THE CONSUMER VISION
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford MA 02746
Publisher: Bob Branco
Proofreading and Editing: 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. OF LANGUAGE BOOKS AND A LONG FRIENDSHIP *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
2. BANNING TRADITIONS *** by Bob Branco
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: The Greatest Generation; Reflections on D-Day *** by James R. Campbell
4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Baseball is Back-But at What Price? *** by Don Wardlow
5. WEATHER OR NOT: My Vision for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season *** by Steve Roberts
6. CONTACTLESS SOCIAL DISTANCING *** by Pranav Lal (Praanav R Lal)
7. TURNING POINT *** by Terri Winaught
8. AUTHORS' CORNER
9. THE BLIND ON THE JOB
10. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
11. HOW THE PANDEMIC AFFECTS HUMAN NATURE *** by Bob Branco
12. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
13. TIDBITS FROM TERRI *** by Terri Winaught
14. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
15. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. OF LANGUAGE BOOKS AND A LONG FRIENDSHIP
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
Copyright June 12, 2020
I welcome comments on any of my articles.
Tonight I am finally done with the long, hard job of dealing with the six large boxes of books- mainly in German, but also in French and Spanish, plus a few books in English-that I took from the home of my friend Mary Morris after she died three years ago of cancer, at the age of 84.
To explain what we were to each other: Mary had been my student and friend for over 20 years. Besides studying and reading German with me, she took weight training classes from me for at least 15 years, until she got too ill and weak to do so. We used to eat out together once a month, and always on or close to our birthdays: mine on May 5 and hers on June 14.
Mary had no spouse or descendants, and her only surviving sibling does not live in Colorado. Thus her middle-aged cousin, whose name I'm sorry I don't remember, was left with the burden of having to clean out Mary's small but very full house. She gave Mary's large collection of books in English to a thrift store and a library, but she didn't know what to do with all the foreign language books.
The woman knew that Mary and I had read German literature together for years and that I also knew French and Spanish. So she called me, asking me if I would take all the foreign language books. Impulsively and with a vague sense of obligation, I said yes. When I picked them up, I was shocked to find that the boxes filled up almost the entire back part of my Subaru Outback. But by then, it was too late to say no. I could tell that Mary's cousin was very relieved to be rid of at least those few boxes, as her remaining task was obviously all but overwhelming.
When I got the boxes home and into my study, I was even more distressed. I had just started to get a handle on my own too-numerous books and paper messes, and here were all these additional books to deal with. They weighed heavily on me for a long time. Very gradually over about two years, I managed to process approximately two-thirds of them: keeping some, giving some away to the multi-lingual members of our large Spanish conversation group, and donating others to a local thrift shop, ARC, that takes books in foreign languages.
Once my study was recently repainted by a very talented handyman/painter, I was determined to finally deal with the last of "Mary's boxes." Now, at long last, I have. Our Spanish group is no longer meeting due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but ARC will still take donations if they are taken to a donation station. There is a station near us, and I have three boxes ready to give them: two of books and one more of other items. It will be a huge relief to have them gone.
I think we all know how good clutter-clearing feels. It's exhausting work, but afterwards, one is left lighter, freer, and happier. However, it's especially hard when one is dealing with the possessions of a dead loved one, either a relative or a close friend. Getting rid of the things you know they touched and treasured and viewed with affection and pride leaves you with more than a little guilt. You want to find good homes for all the things that you cannot keep or just plain don't want to keep.
Many of the books from Mary's house were duplicates of volumes that I already owned, so those were the easiest to say goodbye to. A few were so marked up or shabby that I simply threw them away. Others were German crime thrillers, a genre in which I have little interest but which Mary loved. But with dozens of others, I found myself pondering long and hard as to whether I should keep them or give them away. Many of them were thick reference works, quite scholarly, and I finally decided that I would probably never read them, even small portions of them. Some were of interest to me but were printed in tiny print, which my aging eyes can no longer handle. So all those books went.
In the end, I kept at least a hundred others, in the same way that I have kept hundreds of still-unread books of my own in English and in other languages: with the hope that someday I will have both the motivation and the time to read them. For sure, I want to read Mary's books that are English translations of famous German novels, such as Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund. That will take me a lot less time than it would take me to read the same books in German.
Would Mary be happy that I am the one who took all her foreign language books? Would she approve of what I've done with them? I certainly hope so. And while the boxes of books were a burden to me for a long time, I'm now glad that I have something to remember Mary by other than the many cat-themed birthday cards that she gave me over the years. (She was crazy about cats, always owning one and filling her little house with cat-themed decorations.) I have most of the cards on display on a long shelf in our basement workout room; everyone in my exercise classes always found them cute and amusing.
So tonight, several months into the pandemic, which I'm glad she missed, I am saying a second goodbye to Mary Catherine Morris, 1933-2017: tough survivor of a very difficult childhood, lover of languages and music, teacher of cello and piano, diligent lifelong student, lover and protector of animals, enthusiastic exerciser with me and her classmates, and my long-time, very generous and faithful friend.
Rest in peace, dear Mary! Ruhe in Frieden.
