THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editors: David and 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 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: Some Benefits of Strength Training, Coconut Water, and Mushrooms *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Essay of the Self, Becoming Us *** by Dennis R. Sumlin
3. TECH CORNER: The Philosophy of Technology *** by Stephen Théberge
4. READERS’ FORUM
5. GOOGLE GLASSES, A WAY TO ASSIST THE BLIND WITH TRAVEL *** by Bob Branco
6. WEATHER OR NOT: Air Mass Thunderstorms: Things that Go Bump in the Day *** by Steve Roberts
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
9. TURNING POINT: Using Writing As a Turning Point *** by Terri Winaught
10. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
11. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
12. JUDY *** by Blake Hill
13. HARRY KILLED MY MOUSE! *** by Bruce Atchison
14. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. HEALTH MATTERS
Some Benefits of Strength Training, Coconut Water, and Mushrooms
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
1. Strength training may reduce the risk of diabetes in obesity
(Source: EurekAlert, 3/15/19, and the Journal of Endocrinology)
Obesity is a global health epidemic that needs effective intervention strategies to avoid debilitating complications, including fatty liver disease and diabetes. About 94% of obese people have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which increases the risk of Type 2 diabetes and is associated with nerve and kidney damage.
While the benefits of aerobic exercise have been much studied, less attention has been paid to the benefits of muscle-building strength and resistance training. At the University of Campinas in Brazil, researchers found that strength training in obese mice over a short period of time (undefined in the article) was sufficient to reduce the fat in the liver and improve regulation of blood glucose. These effects were seen even without a reduction in body weight. (End of summary of article.)
My comments: This is good news for those of us who do exercise but have trouble actually losing weight, as it indicates that even without weight loss, resistance exercise (strength training) can have important health benefits.
On this note, another EurekAlert article I read, one from 3/6/19 and based on another study, showed that resistance training plus aerobic exercise was better than either form of exercise by itself at helping to prevent Type 2 diabetes.
This combination of types of exercise is exactly what I have preached and practiced for decades. I’ve been teaching my trademarked exercise classes since 1976. Those consist mainly of exercises with barbells, dumbbells, and ankle weights. I also walk (both outdoors and on a treadmill) and use our Schwinn exercise bike. I need to lose at least 20 pounds, but while I continue to work toward that goal, it’s good to know that my beloved weight training is doing more for me than just increasing my muscle and bone strength.
2. The Benefits of Coconut Water
(My online source: Medical News Today / Author: Mandy Ferreira / Reviewed by Patty Pletcher, MS, RD, LD, CDE / Last reviewed July 26, 2016)
If you’re interested in this healthful beverage but have not yet tried it, here is some information about it that might encourage you to do so. We are now drinking Kirkland brand (Costco) Organic Coconut Water, which is not from concentrate. It is a product of the Philippines. We are very satisfied with its quality, taste, and low price—just as we are very satisfied with the vast majority of Costco products, edible or not. We are fortunate to have several Costco stores in the Denver area, with one just a few minutes away from where we live.
Coconut water, not to be confused with coconut milk, is the clear liquid inside green coconuts. Over 95% of coconut water is water. Coconut milk is made from the water and the flesh inside a mature coconut. Coconut water has been consumed for centuries in tropical regions around the world. Below are some of its many benefits.
a. It’s a natural sports drink, with natural electrolytes, and it contains no added sugar, coloring, or artificial sweeteners. It has less sodium than sports drinks.
b. It’s low in calories, with only 45 calories per cup, making it a good substitute for regular sodas or fruit juices. I prefer to dilute my coconut water half and half with plain water, so for me, such a mixture has only about 22 calories per cup, and I seldom drink a full cup at one time.
c. Potassium: Coconut water has more than 10 times the amount of potassium in most sports drinks. This can help you ward off muscle cramps. The potassium may help balance out sodium’s effect on blood pressure and possibly even help lower it.
d. Calcium and magnesium: Coconut water contains more of these than sports drinks or fruit juices. Calcium is vital for strong bones and teeth, and it helps muscles contract and work properly. Magnesium helps move calcium and potassium into muscles to aid in contraction and relaxation. It also helps with energy production and supports organ function.
e. Antioxidants: These help neutralize oxidative stress and free radicals created by exercise.
f. Amino acids: These are essential for repairing tissues and are the building blocks of protein. Coconut water contains more alanine, arginine, cysteine, and serine than cow’s milk. It’s a major source of arginine, an amino acid that helps your body respond to stress. Arginine may also help keep the heart healthy.
g. Cytokinins: These hormones help plants grow. They are believed to have anti-aging and cancer-fighting properties.
3. Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline
(Source: ScienceDaily, March 12, 2019, and the National University of Singapore)
Summary: Researchers found that seniors who consume more than two standard portions of mushrooms weekly may have as much as 50% reduced odds of having mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
Six types of mushrooms commonly consumed in the Philippines were studied: golden, oyster, shitake, white button, dried, and canned mushrooms. It was a six-year study, done from 2011 to 2017, with over 600 Chinese seniors in Singapore.
Mild cognitive impairment involves some memory loss and forgetfulness, as well as some attention and language deficits, but is not as serious as the effects of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
The benefits came down to a specific compound in mushrooms: ergotheoneine, a unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that humans can’t synthesize on their own. (End of article summary.)
Comments: This is good news for my husband and me, as we eat a lot of fresh, organic, white button mushrooms, as well as some canned mushrooms. Naturally, you can cook with fresh mushrooms, but you can also just wash them, eat them raw, or chop them up and add them to a cup of organic chicken stock, such as the one from Costco, with only 10 calories per cup. Heated up, that combination makes a simple, delicious, low-calorie mushroom soup. Flavor it with a dash of curry, turmeric, or any other favorite seasoning.
About the Author
Leonore H. Dvorkin lives in Denver, Colorado, where she is self-employed as a book editor, a tutor of several languages, and a weight-training instructor. She’s been teaching exercise classes since 1976. She is the author of four published books, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as dozens of articles, mainly on the subjects of health, nutrition, and fitness.
Since 2009, she and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. For very reasonable prices, they thoroughly edit books, format them for print and e-book, design the covers, and have the books published in print and e-book with Amazon and Smashwords. The books are then marketed worldwide. Since 2009, they have worked on over 65 books for over 45 clients. Most of their clients are blind or visually impaired.
They invite you to visit any of their websites for details.
Leonore Dvorkin: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Essay of the Self, Becoming Us
by Dennis R. Sumlin
When we are born, we have certain unique qualities and potentials. These potentials make themselves known quickly. Just think about it. What were some of the first things that you were interested in doing? What did you want to be when you grew up?
Along the road of life, many things take us away from that deep knowing and drive, pointing us toward versions of other people’s goals for us. There comes a time when we must return to us and become who we are.
When you read this essay, reflect on things you wanted to do, things you still want to do, and why you haven’t done them. Self-actualization is one of my values.
Self Actualization; Become Yourself
The act of self-actualization is the achievement of one’s full potential. In order for us to do this, we must be realistic about who we are, and have or develop an inner sense of our own abilities. This means we must be honest about pluses and challenges and develop creative steps to get to this higher version of self.
We must have clarity of thought, drive, and discipline. This causes us to take responsibility for ourselves and our future. It hits us in the face with the fact that we have the power to shape our direction. Without this framework, we would settle into mediocrity, spiral into regret, and let our personal power atrophy.
When we see ourselves clearly, have challenging but reachable goals, and own the natural talent and discipline it takes to become who we are, we will feel energized, powerful, proud, and accomplished.
What have you done to become more of who you are? How does it feel? For me, it feels great!
3. TECH CORNER: The Philosophy of Technology
by Stephen Théberge
I have had many discussions with people about the role of technology in our world. Some have asked if we’ve gone too far, and if we’re at the point of no return, where we won’t be able to contain technology or deal with its results.
I thought of things like Pandora’s Box, the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, and Faust’s bargain with the devil. I looked up Faust online, as I’ve not read it recently. It’s very deep, but it did inspire me to write this article. If you’re interested, go to:
Hast Thou Considered My Servant Faust? by David P. Goldman
The worst case of relying too much on technology is the recent crash of a Southwest Airlines plane in Ethiopia. The verdict is still out, but having technology be such a big part of the problem is very disquieting. I have no doubt that a lot of the technology used by airlines has saved more lives than it has taken, but we only really know the failures and can’t necessarily prove the positive aspect of the argument.
On the frivolous side, I recently heard of washing machines and dryers being equipped with Wi-Fi so that you could use your smart phone to control the devices. I don’t see the point of having such an app on my phone, as most people don’t have robots to bring the clothes to the washer and dryer. You’d still have to add the detergent, transfer the wash to the dryer, and—the most fun of all—fold the clothes afterwards.
It’s pretty sad that I look at my phone and find almost 100 applications. When I at times try to decide what to delete, I can almost never seem to find one I can live without. The trouble with free apps is that they either are poor quality or they inundate you with advertisements. Nearly all social media platforms are free, except that we have to put up with advertisements. Unlike the characters in old literature, I don’t think we think of our choices in such grand terms as forbidden fruit or opening boxes. I asked Alexa about Pandora’s Box and was informed it was probably a jar. Isn’t it good that technology can help us? In the old days, I’d have verified this and not trusted the technology. I figured that for the sake of this article, I’d leave that to somebody else.
