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. A NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER
2. HEALTH MATTERS: Help for the Bones and the Brain / Some Surprising News About Music and Creativity *** by Leonore Dvorkin
3. TECH CORNER: Going Places Sensibly *** by Stephen Théberge
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: An Act of Cowardice *** by James R. Campbell
5. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: For Major Leaguers, No Need for Mercy *** by Don Wardlow
6. WEATHER OR NOT: Stronger Hurricanes and Sea Level Rise *** by Steve Roberts
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
9. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
10. AUGUST RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
11. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
1. A NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHER
Hello, Consumer Vision readers.
I am pleased to announce that this edition of Consumer Vision is our 100th. There are three reasons why we have successfully reached this milestone: our professional editing staff, excellent writers, and dedicated readers. It took us 13 years to reach 100 publications, and I extend my appreciation for those who have been contributing to Consumer Vision’s quality and success.
On another note, we have added a sports feature that helps give more variety to our magazine. I hope you enjoy Don Wardlow’s columns as much as I do. Don speaks from the heart about all aspects of sports, and we are delighted to have him as part of our writing team.
Now, here’s a suggestion from Leonore Dvorkin, one of our two editors. In the interest of maintaining our readers' interest in this newsletter and improving it, we're asking your opinion. Are there any regular features that you particularly like? Are there any that you feel could be eliminated? Is there any other type of article that you'd like to see added? And how about articles by guest writers? Would you like to see more of those? Please feel free to send your feedback to me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you would like to contribute a guest article, please consult me beforehand regarding the proposed subject matter. Also, remember that the article should have a maximum length of 1,000 words. That number excludes the title, your name, and any concluding information about you, such as your website URL or your email address.
I hope you all have a blessed day and continue enjoying the variety of topics that we present to you.
Publisher, Consumer Vision
2. HEALTH MATTERS
Help for the Bones and the Brain / Some Surprising News About Music and Creativity
by Leonore Dvorkin / September 2019
Leonore welcomes comments from readers on her articles.
Note: After the title of each piece of news, the source is given in parentheses.
1. Physical activity at any intensity linked to lower risk of early death
A multi-national team of researchers has produced clear evidence that increased physical activity, regardless of intensity, is associated with a lower risk of early death in middle-aged and older people. Sitting for more than 9.5 hours a day (apart from sleeping time) is associated with an increased risk of death. Even light-intensity activity was shown to help. Examples are walking slowly, cooking, or washing dishes. Moderate-level activity includes anything that makes you breathe harder, such as brisk walking. The bottom line is that doing something, virtually anything, is better than doing nothing. Perhaps the public health message should not be that you have to do a certain number of hours per week of moderate to vigorous exercise, but rather that you should sit less and move more, more often.
2. How listening to music “significantly impairs” creativity
(Science Daily, 2/27/19)
The popular view is that listening to music enhances creativity, but British and Swedish researchers have shown otherwise. Using a variety of tasks testing verbal creativity, they found that background music significantly impaired people’s ability to complete the tasks, but that “steady state” background noise, such as in a library, did not impair creativity. It made no difference whether the music had no lyrics, unfamiliar lyrics, or familiar lyrics. It also made no difference whether the music boosted mood or was liked by the participants, or whether the participants typically studied to music. All music disrupted creative performance in insight problem solving. Researchers suggest that this may be because music disrupts verbal working memory.
A personal note: I’m now 73. I was never in the habit of listening to music all that much when studying, reading, editing, or writing, but I did find that any music had to be purely instrumental, without words. However, for a few years, now, I’ve found that I cannot listen to music at all when dealing with words, and most especially when I need to be creative in any way. That is, I can concentrate far better without music. Thus I was gratified to read about this study, as it showed me that my choice of silence when I am here at home working with words is a good one.