About the Author
Leonore H. Dvorkin and her husband, David Dvorkin, have lived in Denver, Colorado, since 1971. They are the authors of a total of 33 published books, both fiction and nonfiction, as well as dozens of essays and articles. Leonore tutors German, Spanish, and English, formerly French as well, and she's taught weight training classes since 1976. Together, she and her husband have been running DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services since 2009. They invite you to visit any of their websites for more information about their books, essays, articles, and services.
Leonore H. Dvorkin: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/
David Dvorkin: http://www.dvorkin.com/
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services: http://www.dldbooks.com/
2. BANNING TRADITIONS
by Bob Branco
As a result of escalating turmoil in this country due to the meaningless death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, a lot of decisions are being made in order to prevent ongoing racism. I understand the human reaction to this problem, but sometimes people go to extreme measures.
For example, the classic television show Cops will no longer be aired because of a growing reaction against the police. Personally, I don't find anything wrong with that program. It brings a little reality to what happens on the police force. Cops has been in syndication for nearly 25 years, and up until now, no one complained about it. Many of you are familiar with the movie Gone with the Wind. It's a classic. In fact, I saw Gone with the Wind at Perkins School for the Blind. It told a great story about people from the South. Now it's not appropriate because of someone's interpretation. It doesn't matter that no one said anything bad about Gone with the Wind for 81 years. However, because a bad cop killed George Floyd, Gone with the Wind is terrible. I don't get it.
Suddenly, there are problems with traditions that have been accepted for years, decades, and even centuries. Since I was old enough to follow football, I never had a problem with the Washington Redskins, nor do I know a single American Indian who does. Despite this acceptance, organizations want to abolish the name. Why? "Redskins" was acceptable when I was growing up. What's wrong with it now? It's the same America. Do we have to be offended by everything because someone believes we should? It sure seems that way, doesn't it? I completely understand why there is a desire to ban a lot of traditions. My only question is, Why now instead of 10, 50, or even 160 years ago, when slavery ended?
Furthermore, if special interest groups continue to eliminate what they believe is evidence of racism, what about the television comedy series All in the Family? In nearly every episode, Archie Bunker makes fun of blacks, gays, Jews, or Hispanics. However, I have yet to hear any activists question that behavior. In much of today's music, black rappers use the N word quite often, yet no one says anything about it.
So Archie Bunker is allowed to insult many cultures. Black singers can say the N word as much as they want. However, activists say that we have to abolish Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, Mrs. Butterworth, the Dixie Chicks, Dixie cups, and Providence Plantations because of how these words and phrases are interpreted. I also heard that we can't say the phrase "master bedroom" anymore because a master is a slave owner.
Why is it that the majority has to continuously kowtow to the minority? I thought the majority always rules. At least that's what I was led to believe. Just in case a special interest group wants to interpret my use of the word "minority," I'd like to explain that in this particular case, "minority" means a small number of people and not necessarily those of color or nationality. A minority group could be a handful of activists who believe that they have the power to abolish anything they want and get away with it because the majority submits to it.
Robert T. Branco is the author of four books, all of them nonfiction, published between 2013 and 2017. Two of them have to do with blindness-related issues and education, and two of them are collections of essays on a wide variety of topics. For full details, cover images, and buying links, see his website: https://www.dldbooks.com/robertbranco/
3. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: The Greatest Generation; Reflections on D-Day
by James R. Campbell
Tuesday, June 6, 1944. The largest amphibious assault in history was underway in Normandy, near the French coast. This event would lead to the downfall of Hitler's Third Reich. Over 250,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches that morning in the beginning of the final phase of the Second World War. Many would not return, and those who did carried lasting memories of the battle that transpired there. It was an event that changed their lives and the world forever.
General Dwight D. Eisenhower had prepared two addresses to give to the world on the evening of that fateful day. Both presentations hinged on the success of the operations that were underway. Thankfully, the valor of the brave men who fought and died on that day brought good news for a war-weary world.
The breakout from the hedgerow country took two months; Paris was liberated by the end of August. Eight more months of hard fighting lay ahead for the Allied armies on the Western Front. The Nazis put up bitter resistance to the advance, especially after the Battle of the Bulge, Hitler's last gambit to stem the tide. Even with the spectacular achievement of the SS troops at the outset, this last-gasp ploy failed.
Looking back, one can't help but speculate as to the kind of world we would be living in today if Germany had won that war. We have a very good idea, based on the horrendous discoveries that were made as the victors closed in for the final showdown. The world would do well to remember what they discovered at the concentration camps that they liberated. Many books have been written about life in the hellholes the Nazis created for the express purpose of ridding the world of Jews and other so-called undesirables. They are too numerous to mention, although The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, by William L. Shirer, is one of the most graphic. My roommate played the entire book on records when we were in high school, and much of what we heard was chilling.
It's hard to believe that even today, there are those who subscribe to the twisted vision of racial superiority that Adolf Hitler envisioned. It becomes apparent that many have not bothered to read the many books or watch the plethora of documentaries that have been made about those dark days. They should, because when the last of the greatest of that time die, those books and films will be the only account of what the world went through in that period of history.
I suppose that not all of us are fully aware of the meaning of the sacrifices made by the men who perished on the bloody beaches of Normandy 76 years ago. Most of us don't think back to that time often enough.