We often marvel at the old days in which people actually wrote letters, or at least had a manual typewriter. We would all be submitting our letters and articles to Consumer Vision by mail. There is something to be said for patience and not having instantaneous feedback. That’s probably what changed everything.
In truth, even a manual typewriter was/is technology. The Post Office utilized combustion engines in their mail trucks, so we have had forms of technology with us for a long time. We could argue against cars and even public transportation as bad technology. After all, how many people die in traffic accidents each year? On the flip side, ambulances and helicopters save many lives by quickly transporting the sick and injured to hospitals. Most of us would not deny the life-saving technological tools in a hospital. There are a few who reject blood transfusions for religious reasons, but mostly, we go along.
We have so much new technology or changes to technology occurring all the time that we simply don’t think of the ramifications of its use.
For most readers of this magazine, not having accessible technology, screen readers, and/or voiceover would mean not being able to read it or contribute to it. Some readers wish The Consumer Vision were available in braille or other old formats. Unfortunately, it’s a matter of cost. One cannot deny that technology has made things a lot more economical. We can argue that the cost of access technology—JAWS—is an exception. Even with all of this, many blind and visually impaired people are productive in work and other areas. I will not go into the over 70% percent unemployment rate for our population at this time.
So, all this technology has allowed me to be working on my third book, now, as well as doing the “normal” things on the job that my sighted colleagues take for granted. Rather than look at our choices in terms of the Garden of Eden or Pandora’s Box, I think we should ask ourselves some questions.
People don’t think of the horse and carriage as technology. Yet before that, moving people and goods around was a more arduous task. The invention of the wheel and the discovery of electricity were pivotal moments. How far back in time would you want to go? What century or decade would you be most happy in? Personally, I’d say the ’60s or ’70s. Having seen the explosion of technology starting in the ’80s, it might be hard to put that genie back in its bottle.
I appreciate that DLD Books still edits the old-fashioned way. Of course they use technology as well, but Leonore has stated that there is nothing like going over the printed proof copy of the book to weed out errors not caught when reading the book on a computer screen. I have adjusted well to my sight loss, but do fondly recall the days when I could visually edit. Using the screen reader and computer is very difficult.
I really don’t think there is a simple answer to the question I proposed at the beginning of this article. If we don’t control our technology, we will certainly be its slave. We must maintain control. It sounds simple, but just making time away from technology is sufficient. However, it’s easier said than done.
Follow me on twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog: http://blinderwriterweb.wordpress.com
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel, The MetSche Message, and its sequel, The MetSche Maelstrom, at http://www.dldbooks.com/stephentheberge/
Watch my Youtube channel for many blindness-related issues and the latest Branco Broadcasts:
4. READERS’ FORUM
A. Dear Bob,
I thoroughly enjoyed this issue of Consumer Vision, which I read from cover to cover. I loved every article and learned so much from my fellow writers. I want to thank every one of them for the lessons they taught me. What a fantastic magazine it is. I hope we can boost its circulation.
B. Bob, I strongly disagree with the opinion that children should not be taught in school about those who are homosexual, bisexual, transgender, etc. That’s because instead of scientific knowledge and tolerance, all too many parents are still likely to show their children attitudes of ignorance, intolerance, and worse. Still to this day, when gay marriage is legal in the U.S., some parents abuse, eject, abandon, or even murder their gay or transgender children, and the suicide rate among such young people is very high.
I speak from personal experience. A relative of ours is transgender: female to male. I will call him J. He is now in his mid-20s and happily married to a gay man. Growing up, though, he was extremely unhappy, and his stepfather actually left the family due to J.’s orientation. J. now says that he suffered so much as a youth that he does not want to ever have children of his own. We know gay people who have happily adopted and are superb parents, so this decision makes us very sad.
It is my hope that more and more schools will adopt age-appropriate curricula that teach about all sexual orientations and do not ever give the message that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (or anything else that is not heterosexual) is somehow abnormal or wrong. It’s just different. The more kids know, and the earlier they know it, the less likely they are to suffer as our relative did or to harm or even kill themselves.
5. GOOGLE GLASS, A WAY TO ASSIST THE BLIND WITH TRAVEL
by Bob Branco
I won’t speak for anyone else, but when I travel by myself as a blind person in unfamiliar surroundings, I ask for directions. If I’m in a library, I might ask the desk clerk. If I’m in a bus terminal, I might ask the ticket agent. If I’m walking the streets and realize that I could be lost, I would probably look for someone to help me out. Why wouldn’t I do all these things? Sighted people do.