3. Osteoporosis drugs linked to reduced risk of premature death
(Science Daily, 8/12/19)
Two studies led by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research revealed that in over 6,000 individuals, taking nitrogen-bisphosphonates, which are common osteoporosis drugs, reduced the risk of premature mortality by 34% over the 15 years after starting treatment. The reduction in mortality rate was associated with a reduction of bone loss compared with no treatment. After the age of 50, 40% of women and 25% of men will have an osteoporotic fragility fracture, which puts them at risk of further fractures. However, fewer than 30% of women and 20% of men with fragility fractures are taking approved treatments for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects about 200 million people worldwide and is a progressive disease. The researchers say they hope these study results will encourage those with osteoporosis to seek treatment and commit to taking the medication.
A personal note: Last year, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. That is not a complete surprise, as both my mother and my maternal grandmother had it. I have no other risk factors that I can identify. I am not thin, have lifted weights since the mid-1960s, do not smoke, do not drink soft drinks (the dark ones weaken the bones), and consume plenty of calcium and Vitamin D. But I could not beat genetics. Thus I was prescribed one of the many common osteoporosis medications: alendronate sodium, 35 mg tablets. A generic, it costs me only $3 for four tablets; I take one tablet per week. So far, I have no side effects at all. My next DEXA bone scan will tell me and my doctor how well the medication is working. The scan is paid for by Medicare.
4. Regular exercise may slow decline in those at risk of Alzheimer’s
According to a University of Wisconsin study, at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week appears to not only be good for memory and cognitive functioning as people age, but also help prevent the development of physical signs of Alzheimer’s, known as biomarkers, in those who are at risk of the disease. Greater aerobic fitness is the most significant factor. The total aerobic fitness score incorporated age, sex, body mass index, resting heart rate, and self-reported physical activity.
A personal note: My father had Alzheimer’s. Thus I am eager to do all that I can to avoid the same fate. I now use our treadmill and semi-recumbent exercise bike for at least three hours a week, in addition to doing four to five hours per week of weight training, exercising with dumbbells, barbells, and ankle weights. I have various leg and foot problems that make it impossible for me to run on the treadmill, but I do walk briskly, enough to work up a light sweat. My endurance and my liking for aerobic exercise are increasing steadily.
5. Lower Your Risk of Glaucoma
(National Glaucoma Research Report, Spring 2019)
A personal note: I have glaucoma, now well-controlled with prescription medicated drops, Combigan brand. Coffee irritates my eyes, so I stick to tea.
a. Maintain a healthy weight.
b. Keep your blood pressure at a normal level.
c. Don’t smoke.
d. Limit caffeine to moderate levels.
e. Try to exercise daily. Suggested here are walking, swimming, or working in the yard.
f. Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing a hat and sunglasses. (A hat protects your skin, too.)
g. Get regular, comprehensive eye exams, and consult your eye doctor if you notice changes in your vision.
h. If you are African American, using prescription eye drops could cut your risk of getting glaucoma in half.
i. From online: Dark green, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables provide valuable nutrients. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be bought as a combined supplement. My eye doctor recommended this combination.
About the Author:
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, the author David Dvorkin, live in Denver, Colorado. Leonore writes, edits books, teaches languages, and teaches exercise classes. David is the author of 29 books, both fiction and nonfiction. His most recent book is When We Landed on the Moon: A Memoir, about his work at NASA on the Apollo program, including Apollo 11. Go here for details and a free text preview: http://www.dvorkin.com/moonland / The book is in e-book ($2.50) and print ($8.50) on Amazon and other book-buying sites.
Leonore has four published books: a novel (Apart from You), a one-act fantasy play (The Glass Family), her breast cancer memoir (Another Chance at Life: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Journey), and that last book in Spanish (Una nueva oportunidad a la vida: El camino de una sobreviviente de cáncer de seno). The breast cancer book was translated by a Peruvian woman whose husband is a physician. Almost all of the Dvorkins’ 33 books are available in e-book and print on Amazon and other book-buying sites, and a few are in audio from Audible. The e-books are text-to-speech enabled.