It would help all of us to remember, especially in light of recent events here at home. It has been said that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. When one considers the divisions created by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota, one needs to consider that divisions of this type helped bring Hitler to power in 1933. Nowhere was that more clear than in the 2016 elections. In an article in Rolling Stone magazine that was written a few months before the historic vote that swept President Trump into office, Rudy Giuliani made the following comment: "This is the last election; this is it. There is no more time left."
I hope not. Those of us who study the history of the Third Reich and its aftermath are left with the task of doing what we can to preserve this nation, lest it fall into dictatorship. Whether we succeed or fail will be written for posterity, even if we aren't around to keep it on record.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
James R. Campbell
4. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: Baseball is Back-But at What Price?
by Don Wardlow
By the end of July, baseball will have finally joined the ranks of sports that have started their season. It should have been sooner, but the players' greed got in the way, as it usually does. Bob Branco wrote a better piece on the subject of greed than I could write. As a result of the divisive actions by the union, European soccer, NASCAR, and boxing have all resumed before the great American game.
My theme, then, will be what sticky ribbons have been attached to the gift of baseball in 2020. As with a contract to buy a used car, there's fine print involved.
While certain owners mutter about this, the stands are expected to remain empty during the 2020 season, from July 23 or 24 through the end of September.
The ownership of the Astros, who in the past have shown no compunction about breaking the rules, claim that people will be welcome at their park. While their owner, Jim Crane, said that, numbers of pandemic cases have spiked again in Texas, prompting their governor to consider shutting the state down again. If he does, I can't imagine where the Astros and Rangers will be able to play.
Travel will be as limited as possible this season. If you live in the East and like the Dodgers, or if you live out West and like the Red Sox, it's wait till next year if you want to see them in person. The teams will play a 60-game schedule made up of teams within their own division and the closest teams to them from the other league. So the Red Sox will play the Rays, Yankees, Orioles, and (maybe) the Blue Jays, plus the Mets, Phillies, Nationals, Braves, and Marlins.
Two new rules will be in play, and I can't see the point to either of them.
One is that both leagues will use the DH, or designated hitter. There goes all the strategy we're used to seeing in National League games where the pitchers had to hit.
The other is even more problematic. In extra innings during the regular season, as each team comes to the plate to start the inning, a runner will be put on second base. MLB says this is to limit the time players spend on the field in games that go 15, 17, 20 innings, and beyond. Those are some of my favorite games to listen to, with tension amping up every inning. What could happen is what happens in college football, where during overtime, each team tries its luck from the opposition's 25-yard line. Each side could repeatedly score, and the game could be just as long, just with lower scoring. A 1-1 tie after nine innings could be a 10-9 marathon by the time somebody breaks the tie for good.
Then there's the case of the Toronto Blue Jays. Canada is still off limits to people from the States, and their government at press time had no plans to waive the quarantine law for baseball players. Toronto thought they had a plan B, to play in either Dunedin (pronounced "Dunn Eden"), their spring training site, or at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays. That plan turned out to be no plan at all following massive new outbreaks of COVID-19 in Florida. All spring training sites there and in Arizona have been closed until further notice. This leaves the Blue Jays with nowhere to train and nowhere to play, barring an unexpected move by the Canadian government.
This isn't the first time baseball in Canada has been damaged by external forces. In 1994, the Montreal Expos were cruising toward the National League Eastern Division title, and from there, who knows? 1994 turned out to be the year of the strike, so no postseason was played. Montreal fans were so enraged, they never forgave the Expos' ownership, whether it was their fault or not. The team played to largely empty houses for the next eight years. Eventually, the league had to take over the Expos and move them to Washington in time for the 2005 season.
Through 2018, the Toronto Blue Jays did surprisingly well at the gate, considering they were usually quite a bad team. In 2019, however, they lost almost 7,000 fans per game, the steepest drop in the sport. In addition, Rogers Center is a dome. The local weather is such that the dome needs to be closed more often than open. Considering the paranoia generated by the ongoing crisis, people will probably no sooner go to a dome than they'll board an airplane. What will happen if they can't play in Toronto, nobody can guess. It's as though MLB drew up a plan quickly, the way I write an article, and didn't think to count the cost for one of its teams.
In spite of the new rules, in spite of the fate of the Blue Jays, I'll still be sitting before my computer on Opening Night, July 23 or 24. Play ball!
5. WEATHER OR NOT: My Vision for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season
by Steve Roberts
The sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are at record highs. A hurricane derives much of its power from the warmth of tropical seas. The warmer the water that a hurricane forms over, the stronger that hurricane will become. With the forecast of 3-6 major hurricanes this year, I got to wondering how bad could things actually be.
Based on everything that's unfolding out in the Atlantic, it's my opinion that we have a 70% chance of seeing a hurricane that is of unprecedented strength. We will refer to this hurricane as Hurricane X. Hurricane X has three chances to make weather history.
A Record for the Atlantic Basin
In September of 1988, Hurricane Gilbert achieved the lowest pressure ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere, at 888 millibars. That record stood for over 17 years. Gilbert established that record on September 13.
It took 17 years, one month, and six days, but Gilbert's record fell at the hands of Hurricane Wilma. At her peak intensity, Wilma's central pressure fell to 882 millibars, the lowest ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere. On October 19, 2005, Wilma made history.