Even though the blind want to be treated like the sighted and do everything that a sighted person does, modern technology has paved the way for the blind to behave differently. In 2014, while I was working with a team of blind consultants for a job platform where companies would delegate work to us, I learned about a new product that is supposed to help a blind person when he’s out and about. It is not a cane or a guide dog. It’s a product called Google Glass. Let me explain to the best of my ability what Google Glass is and what it does. Google Glass is a special kind of glasses. They are placed on your face like any other pair of glasses, except that these glasses have a built-in communication system. Using this system, you set up your own network of trustworthy people. While you’re walking in unfamiliar surroundings, these glasses allow you to contact someone in your network who will sit at home and watch you while you travel.
Let’s assume that you are in a bus terminal, but you don’t know where the restroom is. Instead of asking the ticket agent to help you like everyone else normally does, you would put on your Google Glass, call someone in your network, and ask him to guide you to the restroom. Keep in mind that you are surrounded by people at the bus terminal while you are asking someone through your Google glasses to help you while she is sitting at home. If we, as blind people, are trying to convince the sighted that we are capable of doing normal things, how do you suppose the sighted ticket agent would react when he sees a blind person on his Google glasses asking someone miles away to help him find something that the ticket agent sees in front of him? Let’s talk about the common-sense factor. If I’m lost, and someone is sitting behind a desk in front of me, I would ask that person for help. If I were a ticket agent watching the blind guy talking on his Google glasses, I’d likely say to myself, What’s the matter with that guy? I’m right here.
It’s bad enough that a portion of society thinks that we, the blind, can’t get out of our own way, so the last thing we need is for society to think we talk to ourselves. Most people wouldn’t know that the Google glasses have a phone mechanism, so it would appear that the person wearing them is talking to herself.
When I was working with the team of blind consultants, I was asked to write a press release about Google Glass. I already had problems with the concept anyway, so when I found out that these glasses cost nearly $3,000, I refused to write the press release. Am I supposed to believe that it is worth $3,000 for a blind person to ask someone in New York to help him find the bus outside of a crowded bus terminal in Boston where the blind person is physically? What is so terrible about a blind person asking someone at the terminal? Is modern technology consuming us so much that we’re supposed to be wrapped up in it to the point where we can’t even recognize common sense?
Yet, believe it or not, I’ve had debates with people who insist that Google glasses are very beneficial to the blind. This fascination is so overwhelming that nothing else matters. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve had to remind people about the cost of these items. It seems like no one who wants to argue with me about technology will admit that these products are extremely unaffordable. We are expected to use it because it’s so fascinating. So, what do we do? Are we supposed to steal this technology because it’s so beneficial and wonderful? I don’t think so. I will continue to ask for directions the normal way while I spend $3,000 on much more practical things.
6. WEATHER OR NOT: Air Mass Thunderstorms: Things that Go Bump in the Day
by Steve Roberts
The Building Blocks of Thunderstorms
In order for thunderstorms to develop, the air must be warm and humid at the surface of the earth but cool quickly with height. When heat or moisture is added to the air, the air is given buoyancy. When heat and moisture are added to the air in combination, the air is given great buoyancy. This process of vertical motion is referred to as convection.
In order for the air to rise sufficiently to form thunderstorms, the air must cool rapidly with height. As the warm, moist air ascends into the cooler upper level atmosphere, lots of moisture condenses into clouds and rain. The process of condensation releases lots of latent (stored) heat into the atmosphere. When moisture condenses, it releases as much heat into the atmosphere as was taken from the atmosphere during the process of evaporation. This release of latent heat causes the air to rise even more actively. When the atmosphere is warm and moist at the surface and cools quickly with height, you have an unstable atmosphere. Atmospheric instability is a must if thunderstorms are to develop.
Finally, the sky must be clear. A clear sky affords the sun’s rays unlimited access to the surface of the earth. Cloud cover of any kind will block out the sun and stabilize the atmosphere, preventing the development of thunderstorms. The sun provides the heat that fuels these weather systems.
The Process of Thunderstorm Development
The sun warms the ground and the ground warms the air. As the heat rises up from the ground and into the air, it reaches a cold pocket of air aloft, which causes the moisture to condense into clouds and precipitation. The process of condensation releases lots of heat into the atmosphere, which causes the air to ascend all the more.
As the convective tower builds, it reaches upper-level winds that evacuate air out of the top of the developing thunderstorm. As the air gets evacuated out of the top of the thunderstorm tower, the air within the thunderstorm rises even faster. Now you have a thunderstorm capable of producing heavy rain, thunder, lightning, and even hail. Air mass thunderstorms will form in the day and fall apart at night, as they are fueled by the sun’s heat. Hence the idea that air mass thunderstorms are things that go bump in the day.