Together, David and Leonore run DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. Since 2009, they have produced more than 75 books for more than 45 authors. Bob Branco, Stephen Théberge, and Steve Roberts, whose writings appear regularly in this newsletter, are three of their many blind clients. David and Leonore’s comprehensive services include thorough editing, formatting, cover design, authors’ Web pages, and more, all for very reasonable prices.
3. TECH CORNER: Going Places Sensibly
by Stephen Théberge
I think the letters GPS should stand for “Going Places Sensibly” rather than Global Positioning Satellite. With my progressively worsening vision, it is essential to have a good app to help me navigate my environment.
Yesterday was a great practical learning experience in my own neighborhood. My vision was down to light perception. Luckily, I have prepared for days like these with my bad eyesight. I was using the Soundscape app on my iPhone to help locate a landmark. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the signal and GPS accuracy were not very helpful. I did learn that I was going the wrong way on a certain street and was just having a bad day in terms of orientation to my environment.
Earlier, I had taken an Uber home. I made it a point to tell the driver a specific and efficient way to get to my house. Sure enough, the GPS gave a much longer route, detouring the driver off the highway. I am often amazed at how inaccurate a GPS app can be. There are certain cases when a detour will get you out of street traffic, but this isn’t always reliable. Many people wrongly assume that GPS can somehow replace a good sense of direction or can magically get you to where you want to go. My Uber driver informed me that eventually the app will get you there no matter how many mistakes you make, but it’s always better to know where you are and where you want to be. Common sense always prevails. Although I live in southeastern Massachusetts, going toward Cape Cod, there was no logical reason for the driver to go on a road in the direction that the GPS was heading us. It was taking the driver too far east before putting us back on the preferred route. At least the driver was willing to trust my judgment.
Not all GPS applications are created equal. One of them I use tells me when a landmark is behind me. It’s also good at telling me where things are in terms of the face of an old-fashioned clock. It’s good to know my landmark is 25 feet away at four o’clock. Of course, there are times when GPS apps are simply wrong.
At first, I thought Soundscape was not good. You could set a beacon, such as your house, or different places you wanted to go. The app rarely tells the direction to the beacon, but it does tell you how far away you are from it. One of my O & M instructors had told me that she had heard that the app had great reviews, so I decided to give it a second look.
When it works well, it’s a very good app. It tells you what intersections you are approaching and even informs you of bus stops you’re getting close to. It even tells you that you’re in a crosswalk. Where the orientation and mobility skills come in is when you have a bad signal or get really lagging information, or the information is ahead of where it should be in real time.
One time it told me I was in a crosswalk well after I had crossed a street. Another time, it said I was in a crosswalk before I got to the street crossing. Some GPS flukes are probably bugs in the application, but often it’s simply the fidelity of the signal. If you get a poor signal, you’ll miss many landmarks. The first time I used Soundscape, it was really good at telling me a lot of stores and other venues of interest that were around me. But for some reason, when I went across the street, I didn’t have that. I confirmed that the signal was indeed very low on that side. That’s usually the problem, but there have been cases when the signal was good but Soundscape did a terrible job of describing my environment. I suspect it could be a combination of the app developers’ skills and the signal from the cell towers.
Thinking back to yesterday, even if it had been a good day for me, there are just commonsense things to keep in mind. I should have known I was going the wrong way on the street without having the GPS tell me what direction I was going, just by knowing where the sun was. I felt the sun on the wrong side but failed to respond properly. A tool is only as good as its user. I could understand the mistake on a cloudy day, but the point is that if one is not alert, GPS cannot magically correct your errors.
Between my change.org campaign and vigorously spreading the word about the KDP website being inaccessible to the blind and visually impaired, I am proud to report that clients of DLD Books and all others can now order author copies of their own books. I want to personally thank both David and Leonore Dvorkin for their assistance to all their clients in the many ways they help us navigate the maze of self-publication online. I am grateful for the concise description of how to order author’s copies of books that David now has on the DLD Books website, along with another description of how to check book sales numbers. See http://www.dldbooks.com . I have a rather inelegant pair of YouTube videos on my YouTube channel that walk a blind user through the process with JAWS on the PC and Voiceover on iPhones. I think it will be a good supplement to David’s excellent description.