Ten years and four days later, Hurricane Patricia surpassed Wilma's fury. At her peak, Patricia had a minimum central pressure of 872 millibars, shattering Wilma's pressure record.
Because Patricia formed out in the Eastern Pacific, Wilma still holds the top spot for lowest pressure in the Atlantic basin. Should Hurricane X achieve a minimum central pressure of 881 millibars or lower, it would set an intensity record for the Atlantic basin.
Could Hurricane X Have the Lowest Pressure on Earth?
Hurricane X could go on to become the strongest tropical cyclone on record for the planet. Before passing this off as mere weather science fiction, consider this: Hurricane Patricia's Western Hemispheric pressure record of 872 millibars is just two millibars away from Typhoon Tip's global pressure record of 870 millibars. Hurricane X could conceivably break Patricia's Western Hemispheric pressure record while establishing a global pressure record at the same time. Any hurricane that surpasses Patricia could conceivably also surpass Tip. Should this happen, Hurricane X would be amazing in many ways.
First, hurricanes in the Pacific are stronger as a group than those in the Atlantic. To have a global stand-out in the Atlantic would be incredible.
Second, if Hurricane X establishes a pressure record for the Western Hemisphere, it would make Patricia's standing at the top the shortest ever, at five years or less.
Finally, Hurricane X could go on to achieve three different records: one for the Atlantic, one for the Western Hemisphere, and another for the planet.
If the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season does not bring us a hurricane of record strength, the decade of the 2020s will, as our warming world will go on to fuel such a fury. There is a caveat here. A hyperactive hurricane season does not make a Category 5 hurricane inevitable. The 1995 hurricane season was hyperactive, but there were no Category 5 hurricanes.
Steven P. Roberts is the author of two books. Those are the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather (C 2014) and a weather-related novel called The Great Winter Hurricane (C 2015). For cover images, synopses, free text samples, author bio, and handy buying links, see his website: https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenproberts/
6. CONTACTLESS SOCIAL DISTANCING
by Pranav Lal (Praanav R Lal)
Social distancing is not new and has been adopted during pandemics routinely. Many scriptures have references to it. This does not help you much when you're blind and have to get someplace. Yes, there are approaches like holding the shoulder of the escort, but what if you want zero contact? Given today's level of paranoia, that may be where we're heading. People are refusing to shake hands, but shaking hands and helping a blind person across the street are different propositions.
I'll go from the low-technology to the high-technology approaches. When I discuss the high-technology solutions, I'll focus on solutions you can get readily, even perhaps in a lockdown situation.
Let the Escort Hold the Cane
This is probably the easiest approach. Let the escort hold your cane and direct you. This may become difficult in crowded places. In that case, try to half-fold the cane and then navigate.
Holding a Bit of Cloth
This is the same approach, but instead of your cane, the escort holds a bit of cloth. This is roughly the technique some blind runners use. However, you need a bit of cloth handy, and you will want to wash it after the interaction.
Ultrasonic Mobility Aides
There are a fair number of mobility aides today that use ultrasound. They vibrate when you get close to an object, and the closer you get, the stronger and faster the vibration. Examples of such aides are the buzz clip, the SmartCane from Saksham, and the Miniguide. In many cases, you can set a range at which you are alerted. Setting the range will give you an exact idea of how far someone is from you. For example, many long-distance modes of these devices have ranges of 6 feet. If your range is set that way, and your detector alerts you, then you know you need to be careful.
Using Artificial Vision
There are many approaches that are under trial today for giving the blind sight. Some of these have made it into the real world, and if you can get hold of the hardware, then using these approaches is a good idea. This is because they will yield richer information about the environment and will answer the question, "What is that?"
Most ultrasonic aides tell you there is an obstacle but don't tell you what it is. You can certainly probe it and build a mental map that way, but that operation is not possible in busy places like railway stations. You need something that will give you a lot of information quickly. This is where sensory substitution technology like the vOICe comes into its own. It converts live camera views to sound. It is non-invasive and uses a defined sound scheme to allow your brain to infer the visual characteristics of a scene. It is immersive, and you can therefore get a lot of information quickly. The sound scheme conveys the texture, relative width, relative height, and brightness of an object. You can also perceive movement and with some practice begin to infer what you're looking at. This way, you can track where your sighted escort is going and even try to follow him. The vOICe is platform agnostic and can run on a mobile phone. It uses off-the-shelf hardware; hence you can use an existing device to run the program.
There are other devices, such as the EyeCane, but these are not readily available, and many of them, such as the tongue display, are very expensive. I don't cover them here because I'm focusing on solutions you can implement immediately. If you own any of these solutions, feel free to comment and tell us how you are using it to maintain social distance.
To conclude, we have options to keep ourselves safe and to maintain social distance. It's up to us to use them and change our narrative.
About the Author in His Own Words
My name is Pranav Lal, better known in my writing world as Praanav R Lal. I write nonfiction and short stories that are hard to classify but tend towards fantasy and science fiction. I don't give my characters any breathers and enjoy keeping the action sharp and continuous. I use a visual prosthesis, thanks to which I'm a photographer. I enjoy technology, particularly cyber security, which is what pays the bills. I love interacting, so feel free to comment or say hello.
