat with the nice, mainly older folks at Costco who hand out samples of the delicious food products. I’m happy that those jobs are available to them.
More Good News About Various Clients of DLD Books
by Leonore Dvorkin, Editor, DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services
All the books mentioned below are (or soon will be) for sale in both e-book and print. The e-books are text-to-speech enabled. The books are for sale on Amazon, Smashwords, and other selling sites.
Number one below is an exciting first for a client of DLD Books.
Details of her novel are here: http://www.dldbooks.com/jdhart/
Details of his two books are here: http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Details of Thea’s publications are here: http://www.dldbooks.com/thearamsay/
Details of his two books are here: http://www.dldbooks.com/jalilmortazavi/
It is our great pleasure to work with so many talented authors. Keep those books and the good news coming, folks!
by Ann Chiappetta
Hello, readers. It is the end of the summer, one of my favorite times of year. Warm, lazy days, cool nights, with a hint of autumn in the air.
I’d like to share more on how guide dog handlers provide a meaningful life for a guide dog. Generally speaking, we do our best to balance a dog’s working life with its life as a normal dog. Let’s face it. We can say we have a well-bred, well-trained, and well-behaved service dog, but it is still a dog and will, at times, revert to its instincts and doggie behaviors. We anticipate and honor this by providing play time and experiences which provide our dogs with down time to prevent them from being flooded and overworked.
For instance, I attended a week-long training, and each day, I made sure my guide dog got time to play with his toy and run around a bit in the hotel room. It took only ten minutes, and I know it helped him settle down and relax. This is an example of honoring his work ethic and patience while I attended the training.
Below is an essay on how I try to provide my dog with fun and connection with the doggieness of just being in the moment that dogs love.
Dog Beach, Santa Cruz, California 2012
We navigate the way down a rocky path to the sand. The air is full of beach smells. The sounds of surf and gulls echo off the cliffs as we walk closer to the waterline. My sister unclips the leash from her Golden Retriever. I release Verona, and she trots off, her nose to the ground. My friend, Myla, tells me what she is doing and how far she goes. I call her back a few times as we find a spot near the cliffs to sit and watch the dogs play. Music, my sister’s dog, chases Verona into the water. As she turns back to chase him, a huge wave crashes down, and for a moment, she is engulfed. The wave spits her out onto the beach and she runs to me, weaving in between my legs and soaking my pants. I look like incontinence has gotten the best of me. Verona seems to say, in her best doggie language, “Hey, mom, what happened?” From then on, she doesn’t go near the waves and prefers a safer splash in the wet sand and tidal pools instead.
It’s important to me that Verona have the opportunity to be a dog; so much responsibility is put upon her when the harness is placed upon her back, it seems that this is the right way to let her know how much she has changed my life. As she digs her hole in the cool sand and flops down to dry off, my heart is content because she is doing just what she’s supposed to be doing, living a dog’s life.
San Francisco, Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf
An hour after we leave San Jose, we reach San Francisco. The drive through mid-morning traffic isn’t as bad as we thought it would be, and we soon find a parking garage near the wharf close by Pier 39. Verona’s snorting tells me she’s excited by the new smells and she’s ready to go. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and soon we’re out of the garage and walking along the sidewalk, waiting to cross the street.
As we stroll along the promenade toward the pier, Verona feels as if she’s doing a little dance, and I feel her head turning left and right. A few times, we weave a bit, and I have to check her so she stops. It takes me a minute, but I finally understand what is making her dance around. Pigeons. Hordes of them walking underfoot, across our path, flying up practically under her nose. I’m surprised one hasn’t landed on her back. Myla laughs, saying, “She’s trying really hard to ignore them, but they’re teasing her.”
Thankfully the winged rats are less plentiful on the pier itself, and we spend the time shopping.
Coming to San Francisco with Verona is one of the best parts of traveling with a guide dog. At no time did I feel unsafe, even on the steep wooden stairs leading to the stores on the second level of the pier. Next year, we’re going to Golden Gate Park and Alcatraz.
Follow my blog: www.thought-wheel.com
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To purchase my books, UPWELLING: POEMS or FOLLOW YOUR DOG, A STORY OF LOVE AND TRUST, go to www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
They are for sale in e-book and print on Amazon, Smashwords, and several other sites.
by Penny Fleckenstein
who blogs at: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com
Life is a big math puzzle. I’ve been under the misconception that there are those who have it easy. As I live longer, I feel that everyone has difficulties. I used to think the smart ones had it easier. The geniuses, the straight-A students, the rich, the famous. As I read and mature, I discover that everyone has a difficult life. It’s challenging for everyone. If nothing else, it helps me deal with envy. There’s no need for me to feel jealous of anyone.
I’ve been an unwilling Greyhound traveler since 1982. My favorite mode of transportation is by airplane. However, in the interest of saving money, I’ve had to use Greyhound, because airfares are often sky high and the train isn’t always available to me. I’ve had a successful trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. on the Megabus. It didn’t cost very much money, and the travel time was only six hours. It definitely takes some sighted assistance, though, since there isn’t a bus station for the Megabus.