For the PC: https://youtu.be/7O-RpmoW7u8
For iPhone and iDevices: https://youtu.be/qGai19ubMxc
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: An Act of Cowardice
by James R. Campbell
On Saturday, August 10, 2019, billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York. According to the official autopsy findings, the manner of death was suicide. He was 66 years old.
Epstein was arrested in July on federal charges of sex trafficking. Allegations contend that he was a pedophile who enjoyed having sex with underage girls. As I see it, nothing on earth is more repulsive than a maladaptive dark soul who gets his pleasure in that way.
Epstein was on suicide watch since his first attempt two weeks before the final act. People who are held under these conditions are checked on every 15 to 30 minutes. After Epstein’s death, it became glaringly apparent that this protocol wasn’t followed as it should have been. This finding led Attorney General William Barr to make the following statement: “There are grave irregularities at the MCC that led to Epstein’s suicide that warrant further investigation.” The FBI and DOJ are actively probing conditions at the federal facility in Manhattan that provided the alleged pedophile the opportunity to end his life and elude justice.
As is the case with most prisons, the guards at the jail were overworked, and the facility was understaffed. According to one source, one of the guards was working eighty hours a week.
Another problem stems from the fact that Epstein was placed in solitary confinement, which increases the probability that a suicidal inmate will try to kill themselves. The cellmate that shared space with Epstein was released on the Friday before the suicide occurred and wasn’t replaced. In addition, one of the psychologists at the prison took the prisoner off suicide watch. Yet again, this was one in a list of grave errors.
Jeffrey Epstein was well connected and used his contacts to recruit girls and young women for his illicit trysts. Participants included Prince Andrew and former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson. These were just two of the many powerful people who were involved. One conspiracy theory holds that he was taken out or helped in his final gesture by contacts with those who stood the most to lose. There is no doubt that they would have been fingered in any legal proceedings stemming from disclosure of the sex ring’s activities. It may be that these accusations may yet come to light as the result of any subsequent investigation.
Another aspect of this tragic saga revolves around a plea agreement in Florida in 2008. Epstein faced sex trafficking charges in Florida that went back as far as 2005. In 2008, Alexander Acosta, the federal prosecutor for the Florida district, handled the case. The end product was a non–prosecution agreement under which Epstein served 13 months of an 18-month sentence. The agreement granted immunity to others who were involved in the sex trafficking ring that Epstein headed. When this information came to light after Epstein’s arrest, Acosta resigned from his post as labor secretary in July of this year. It may not be the last we hear of him if repercussions follow in the wake of recent events.
Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Justice Department filed criminal charges for negligence against the guards and other officials at the prison for allowing this man to slip through their fingers. The women who were abused by him and his cronies should be furious. What he did was in hopes that he could deny them the due process they deserve. Truly, his departure from this life was the ultimate act of cowardice. He hanged himself in order to avoid facing the consequences of his depravity. The victims of his crimes will never get the chance to face him in open court, and they will never hear a jury of his peers say, “We find the defendant, Jeffrey Epstein, guilty of the crime of sex trafficking as charged in the information in the indictment.”
The best that could happen would be for Bill Barr to conduct hearings before a worldwide audience. In these televised hearings, the Justice Department would present the evidence, just as they would if the defendant had been remanded for trial in federal court. The victims of his years-long rampage would get a chance to make victim’s impact statements before the entire world in order that the irreparable harm they have endured would be exposed once and for all. They are entitled to no less.
On a personal note, I was pleased that Larry Nassar was brought to his knees in court for the same offenses against girls he was supposed to help. I would have been more than thrilled to watch Jeffrey the pedophile go down as well. I, like so many others, am angry that he cheated those women out of their day. Ultimately, history will remember, long after those who witnessed his depravity have passed.