Appendix for the solutions mentioned in this article.
List of links to devices.
The Saksham SmartCane - https://smartcane.saksham.org
The BuzzClip - https://www.imerciv.com/
The Sunu Band - https://www.sunu.com/en/index.html
The Miniguide - http://www.gdp-research.com.au/minig_1.htm
The UltraCane - https://www.ultracane.com/about_the_ultracane
The vOICe - http://www.seeingwithsound.com
7. TURNING POINT
by Terri Winaught
As a person who is white, I can only try my hardest and do my best to imagine and empathize with the ongoing hurt and trauma African Americans are experiencing as White police officers continue to murder unarmed Black men. Given how deeply rooted such ongoing behaviors and their resulting trauma are, how do Black Americans start to heal?
An important way that such healing begins and represents a turning point is the ability to find therapists who can provide culturally competent and trauma-informed care. To do this, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers books, videos, and appropriate referrals. Pittsburgh residents can reach NAMI of Southwestern Pennsylvania: (412) 366-3788. Another option is to visit www.nami.org to find the toll-free NAMI helpline in Alexandria, Virginia.
There's no better turning point than the ability and encouragement of hurting hearts to start healing.
Recovery Services Coordinator
330 South 9th Street, Room 133
Pittsburgh, PA 15203-1266
8. AUTHORS' CORNER
Three books are below, listed after the letters A, B, and C. The first is a novel, and the other two are nonfiction.
A. Heaven's Doorway
A novel by Mary Alice Baluck / C 2020
In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
484 pages in print.
Cover image, author bio, free text sample, and direct buying links:
Three countries. Three generations. Three strong women.
Set between the late 1800s and the 1920s in Ireland, Canada, and the United States, this is a story of deep love and tragic loss, of rejection and eventual acceptance, and of moral progress from self-centeredness to compassion. Even the citizens of Herron's Point mature beyond their provincial narrow-mindedness as the town grows in size and popularity in the new century.
After young Brigid Walsh marries Patrick Mahoney, she moves with him from Ireland to Canada. When Patrick is killed, she quickly goes from prosperity to a life of unrelenting hard work running a boarding house.
Maggie Mahoney, Brigid's daughter, works as hard as any servant. At the same time, her mother provides her with a good education and dreams of bright marital prospects for her beautiful daughter. When those dreams are shattered in a terrible way, Brigid cannot accept either the truth or the good man who comes to Maggie's rescue. Fleeing rejection by both her mother and the town, Maggie and Tim cross Lake Erie to the United States.
Maura Ryan, Maggie's daughter, loses her father and then her mother at an early age, but she and her younger brother find a home with their Uncle Jack and his family in Buffalo, New York. Later, the bright and hardworking Maura thrives as a bookkeeper for Jack's lumber business. Love and unexpected fortune both come her way, but so do tragic revelations connected with her mother's past.
Along with the dozens of well-drawn characters, Lake Erie is an abiding and powerful presence: sometimes menacing, but much more often majestic and calming. The glorious sunsets, a glimpse of "Heaven's doorway," are a lovely visual leitmotif.
About the Author
Mary Alice Baluck is 92 years old, the mother of six children, and a retired English teacher. She currently lives in a retirement home in Youngstown, Ohio. This is her first novel, and others are to come. She thanks her family members and the staff at The Blackburn Home for their encouragement and their technological assistance in making her long-held literary dreams come true.
The book was edited and prepared for publication by David and Leonore Dvorkin of DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services.
B. When Your Ears Can't Help You See: Strategies for Blind or Low Vision Individuals with Hearing Loss
by Deborah Kendrick
For details, see www.nbp.org (National Braille Press).
Below is a brief summary of the book by the writer David L. Faucheux.
Columnist, technical writer, adaptive tech instructor, and disability advocate Deborah Kendrick turns from escorting us through the healthcare system as blind individuals with her 2019 book Navigating Healthcare: When All They See Is That You Can't to a different aspect of self-help with her just-published title When Your Ears Can't Help You See: Strategies for Blind or Low Vision Individuals with Hearing Loss. In 24,400 words divided among 11 chapters, Kendrick explores the terrain of hearing loss as a blind person based on several decades of personal experience and hard-won mastery.
This summary of the book is the introduction to a 1,000-word review of the book that David Faucheux wrote at the request of Deborah Kendrick. David was named 2018 Audiobook Reviewer of the Year by Library Journal. He is the author of Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile (2017) and the abridgement of that book, Selections from Across Two Novembers: A Bibliographic Year (2019). For full details, see his website: https://www.dldbooks.com/davidfaucheux/
You will be able to read the full review in the August 2020 ACB Braille Forum:
C. Keeping Romance Alive After Children Arrive:
How to Thrive in a Loving and Passionate Marriage While Raising a Happy Family
by Toni Erickson, MSW, LCSW
"The Marriage Mentor"
C 2017 / In e-book and print from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
Reissued with a new cover photo and updated author information in June 2020.
Full details, free text sample, and buying links: https://www.dldbooks.com/tonierickson/
Having a baby is a beautiful experience, but it can create considerable strain on a marriage. This book was written to help partners maintain a strong and loving relationship during pregnancy, after the baby comes, and into the future. It provides valuable information, skills, tools, and strategies to help couples remain close, intimate, and romantic during and after this challenging period.