Back in 2009, I took the Greyhound from Pittsburgh to Cleveland, Ohio and then the train from Cleveland to Syracuse, New York. I decided to do the same thing this month when I went to visit my daughter, Natasha, and my one-year-old grandson, Peyton. By doing it this way, I had to do all my traveling at night with sighted assistance from my sons, Isaac and Zachary. I decreased my travel time. It was an 11-hour trip instead of a 15-hour trip taking just the Greyhound. By thinking creatively, I was able to save both time and money.
When Natasha picked us up from the train station in Syracuse, we immediately went to Destiny USA, which used to be called the Carousel Mall. Destiny USA is gigantic, with a great mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment. I bought an adult and child Summer Fun Pass, $40 for Zachary and $50 for Isaac, which is good from June 11 to September 3. Each pass included four activities at Destiny USA, a ticket to a baseball game, a football game, and admission to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and the New York State Fair. When we left, we gave our unused tickets to Natasha.
In the mall itself, we took Peyton to the indoor playground where Isaac, Natasha, and Zachary had a blast. Isaac and Zachary spent 45 minutes on the Great Canyon Adventure ropes course at the arcade at Dave and Busters, and Isaac raced the Go-Karts. The mall also offers a smaller ropes course for children under 48 inches tall; Glow Golf, which my kids wanted to do but we ran out of time for; laser tag; and bowling. During our visit, we also had a great time at the zoo, which is now hosting the robotic dinosaur exhibit. There is a sculpture of a baby elephant and tiger that Peyton sat on, and lots of sculptures and models and actual animal items I could feel. This enhances the zoo and makes it a more fun experience for those who are blind and for little children. I was truly impressed with the zoo and Destiny USA.
On August 1, I went on a short bus trip with the Pittsburgh Friendship Group to eat lunch, see a comedic play, and visit a pie shop. I was so overwhelmed with sweets at the pie shop, which had almost everything imaginable, except for eclairs, and I didn’t want to spend money on sweets my family doesn’t need. Instead, I chose to buy fresh bread and corn at a nearby corn stand. The corn was absolutely amazing. I have no regrets about not buying sweets from the bakery. They gave everyone on the bus a baby apple pie, which my son Eric enjoyed the next day.
We’ve had an enjoyable summer. Now Zachary and Isaac start school this week, and Eric will start college after Labor Day. I’ve learned a few lessons and have grown more appreciative. I hope through my telling you of my experiences, you can face the challenges of life with fewer difficulties. Happy fall, and do write to me to share your tips.
by Karen Crowder
As I sit at my window on the night of August 25, the air has an autumnal feeling. However, I hear the music of crickets and katydids. September is the end of another summer, with autumn arriving Saturday, September 22. September is a month for barbecues, picnics, fairs, and church bazaars. Bob Branco’s summer reunion is at Houghton’s Pond in Milton, Massachusetts on September 8. Our annual church bazaar is September 7-8 at Our Lady of the Lake church in Leominster, Massachusetts.
There are three special days in September. Labor Day is September 3. There are two Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah on September 9 and Yom Kippur on September 18.
During September, peaches, apples, and cucumbers are among the abundant produce in New England. They are available at farm stands and supermarkets. With schools and colleges in session for another year, families like easy, delicious, nutritious meals. Here are three recipes: scalloped corn, grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches, and a repeat of the filled matzo meal pancakes in honor of the two Jewish holidays.
When I moved into my first apartment, for several months I owned only one baking dish, an 8-inch square pan. Scalloped corn was quick to prepare on busy evenings while attending college.
One package or three-quarters of a bag of frozen corn
A handful of dried chives
Dashes of garlic and curry powder
Seven tablespoons butter
Twelve Ritz crackers
One-third cup milk
Optional: one tablespoon Half-and-Half.
Serve scalloped corn with a tossed salad, ham steak, or chicken. This makes a nutritious meal on a busy school evening. If you are serving a family of four, just double or triple the recipe.
Note: I have made two changes. The addition of spices to the greased pan and putting the topping on twice enhances the recipe.
Since garden-fresh tomatoes are at the height of their season now, this is an excellent way to use them. These sandwiches make a quick supper on a school night.
Ingredients for two sandwiches
Four slices whole-wheat Scala or Canadian white bread
Four slices American or cheddar cheese
One-fourth to one-half of a garden-fresh tomato
One-half stick butter.
This recipe was submitted to me by Marcy Segelman as a Passover recipe.
Five potatoes, boiled
One cup matzo meal
One teaspoon salt
One-fourth teaspoon pepper
One-half pound boiled chopped beef
One-half pound broiled beef liver (optional).
This makes 6-10 servings. Eat for breakfast or as a side dish.
Note: The recipe for scalloped corn is from A Leaf from Our Table cookbook, published by the Catholic Guild of Chicago in 1970. It is in two braille volumes. Unfortunately, it is out of print.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers enjoy these recipes.
September starts a new year for students across the country. I hope all students have a happy and successful academic year. Across the country, there are primaries in September. It is important to vote. The one for Massachusetts is on September 4. Let us hope and pray for a kinder, less divided America.
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the August Consumer Vision. The four main branches of science are biology, geology, physics, and chemistry. There were no winners this month.
And now, here is your question for this month. Name the four remaining soap operas on day-time network television. If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.