5. A WORD ABOUT SPORTS: For Major Leaguers, No Need for Mercy
by Don Wardlow
For many years, the word “mercy” was employed by the great Boston Red Sox broadcaster Ned Martin. The ex-Marine was a fixture in New England homes from 1961–1992. In the 1970s, he got a few chances to be heard coast to coast. This survivor of Iwo Jima knew when to say, “Mercy!” Only the most special plays, good or bad, brought that word to his lips. Now the manager of the Sox’s archrival Yankees is using the word in its worst way. He’s suggesting a “mercy rule” at the highest level of play.
In amateur ball, especially Little League and high school ball, if a team is ahead by 10 runs after four innings or up 15 runs through three innings, the game is said to be complete under the mercy rule. While some colleges use it, the NCAA has made it clear that they’d prefer games to go the full nine innings.
Here is the difference as I see it. Most games where the mercy rule can be applied are free. But major league games are far from free. The fans are charged outrageous prices for tickets, parking, food, and drinks. These fans aren’t paying to see five or seven innings. More often than not, they want the whole nine, no matter the score.
There have been blowouts going back to baseball’s beginnings. In 1912, the Athletics beat the Tigers 24–2, when most Tigers went on strike over Ty Cobb’s suspension. Last year, the Mets gave up 25 runs in one game, then scored 24 later in the year. Boone’s whimpering came after the Indians demolished the Yankees 19–5 recently in the Bronx. The Orioles, baseball’s most woeful team, recently took a 23–2 thrashing from the Houston Astros, one of the league’s best teams. The Orioles have needed to use outfielder Stevie Wilkerson as a pitcher four times this season in games where his team was being demolished. This is to protect the pitchers. Baseball is a sport where a position player may normally pitch once a year. Their manager, Brandon Hyde, hasn’t publicly pleaded for mercy, though he may have privately considered it. We also haven’t heard cries of “Mercy!” from the managers of the Tigers and Royals, two more of baseball’s lost children who are so bad it’s astonishing that anybody goes to their games. The complaint is from the manager of the team with the best record in the game.
Games have been won when a team was 10 runs down or more. In 1976, The Phillies’ Mike Schmidt hit four home runs as they came back from being down 12-1 to win 18-16. In these days of awful relief pitching, it’s more possible than ever before. Most important, though, is the fact that managers and more discerning fans see who still cares when the game is well decided either way—what players are still grinding it out, playing the game the right way, and which ones just want to get to the food in the clubhouse.
In sum, I say, No, there can and must be no mercy in the major leagues unless they show mercy to the fans where prices are concerned. We fans know that will never happen. From the days of the Tigers’ Frank Navin to the time of Boss George Steinbrenner and beyond, owners care for one thing only, the almighty dollar. If we’re willing to spend it, we should get a full nine innings, no matter what.
6. WEATHER OR NOT: Stronger Hurricanes and Sea Level Rise
by Steve Roberts
The Process of Sea Level Rise
As the planet heats up, the ice at each pole will melt, releasing vast quantities of water into the world’s oceans. That input of water adds to the water level within the world’s oceans in a direct way, because you are adding water to water.
As the ice sheets melt, they disintegrate. This process of glacial disintegration is called calving by those in earth science. As ice caps calve, they release huge chunks of ice into the ocean. These icebergs displace their mass in water, contributing further to the process of sea level rise.
Between melt water release and the addition of icebergs into the ocean, sea level could rise by 6- 8 feet by 2100. There are some estimates that put the extent of sea level rise even higher.
Sea Level Rise: A Storm Surge Amplifier
As sea levels rise, they will give hurricane-generated storm surges a higher base on which to build.
A Category 1 hurricane in today’s world will push a 4-5 foot storm surge onto the coast at the time it makes landfall. Let’s say that a two-foot rise in sea level takes place by the end of this century. Under these circumstances, that Category 1 hurricane would push a 6-7 foot storm surge onto the coast at the time that it makes landfall. This is due to the fact that the 4-5 foot storm surge is now superimposed onto a two-foot increase in sea level.