About the Author:
Toni Erickson has been a psychotherapist since 1986, as well as a relationship coach, mediator, and educator. She is the mother of four grown children with families of their own. Toni's passion is to help parents have long, loving relationships, so they can create happy and enduring families. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband.
9. THE BLIND ON THE JOB
I am a full-time employee of the Department of Human Services. My position is rated as Clerk Typist II. My duties involve the gathering of information from clients who call or leave voicemail messages. My responsibilities include the verification of data, analyzing it, and determining which caseworker receives the forwarded results.
This is a Civil Service position and requires the satisfactory completion of an examination. The Civil Service test includes elements of mathematics, analysis of spoken or written text, and the correct interpretation of scenarios provided. Reasonable accommodations are provided to the visually impaired where current screen reading technology is unable to provide satisfactory results. Other than the adjustments described, no special accommodations are to be expected by any applicant.
If the applicant achieves satisfactory results, he or she is contacted and a personal interview is arranged.
JOHN AND LINDA JUSTICE
10. THE HANDLER'S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Summer greetings to all from New Rochelle, New York. We are slowly creeping out from under the COVID-19 limitations and have progressed to Phase Two. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I feel a little beaten up; my thoughts go out to anyone who has lost loved ones due to the virus, as I did. But the human spirit is resilient, and we go on.
Speaking of being resilient, we lost our beloved Verona, my first guide dog, who has been retired for five years. She was euthanized a few weeks ago at age 13 after collapsing and refusing to eat and drink. She embodied the best things loved in a dog, and she will be missed. Below is a short essay written about our summer trips to Greenwood Lake.
"The Lake Labrador" -- August 2011
She knew where we were as soon as we pulled into the parking lot.
Are we at the free place? she seemed to say. I love this place. I get to swim, run free, and poop in the woods.
We unloaded the truck, weaved through the other guests on the way to our room, and settled in for a fun, relaxing afternoon. Verona and my daughter played in the lake for an hour. The funniest thing was the way she would blow water from her mouth after dropping the stick. It made her lips puff out and made a loud, spitting sound that I could hear from the patio.
When the geese and ducks realized she was visiting, they left the grass and stayed in the lake weeds near the dock. It was a thrill to see her body stiffen, her head and tail go up when she saw them. It made me feel proud to share this time together, giving her back to her instincts for just a little while.
She's going to be five years old, I thought. The time goes by so fast. Each and every year we have together is a blessing, a time for me to feel unfettered. Free.
As we stand and watch the birds quack and waddle down the hill toward the edge of the lake, I try to think back on the way life was before training with Verona, but my mind veers from those dark moments and I let them go. We are here, being warmed by the late afternoon sun, taking in the freshwater aromas. We are dog and woman, partners for however long time and fate permit.
I place a hand on her glossy head and stroke it; she gives me a quick poke with her nose before returning to watching the ducks paddle away in the sun-dappled water.
A note from Leonore Dvorkin:
Ann Chiappetta is the author of four outstanding books thus far, all of which I have had the privilege of editing. They are as follows:
1. Upwelling: Poems (C 2016)
2. Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust (C 2017)
3. Words of Life: Poems and Essays (C 2019) The above essay was published in this book.
4. A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future (C 2020)
Ann's first novel is currently in progress. A String of Stories includes a moving excerpt from it.
All of Ann's books are for sale in e-book and print formats on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com. Her website includes cover images, synopses, free text samples, and direct buying links for all the books.
11. HOW THE PANDEMIC AFFECTS HUMAN NATURE
by Bob Branco
Before I discuss my topic, let me just say that I understand the severity of the coronavirus. During this pandemic, I'd like to think that I have enough common sense to do all the right things in order to protect myself, my wife, and everyone else.
We've all heard the same instructions repeatedly for over three months, as if we were children. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Use hand sanitizer as much as possible. Stay home. Practice social distancing. Etc.
As far as social distancing is concerned, I do not like the term at all. Although I understand what it means and why we should do it, the term implies limitations on how we socialize. This may affect some of us spiritually and emotionally. Humans need personal interaction in order to thrive. I would rather say physical distancing, safe distancing, or healthy distancing. After all, we can still socialize if we're six feet apart from each other. Another term that bothers me is "new normal." If something is new, it's not normal, yet. I prefer the old normal, thank you very much.
Throughout this pandemic, I have always felt that many of the new regulations are very inconsistent. As a result, many people are not taking them seriously. In other words, it's okay to do it here, but not over there. You can do it during the day, but not at night. You can do it outside, but not inside. You can do it on a golf course, but not at a basketball court. You can shop in store X, but not in store Y.
The governor of Rhode Island is very upset because beaches were crowded last weekend. People were out in large masses, with little or no physical distancing. Personally, I don't think this was an act of rebellion or civil disobedience. I think it's all about being human. Let's face it. Since the beginning of the pandemic, government officials have asked us not to practice much in the way of humanity. We are not supposed to socialize normally. We are not supposed to hug or shake hands. We are not supposed to hold large parties in honor of our loved ones. For the most part, we cannot visit the sick in a nursing home when they need us the most. These activities were taught at a young age because they are acts of kindness and affection. This is a part of being human, and it remains with us forever. Therefore, how can the existence of a pandemic take that away from us?