7. SPECIAL NOTICES
New Facebook Page for the Braille Revival League
The Braille Revival League (BRL) is an affiliate of the American Council of The Blind. Check out their newly established Facebook page at:
BRL welcomes as a member any person, blind or sighted, who believes in and is willing to work for the furtherance of braille as the primary medium of literacy for people who are blind or for whom braille is a viable method for reading and writing. BRL is a membership organization whose purpose is to promote the teaching, production, and broader acceptance and use of braille as the primary tool of literacy for people who are blind. Its membership is composed of braille users, teachers, transcribers, producers, and other individuals who are proponents and supporters of braille. BRL believes braille instruction should be available in all schools and other educational facilities to students who are blind or functionally blind and that the mastering of braille should become a required and integral part of the curriculum for the training of prospective teachers of students who are blind.
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
David and Leonore Dvorkin, of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, are very pleased to announce the March 2019 publication of the following books by two of their talented clients.
A. Words of Life: Poems and Essays
C 2019 by Ann Chiappetta
Print: $9.95 / E-book: $3.99 / 140 pages in print.
Available from Amazon and Smashwords.
The e-book is text-to-speech enabled.
About the Book
In this new collection of poems, essays, and flash fiction, the author once again exhibits her ability to write about both the light and dark sides of life. There are numerous poems and stories about nature: its kindness, cruelty, and wonder. There are frank expressions of the sadness and frustration she felt at the progressive loss of her eyesight and a poem about the social isolation that disability can bring. Other pieces, though, sing of joys as diverse as family closeness, the love of dogs, the delights of scents, and the power of the muse. Just as in her first volume of poetry, Upwelling: Poems (2016), there is no fluff here. To read Ann Chiappetta’s works is to feel them deeply, appreciate them mightily, and remember them forever.
From the Introduction
While it is my hope that all the pieces in this book resonate with my readers, I have my favorites. Some of the poems have been previously published; all reflect what lies within. This volume is accented with a few photographs. As I lose the last vestiges of my vision, bringing a meaningful visual array to this collection seems imperative. Finally, dear reader, I want to share the prose that reflects the way I’ve lived my creative life.
If just one poem or essay resonates with you, I have accomplished the purpose. For a moment, as the eye reads and the brain interprets, the reader slips into the shoes of the writer. This is the true spirit of what it means to be creative, open, to offer the emotions in such a way as to give another person the opportunity to appreciate the writer’s experience with the words of life.
Ann Chiappetta lives in New Rochelle, New York.
Book-related website with full details, cover image, free text sample, and buying links: http://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
The author’s previous two books are Upwelling: Poems (2016) and Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust (2017). Details of those books are also on her book-related website, linked to above.
B. Selections from Across Two Novembers: A Bibliographic Year
C 2019 by David L. Faucheux
Cover image, free text sample, buying links, and more are at:
In print ($12.95) and e-book ($3.99) from Amazon and Smashwords. 264 pages in print.
The e-book is text-to-speech enabled.
In audio from Audible in April or May 2019, narrated by Adam Barr.
Note: This is the abridgement of the author’s much longer 2017 book. The title of that is Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile. Full information about that book is also on the author’s website, linked to above.
About this Edition
A masterful abridgement of the 2017 Across Two Novembers, this book preserves the erudition, poignancy, and occasional quirkiness of the original. It cuts out the lengthy bibliography and some of the daily journal entries, but one is never left wondering what might be missing when a day is skipped. Mentions and fine reviews of dozens of books share the stage with the more personal details.
From a Reviewer
“Thank you, David Faucheux, for your spirit and tenacity, your lovely writing, and this inspiring journal.”
— Priscilla Cummings, author of 23 young adult novels
About the Author
David L. Faucheux lives in Lafayette, Louisiana.
He was named Audiobook Reviewer of the Year for 2018 by Library Journal.
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Hello, Consumer Vision readers. I hope this issue greets you all with warmer weather and new scents and smells for your canine companions.
I want to share some sad news. Our 16-year-old beagle mix, Nikka, passed away, going over the Rainbow Bridge on February 16. After her long and progressively worsening lung tumor, we said goodbye, and she was euthanized in our home on her favorite bed. I feel honored to have provided her a good home and good care and to have been able to give her a compassionately planned death.