Even a modest increase in sea level will make an average storm surge worse. What will happen as hurricanes become even stronger?
Stronger Hurricanes and Sea Level Rise
As the oceans heat up, the hurricanes that form out over those waters will become more intense. A hurricane is a storm that derives much of its power from the warmth of tropical seas. As hurricanes become stronger, the storm surges they produce will become bigger. This is without sea level rise.
If the strongest hurricanes of the next 50 years produce storm surges that are two feet higher than the strongest hurricanes of today, then they will inundate coastal communities to a much greater extent than a modern-day hurricane could. Even if sea levels remain unchanged, these storm surges will still be more amplified, simply because the hurricanes producing them are even stronger.
Should sea level rise by two feet, as a hurricane pushes a storm surge that is two feet higher than anything in today’s world onto the coastline, the extent of coastal inundation could be truly incredible. Now you have a bigger storm surge that is superimposed onto a higher sea level. One day, sea level rise and a super hurricane’s higher storm surge will conspire to bring unprecedented coastal inundation to the Atlantic or Gulf Coast of the United States.
Sea-level rise also leverages storm surge impacts. If sea level were to rise by four feet, a Category 3 hurricane would inundate the coast to the same extent as a modern-day Category 4 hurricane. If sea levels rise four or five feet, a moderate nor’easter will inundate New York City to the same extent as Superstorm Sandy did just seven years ago.
Note: Steven P. Roberts is the author of the nonfiction book The Whys and Whats of Weather (2014) and the novel The Great Winter Hurricane (2015). Both books are for sale in e-book and print from Amazon and other online sellers. For full details, free text previews, and buying links, see https://www.dldbooks.com/stevenproberts/ .
7. AUTHORS’ CORNER
RATINGS GAME (TALK SHOW QUEEN)
by Trish Hubschman (C 2019)
In print ($9.50) and e-book ($2.99) from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers.
The e-book is text-to-speech enabled.
Cover image, free text preview, buying links, and more: https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/
Trish Hubschman has three previous Tracy Gayle mysteries in print: The Fire, Unlucky Break, and Stiff Competition (Miss America).
Synopsis of Ratings Game:
The Danny Tide story continues.
Somebody’s trying to kill the rock star’s second wife, talk–show hostess Blair Nelson. Danny and Tracy, now a couple expecting a baby, get pulled into it because Danny finally agrees to do an interview with his ex–wife. She’s been bugging him for a while.
That evening, after a draining day at Blair’s studio, when Danny and Tracy are home in bed, Danny’s phone goes off. It’s his and Blair’s daughter, Liz, announcing that she found her mother unconscious on her bathroom floor. Blair ingested a drug overdose.
Who would want to eliminate the talk show queen, and why? Could the perpetrator be Blair’s housekeeper? Her personal assistant? The owner of the television station? The show’s producer? Even Danny and Liz are on the suspect list.
Everyone had opportunity, but no one has a motive. They’re all devoted to Blair. They need Blair to wake up and give them some answers.
Editing, cover design, print layout, and e-book conversion are by DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services, http://www.dldbooks.com . Cover photo is by Joshua Hanson on Unsplash.
8. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
If I can smell and sense the seasons changing, I wonder how long my dogs have known. I often wonder how attuned dogs are to the environment compared to humans. My hunch says we just can’t compete with our canine companions.
One dog, a Border Collie named Chaser, knew the names of over 1,000 objects and noun/verb word associations. An example was to ask Chaser to find the blue ball and place it next to the yellow Frisbee. Her owner, Professor John Pilley, has recorded her abilities on YouTube and proven beyond scientific doubt that dogs have evolved to interpret human language. John Pilley died at age 89 in 2017; Chaser passed away earlier this year at age 15. Her obituary was in The New York Times. She will live on as one of the most intelligent dogs in modern history.