I run weekly coronavirus support group meetings on a conference line, and one of the biggest problems that people have is the inability to practice a lot of human kindness because of a government regulation. It doesn't matter how important the regulation is. It's so sad to hear people tell me that they can't hug anybody. You can hear the anguish in their voices when they describe how it feels. I can imagine that it feels quite empty and lonely. Years ago, I heard a psychiatric report recommending that we hug one another five times a day. I guess the pandemic is interfering with what's best for us psychologically. Can you imagine if the governor walked into your home and asked you to distance yourself from your partner or spouse?
For now, we all must put up with the terms social distancing and new normal while we battle against the coronavirus. To me, it's a battle between the virus and forms of humanity. We all hope that humanity wins out.
12. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
Who blogs at http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com
I read an email which announced that the year is already half over. Wow! How time has passed.
On January 2, I received a notice of nonrenewal of my lease from my landlord. I had lived there two years, and fully expected to stay for another year. I was shocked, bewildered, and fighting the sickness I'm still fighting today. Nevertheless, we found a new place to live that cost thousands of dollars and expended energy I didn't have.
Now that I've moved, I'm thankful to that landlord. I found out his true nature and no longer have to deal with him. I now live in a four-bedroom rental house that costs just a little more than my previous abode of three bedrooms with a lot more space and more quiet and privacy. We even have a back yard and no downstairs neighbors. My nonrenewal notice turned out to be a good birthday present.
We moved to this house in March. We were in the midst of moving when Governor Tom Wolfe instituted our stay-at-home order. Isaac, my son who was a senior at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, was on a mission trip to the Czech Republic. Due to the closure of the schools in the Czech Republic, he had to come home early-not just from the mission trip, but from college as well.
Although Eric, Zachary, and I were elated to have Isaac home early, we had to find him a bed. We didn't have the time or strength to shop around, so we browsed Amazon. We bought a full-size, 10-inch, medium-feel memory foam and innerspring hybrid mattress for $220 at www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07R127PFC, and separately a full-size HAAGEEP platform bed frame. The link for the full frame is no longer on Amazon, so I'll give you the link for the Queen frame. At the end of February, Eric and I purchased two HAAGEEP 18-inch Queen bed frames for $115 each, www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RW6GZ45, for Eric and me. Isaac loves his mattress and bed frame, and Eric and I love our bed frames. With the frame being 18 inches high and sturdy, and a box spring being unnecessary, we can revel in the extra under-bed storage. It's a terrific location for my bin of purses and bins of yarn.
Another wonderful material addition to our household is Downy Unstopables In-Wash Scent Boosters. Gain and other companies also produce these scent beads for laundry. We had stacks and stacks of dirty laundry in garbage bags in the wet basement of our old place. The clothes and bedding were mildewing. We were concerned that we might have to throw them all out, or at least do several washes of each load to redeem them. They had to be in garbage bags as part of the cleanup and procedures we had to follow for eliminating our bedbug problem. I am happy to report we are done with the bedbug problem, and we are still using Downy Unstopables, which come in a variety of fragrances, to manage our laundry.
Now we're getting settled. I'm still adjusting to the neighborhood, and Isaac is adjusting from college life to being a part of the family again. He is the youth pastor of our home church, Bellevue Christian Church. I am still sick and will be for a while, until I receive the needed medical care from a dermatologist. This was pushed back to August 25 because of Covid-19.
I have so much more to share but will save it for future issues of Consumer Vision. Please email me and let me know if there are any product additions or circumstances that have helped you.
13. TIDBITS FROM TERRI
by Terri Winaught
Hello, Consumer Vision readers.
Although I said this last time, it bears repeating how happy I am to be back with you, sharing insights and receiving feedback. Speaking of insights, if there are any two words that best describe the state in which American society has found itself, especially since Memorial Day, those words are "turbulent" and "tumultuous."
To say that the death of George Floyd on May 25 was both tragic and unnecessary is to put it mildly! While I can readily appreciate the need police officers sometimes have to use force, never should that be excessive.
In addition to numerous expressions of hurt and anger, there have also been conversations about the need for police reform and what that would be like. To some, reform means police using more de-escalation. To others it constitutes defunding law enforcement and diverting those funds to social work and other community-based initiatives. Since that latter approach to policing has been successful in Camden, New Jersey, since its implementation in 2013, I think there is much to be said for a more community-oriented approach. That said, I also think that defunding is appropriate only if and when it can be replaced by a more community-oriented model.
A final note about this topic before moving on is that many seem to misunderstand the rallying cry "Black lives matter." In response, these individuals say, "All lives matter." Indeed, that's very true. To clarify then what I have been told by some of my African-American colleagues, what is being expressed by saying "Black lives matter" is not that other lives don't matter, but that Black lives matter, too, given the extent to which systemic racism has conveyed the premise that Black lives don't matter.
Moving on to my final topic, my heart goes out to and is filled with compassion for the residents of states where the coronavirus has returned with a vengeance If any of you have contracted this virus, I wish you a quick and comfortable recovery. I hope that no Consumer Vision readers or their family members have died of COVID-19, but if any have, condolences, compassion, and a peaceful rest.