This leads me to a piece of information I might not have discovered. Most veterinarians in suburban areas no longer make house calls for small animals like dogs, cats, and other small mammals. At least, that was the case up until about 10 years ago. Now, however, the mobile age is upon us, and not only can one call a mobile veterinarian, but also mobile groomers. Additionally, there is an entire legion of dog walkers, and doggie day care companies are bursting with wagging tails while the owners drop off and pick up dogs like children in day care. The pet care and nutrition industries make billions of dollars each year in the United States. What this means is that pet owners have many choices to help them care for their pets.
The point is that in our time of need, we were able to locate a mobile veterinarian to visit our home and help us with Nikka’s end-of-life needs.
I would like to close this month’s column with the poem all animal lovers know and keep close to their hearts.
Over the Rainbow Bridge
There is a place of rainbow dreams, of lush green grass and silver streams.
It brings me comfort to know you’re there, playfully romping without a care.
Always happy, the freedom to roam, peaceful, joyful in your new home.
You never criticize, you never judge, you were always there for me to love.
Though you live on in my heart I know, it’s just so hard to let you go.
I know someday we’ll meet again, you’ll run to greet me, my best friend.
Together forever we’ll finally be, over the rainbow, just you and me.
9. TURNING POINT: Using Writing As a Turning Point
by Terri Winaught
If there is one constant in life, it is that we are all recovering from something, be it physical or emotional. Strategies we can use as part of a recovery process include, but are not limited to, professionally led groups, peer-led support groups, and various therapies. Alternative modalities that can be significant agents of growth are art, dance, drama, and writing. The method of healing and growth on which I will focus in this article is writing. More specifically, I will share some of what I learned from Leonard Tuchyner, an accomplished writer and experienced clinician. I will also share some of what has worked for me.
An important point Leonard makes as the facilitator of a group he calls “Writing for Healing and Growth” is that the genre one uses isn’t important. “Even technical writing can be used for healing and growth,” this Virginia-based facilitator explains. Because the focus of this type of writing is for healing, Leonard advises us to “silence our inner critic,” by which I believe he means that using our words to heal and grow is more important than being concerned about elements of style, such as grammar, spelling, punctuation, or syntax—the way we combine words and use language to form sentences.
Although I have used essays, memoirs, and poetry to express and work through feelings, I have found poetry to be the most helpful. Perhaps that’s because poetry comes in so many forms and can be replete with imagery.
While writing is often used therapeutically at mental-health facilities, it can also be taught at senior centers—one of the many settings where Leonard teaches.
To give you a better understanding of how I have used writing for healing, I will use May’s Consumer Vision, and possibly the next several issues, to share some of my writing and explain how it has helped me heal and grow.
As always, I welcome any stories you might wish to share, with the promise to treat you and your sharing with respect and dignity. To submit something, email email@example.com or write to 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228. I also welcome any article or story suggestions you might have.
10. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
who blogs at: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com
I talk to almost everyone, or one could say, I listen to almost everyone. It surprises me what tidbits I pick up by having casual conversations.
“Do you have an automatic dishwasher?” Frank, my driver, asked me as I settled into the front passenger seat.
“Well, I have a countertop dishwasher. I used to have a full-size one when I lived in my old place.”
“What you have to do” (I pictured his hands flailing) “is open the door right after the dishes are done. The steam will rush out of the door. It all goes into your face. The dishes dry right away. It’s called flash drying.”
How Frank’s dishwasher tip has changed my life! What a time saver! Who knew drying the dishes could be good for my face, too?
A few years ago, I was looking around for a clothes washer. I asked the salesperson if I should spend the extra money for a clothes washer with steam. He said it doesn’t make much sense to buy a washer with steam but recommended I buy a dryer with steam. I bought a top-loading Samsung. It was about $400 less than a front loader. It has lasted a long time and washes my clothes well. However, when I buy a washer again, I’ll choose a front loader because I’m too short to get clothes out of the washer without having to climb on a chair. I did learn from the Sears repairmen who examined my washer one day that you only need to use two tablespoons of high efficiency laundry detergent per load. More than that will ruin your machine.
One of my favorite hobbies is knitting. Knitting while in church or waiting helps me to fidget less. It helps keep my mind focused on the sermon or lecture. I went to Pat Catan’s Arts and Crafts and Michaels in February looking for bright yellow wool yarn in order to make a six-foot long scarf for a friend of mine. There was very little wool (or wool blends) and absolutely no yellow. At home, I ordered 80 percent wool, 20 percent mohair, which is nice and soft and easy on my fingers. I received my shipment from WEBS, America’s Yarn Store, at http://www.yarn.com, within five days. For two skeins the shipping was $5. I really need three skeins of yarn to make this very long scarf, so I ordered four skeins of yarn this time. I want to make another long scarf out of black wool. The shipping increased to $7. I’m delighted with the variety of yarn they have and the e-newsletter they send, which advertises different yarns and gives some free patterns. I love the free education.