When I go out with Bailey, my guide dog, I am reminded of his abilities and how much I depend upon him. He may not know complex word associations like Chaser, but he knows his job.
Ann Chiappetta, author and poet, delivers the depth and meaning of emotions through her poetry and creative nonfiction. While Ann happens to be blind, she is insightful, drawing upon all the senses to highlight what it means to be human.
Go to www.annchiappetta.com to find out more about Ann or purchase her books.
Her DLD Books Web page, with full information about her books and links to free text previews, is https://www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/
Follow her blog: www.thought-wheel.com
Ann’s Face Book page is Annie Chiappetta
The end of summer is near, and I’m still living with bedbugs. I’ve spent hours reading a lot of information, some of it true and some of it false. I’ve spent a lot of time, money, and energy fighting them. I hope it’s over soon.
However, in the quest for ridding my house of the bedbugs, I’ve discovered a few things. Diatomaceous earth does not work. I regret spending my money on it. I am glad that I have my guide dog, Bryanna, on NexGard and wish there were NexGard for humans. I’d take it.
I have found amazing airtight storage containers at The Container Store. The ones I find the most useful are the 74-quart weather-tight ones and the 104-quart ones with wheels. The black ones are cheaper than the clear ones. I also put some of my clothing, sheets, pillowcases, and washcloths in one-gallon or two-gallon Ziploc bags. I’ve even found double zipper hanger bags at Walmart. Ten long dresses fit in each bag, and two bags come in a box. So useful!
I’m called neurotic, crazy, and obsessive because I spend hours picking flat ovals of various sizes off my bed and throwing them into a quart Ziploc bag. Each female bedbug lays 500 eggs. Just as I do with the used vacuum cleaner bag, I throw the bags of bugs in the outside garbage within hours of collection.
Another tool in my arsenal is my Steamfast canister steam cleaner. I bought it from HSN on FlexPay. To order extra accessories (scrub brushes, extra mop heads, funnels, etc.) I order from Steamfast. Their customer service is great.
Back to school means The Container Store has a run on my containers. There’s a slight delay in getting most of my household containerfied.
My three boys are back to their studies. Zachary has discovered the pleasure of eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on cinnamon swirl bread. I’m deriving my pleasure from reading Kindle Unlimited Books. For $10 a month, we can borrow up to 10 books at a time. A lot of the books are recordings on Audible.com, which I listen to on my Amazon Echo Dot.
Blessings for an awesome autumn! Write me soon!
10. AUGUST RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder
As August arrives in New England, gardens bloom with summer squash and sweet basil. Blueberries, sweet corn, and peaches are available at local farm stands and supermarkets. People vacation at Cape Cod or Maine beaches to enjoy late summer days. However, by mid- to late August, there are subtle hints of autumn. Days are growing shorter, with cooler nights.
I invite readers to try these easy-to-prepare recipes for grilled cheese sandwiches, old-fashioned coleslaw, and chocolate chip squares.
These delicious sandwiches can be prepared for lunch or supper. I first began making them in my 20s and developed a foolproof method. I went to visit my aunt, a nun, in Quebec, Canada during the summer of 1974. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich in a restaurant. It was delicious. I had to wait for the sandwich; slow cooking made a difference. I developed the recipe cooking them slowly. Everyone likes them.
Four slices American, cheddar, or Swiss cheese
Four slices white Scala or whole wheat bread
One-fourth stick butter or margarine.
1. Place butter or margarine in 10-12 inch skillet. Preheat it on low heat for five minutes.
2. On a dinner plate, place bottom slices of bread. Put cheese of your choice on bread. Place top slices of bread over the cheese. Make sure no cheese is sticking out beyond the bread. If it is, break small pieces off and put them inside the sandwiches.
3. Place sandwiches in the skillet. Cook sandwiches on low heat for 10 minutes on each side.
Serve sandwiches while they’re hot.
A tossed salad goes well with these sandwiches on a summer afternoon or evening.