Because I always welcome and encourage reader feedback, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . (I am currently without a home computer. Phone (412) 595-6187, or send braille letters only to: Terri Winaught: 400 Cochran Road, Apt. 409, Pittsburgh, PA 15228.
Take care, stay safe, and thanks for reading with me.
14. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
As July arrives, we look forward to long, very warm summer days and evenings. There is the excitement of another Fourth of July and trips and vacations. However, the summer of 2020 differs because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fourth of July large gatherings and concerts have been canceled across the U.S. Many citizens have postponed or canceled vacation plans, deciding to stay home or within their state. However, most indoor dining with limited capacity is open. Ice-cream stands and outdoor seafood restaurants are open across New England states. Vegetables, herbs, and flowers are in bloom. By mid- to late July, ears of corn, blueberries, and sweet basil are available.
July Fourth is on a Saturday this year. The ACB convention begins Friday, July 3. Both it and the NFB convention, which begins in late June, are virtual.
Clam and Rice Soup
Herbed Stir-Fried Zucchini
A. Clam and Rice Soup
On Thursday, June 25, I was anticipating preparing a mock-crab Newburg. I had made the cream sauce. I opened the can and discovered minced clams instead of crabmeat. How would it blend with leftover rice? I discovered one more soup recipe.
The cream sauce:
Four tablespoons butter
Four tablespoons all-purpose flour
One and three-fourths cup whole milk
Dashes of curry, dried chives, and salt
One-half cup heavy cream
One six-ounce can minced clams with their liquid
Approximately one and one-half cup leftover rice.
1. In a double boiler, melt butter on low heat. After five to seven minutes, add one-fourth cup flour. Stir for one and a half minutes until mixture is smooth.
2. Add milk and spices. Infrequently stir sauce over low to medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
While sauce is thickening, put a tablespoon of butter in a one-quart saucepan. Preheat it for five minutes on low heat. Add clams and their liquid. Cook clams and liquid for ten minutes. Add the rice; stir and cook for 10 minutes. Pour cream into the thickened sauce. Let it cook for ten minutes. Pour the rice and clam mixture into the sauce.
3. Stir the soup around for a minute with a metal or plastic stirring spoon. Simmer soup until serving time.
Serve it with oyster crackers or Ritz crackers and a green salad.
B. Chocolate Pancakes
I was nine. It was a hot August morning. My friend and I walked into the kitchen after sleeping in a tent in my parents' back yard. We were greeted by the delicious smell of pancakes. It was one of my favorite breakfast treats. They were delicious, flavored with chocolate. My mom served these hot pancakes with margarine and maple syrup. It was a memorable breakfast.
In 2017, I found a recipe for chocolate pancakes in the digital edition of the January-February edition of Good Old Days magazine. I made them in May 2020, and they were delicious. They are easy to prepare. However, I used one-fourth instead of one-third cup cocoa and two eggs. I also used whole milk instead of buttermilk.
One cup milk
Two tablespoons melted butter
One cup flour
One-fourth cup cocoa
One-fourth cup sugar
One-half teaspoon baking soda
One-fourth teaspoon salt.
1. Mix eggs, milk, and cooled butter together in a small mixing bowl. After whisking dry ingredients together in a larger mixing bowl, add wet ingredients. Stir for two minutes until they are combined. Batter may be a bit lumpy.
2. Preheat a 10-12-inch cast iron skillet with vegetable oil or butter. With a one-fourth cup measure, pour pancake batter into skillet.
3. Cook pancakes for four minutes on each side at medium heat. You can tell when a pancake is cooked on one side when you can successfully slide a pancake turner underneath it to flip it.
Serve pancakes with butter and real maple syrup. As a dessert, they are good with vanilla or chocolate ice cream.
C. Herbed Stir-Fried Zucchini
I'm glad when I can buy zucchini and make a light summer supper of stir-fried zucchini flavored with garlic, basil, olive oil, curry, and chives.
One-half clove of garlic
One small onion
Optional dashes of curry, chives, sweet basil, and olive oil
Dash of salt
Optional one teaspoon of butter.
1. Preheat small cast-iron frying pan with olive oil and optional butter on low heat. Add chopped garlic, spices, and onion.
2. On cutting board, cut zucchini lengthwise into thin slices. Put in skillet. Add fresh or dried sweet basil.
3. Cook zucchini on low to medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes on one side. Turn zucchini over using a large metal or silicone turner. Cook the other side for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve this dish alone with a salad. I once served this as an appetizer. Our family gathered at a late summer barbecue at our home on Marden Street in Fitchburg. It's a good accompaniment for barbecued chicken or burgers.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers and listeners have a fun-filled July with outings with family and friends. Let us pray for a more peaceful America where everyone can learn to get along despite any differences. Remember we have been the country the world has looked up to because of our enviable democracy.
15. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the June Consumer Vision. On Leave it to Beaver, Clarence's nickname was Lumpy. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida
Amy Branco of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Trish Hubschman of Easton, Pennsylvania
Robert Sollars of Tempe, Arizona
And now, here is your trivia question for the July edition. Name the former President of the United States who only served one month in office. If you know the answer, please email email@example.com, or call 508-994-4972.