I knitted while at PennDOT waiting for my son Eric to get his learner’s permit. Unfortunately, we did not acquire it because we didn’t bring all of the necessary paperwork. I mistakenly believed that he wouldn’t need his birth certificate and Social Security card since he had his Pennsylvania ID. So we went on a nice walk and my prayer shawl grew, but we had to come back the next day.
Once before, I had to come back because I didn’t have a personal check or a money order. I felt bad for a family who didn’t have a letter proving their kids’ residence. They had been waiting for two hours and had driven a long way to get there. Make sure you have all the right documentation and methods of payment before making a trip to the Department of Motor Vehicles, or you’ll have to go away with nothing, as we had to do last Friday. The man was nice on Friday and did the vision exam, so we knew Eric wouldn’t be turned down for a learner’s permit due to his vision. He took his test yesterday, and he acquired his learner’s permit. We’ll laminate it to keep it in good condition.
Please send me an email sharing any experiences or ideas that I can pass on to our readers in later issues of Consumer Vision. Your correspondence lifts my spirits and is much appreciated.
11. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
Publisher’s note: This column was intended for the March edition. However, due to the author’s email issues, it arrived late.
When March arrives, Daylight Saving Time begins. We look forward to warmer spring and summer weather. However, wintry weather often lingers in the Northeast and the Midwest. There is the welcome sound of chirping sparrows and robins during this changeable month in New England. If there is a mild March in New England, crocuses and daffodils start to bloom.
There are several special days: Ash Wednesday is March 6; Daylight Saving Time arrives Sunday, March 10; and Saint Patrick’s day is Sunday, March 17. According to the NBC meteorologist on Channel 10 in Boston, astronomical spring arrives on March 21, and meteorological spring begins Friday, March 1.
With the season of Lent, Catholics try to abstain from eating meat on Fridays and on Ash Wednesday. I have two meatless recipes, baked codfish and a repeat recipe for Welsh rarebit. Both dishes, if paired with a tossed salad, are delicious light Lenten meals. Simple hot cocoa is good during the winter months
A. Easy Baked Codfish
B. Delicious Welsh Rarebit
C. Good Hot Cocoa
A. Easy Baked Codfish
I have often prepared baked codfish or haddock, but this recipe differs. Gone is the cream sauce, replaced by extra virgin olive oil, butter, spices, lemon juice, and a lighter crumb topping. My friend Claire and I had this dish on Friday afternoon before going to a trivia night at our church. It was delicious with a tossed salad.
Approximately one-half teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
One-half teaspoon butter
Four Ritz crackers
Two tablespoons butter
Dashes of curry powder and salt
One pound cod filets.
1. In a three-quart casserole dish, spread one-half teaspoon extra virgin olive oil and one half-teaspoon of butter over the bottom of the dish.
2. Cut a lemon in half and gently squeeze it twice. Make sure the lemon juice covers the bottom of the casserole dish. Add dashes of curry powder and salt.
3. Place the cod filets in the casserole dish. Turn them after 10 minutes to absorb the lemon juice.
4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, place four Ritz crackers and one-fourth stick or two tablespoons of butter and a dash of curry powder. Blend them and spread crumb mixture over the top of the fish filets.
5. Bake fish for 35 minutes.
While the fish is baking, squeeze a little lemon juice in a bowl and add a little butter. Microwave lemon juice and one teaspoon of butter mixture for 30 seconds. If requested, serve the lemon butter over the fish. It accentuates the delicate flavor of the fish. The fish pairs well with a lovely tossed salad and a banana. This is a good meal to have, especially if you suffer from acid reflux. It’s light and may not cause digestive problems.
(Editor’s note: While most people with heartburn or acid reflex handle bananas well, some others do not. The same is true of apples. I myself can’t tolerate bananas, apples, chocolate, or coffee. – Leonore Dvorkin)
B. Delicious Welsh Rarebit
I had this supper dish for the first time at Perkins during Lent. I liked it but was unable to find a good recipe for it until the 1980s. When reading the out-of-print book Aunt Sammy’s Radio Recipes, I found the recipe I use today. However, I made small changes, using American and cheddar cheese and dashes of mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and optional catsup. It’s good over buttered toast.
One-half stick butter
One-fourth cup flour
Two cups milk
Dashes of mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and optional catsup
Six slices American cheese
One-fourth block sharp or mild cheddar cheese
Four slices well-buttered toast.
1. In a double boiler, melt butter. After five minutes, add flour and stir with a whisk for one minute.
2. Add milk and stir for two minutes. Then stir infrequently for 25-30 minutes. The white sauce will be smooth and thick.