Variations: Add one slice of ham or tomato to each sandwich. Just tuck the slice of ham or tomato between the slices of cheese. Cook these sandwiches for 12 minutes on each side.
B. Cabbage-Carrot Coleslaw
I used to make this coleslaw for cookouts at our home in Fitchburg. Our grandkids liked it because of its tangy, sweet dressing. I decided to add carrots, making the traditional summer salad more nutritious.
One head of green cabbage or one bag of ready-grated cabbage
One small sweet onion
Two or three chopped or shredded baby carrots
One small jar Miracle Whip
Two tablespoons vinegar
Two tablespoons milk
Two tablespoons sugar
Dashes of garlic powder, curry powder, dillweed, and salt, plus a handful of dried chives.
1. Grate cabbage and place it in a large mixing bowl. You can use a food processor or a four-sided grater. You can use already bagged and grated cabbage, which shortens the preparation time. Add the onion and carrots to the cabbage.
2. Mix cabbage with minced onion and carrots. Then prepare the dressing.
3. In a smaller mixing bowl, measure Miracle Whip, vinegar, sugar, milk, and spices.
Stir dressing with a plastic or metal stirring spoon.
4. Add dressing to the greens and stir it for two minutes. Transfer coleslaw to a large plastic, airtight container. Cover container, and chill coleslaw until serving time.
If you make it the day before serving time, the flavors will have time to blend.
Note: Since Miracle Whip has a higher sugar content than mayonnaise, you can substitute mayonnaise for half of the Miracle Whip. However, Miracle Whip is what gives the dressing its tangy, sweet flavor.
The original name for the dressing is Grandma’s Mayonnaise Dressing. It’s from Our New England Cookery.
C. South Shore Chocolate Chip Squares
The original name for this recipe is Icebox Brownies. I got it from a girlfriend at day camp. My mom and I made it several times. She commented, “It’s too sweet.” As a 15-year-old, I loved these squares. However, as an adult, I changed the recipe. I reduced the amount of condensed milk, substituting margarine and adding more chocolate chips.
These brownies are easy to prepare for cookouts or outdoor concerts or parties.
21 whole honey-graham crackers
One can condensed milk
One stick butter or margarine
Eighteen ounces Nestlé’s semisweet chocolate chips.
1. Microwave butter or margarine in a glass bowl for 3-6 seconds. Let it cool while processing the graham crackers.
2. Break up and process graham crackers in a food processor or crush them in a Ziploc bag. Put the crushed graham crackers in a large mixing bowl. Add the milk and cooled butter to the crushed graham crackers.
3. Stir the batter; it will become stiff. Add the chocolate chips, stirring them into the batter for two minutes.
4. Line a 7”x11” Pyrex pan with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper with butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Measure out one cup of brownie batter into greased baking pan. Smooth the top of batter with spreader or knife.
5. Bake brownies for 40 minutes. If you bake them any longer, they might burn.
Let brownies cool in pan on counter for 30 minutes. Remove uncut brownies from pan, putting them on a large dinner plate. Cover them with foil and plastic wrap. Refrigerate them overnight before cutting them. However, if you’re having them the same day, you can cut them after refrigerating them for an hour.
Everyone will enjoy them. With a hungry family, they will disappear fast.
Note: I renamed them South Shore Chocolate Chip Squares because I lived there when I got the recipe and when I changed it.
I hope readers appreciate long, sunny, midsummer days and the bounty of local produce. Let us all hope and pray for a more united country.
10. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the August Consumer Vision. The television show featuring Charlie, Alan, and Jake Harper is Two and a Half Men. Congratulations to the following winners:
Amy Branco of New Bedford, Massachusetts
Daryl Darnell of Urbana, Illinois
Nancy Hays of Oakville, Connecticut
Trish Hubschman of Selden, New York
Marcy Segelman of West Roxbury, Massachusetts
Steve Theberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your question for the September Consumer Vision. Name Judge Judy’s bailiff on her television show. If you know the answer, please email email@example.com or call 508-994-4972.