3. Add catsup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir again and add broken-up cheese. Stir it around and continue cooking it for 10 minutes.
4. Warm egg to room temperature. Break it into a small bowl and add one-fourth cup cheese sauce. Beat with a fork or wire whisk for one minute.
5. Put egg-cheese mixture into rarebit. Stir for two minutes. It will thicken the dish.
6. Toast bread in a toaster oven for two minutes. Break it up into bowls or crocks and serve rarebit over it.
Serve this dish with a green salad and a light dessert.
C. Simple Hot Chocolate
Hot chocolate is delicious on cold winter and spring evenings. When you taste this delicious version, you may prefer it to any packaged hot chocolate.
Two to four tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Two to four tablespoons sugar
Two and one-half cups milk
Optional vanilla and whipped cream
One teaspoon water.
1. Put cocoa, sugar, and water in a three-quart saucepan. Stir it around and add milk.
2. Stir hot chocolate mixture around. Do it infrequently for 10 minutes. Keep beverage on low heat.
Serve hot chocolate in mugs alone or with toast, cookies, or ice cream. It is delicious, and I promise you will like it and want to make it for your guests. This recipe serves two.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers read and try some of these recipes. We all look forward to spring and the start of another baseball season. I truly hope our government leaders start learning the forgotten art of compromise. Let us pray for a happier, more trusting country.
by Blake Hill
As the bagpipes played and the songs were sung,
I wondered why my bell hadn’t rung.
She had bright brown eyes and a cheerful smile.
You would be sure to stay awhile.
Judy gave big hugs with an uplifting voice.
You love her because you had no choice.
Now she’s moved on, my heart regrets.
I know some day, I will see you yet.
13. HARRY KILLED MY MOUSE!
by Bruce Atchison
Am I ever glad that I learned Windows keyboard commands. Five years ago, my mouse cord was severed by a buck-toothed, lop-eared house rabbit named Harry.
I had sent my PC to be repaired and neglected to pull the mouse cord onto the table. One thing I’ve discovered in my 11 years while living with bunnies in my home is that they’re addicted to chewing on electrical cords. It must be something in the vinyl that attracts them. Unfortunately, I hadn’t rabbit-proofed the computer room as well as I ought to have done. We all make mistakes and learn from them, right?
Most computer users know little or nothing about these keyboard commands, which can be used in lieu of a mouse. Being almost blind, I must rely upon the keyboard to execute various commands. Here are just a few of the ones I use.
The handiest for escaping from a page or program is ALT F4. The START key, on the bottom left of the keyboard, is one I use often as well. The right mouse button is quite handy for bringing up the context menu. CTRL F brings up the FIND dialogue box. ALT ENTER does a variety of tasks such as tell you the properties of a file or give you a full screen view in Windows Media Player. It depends on which program you’re using it in.
Many Windows users don’t realize that it’s possible to type in certain commands instead of clicking on icons or menu choices. To do this, press the start button and type r for run. A dialogue box appears in which you can type in commands.
I recently discovered that I can type CHKDSK C:/F/R and the computer will perform an error check on the drive when the machine restarts. Isn’t that wonderful? It corrects and repairs removable drives, floppy disks, and thumb drives immediately when their drive letters are typed in place of drive C.
Additionally, I use the Run edit box to find out what is on a floppy or in a folder. For example, I can type E:\WORK and have all the files and folders in that one listed. Isn’t that handy?
Web addresses can also be typed or pasted into the edit box. Isn’t it cool that there are several ways to use this versatile feature? If one way won’t work, you can use another.
One drawback of using keyboard commands is that some programs only operate with mouse clicks. During the time that I was without a mouse, I couldn’t reinstall my printer. None of the many keyboard commands that I had trusted in worked. Once the pastor at my church had soldered the wires together, I was able to move the mouse pointer to the right places.
Apart from that, this is a valuable technique to use in the event of a broken or stubbornly slow mouse. Isn’t it reassuring to know that, in the event of a broken or stubborn mouse, you can still use your keyboard to operate your programs?
Author Bruce Atchison
14. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
First, here is the answer to the question submitted in the March Consumer Vision. New Hampshire is the Granite State. Congratulations to the following winners:
David Baharian of Quincy, Massachusetts
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Leonore Dvorkin of Denver, Colorado
Nancy Hays of Oakville, Connecticut
Susan Jones of Indianapolis,Indiana
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
Amy Stefanik of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Steve Theberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your question for the April Consumer Vision. Who is the Commissioner of the National Hockey League? If you know the answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 508-994-4972.