May 2019
Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Email Address:
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editors: David and Leonore Dvorkin
Formatter: David Dvorkin
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: Why You Should Keep Those Vents Open / Controlling Portion Sizes for Health and Satisfaction *** by Leonore H. Dvorkin
2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Building Manly Core Self-Confidence *** by Dennis R. Sumlin
3. TECH CORNER: Fifty Shades of Red *** by Stephen Théberge
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: An Inevitable Truth *** by James R. Campbell
6. WEATHER OR NOT: Frontal Thunderstorms: Things that go Bump in the Day and Night *** by Steve Roberts
9. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
10. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein
11. APRIL RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
12. MAY RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder
13. MARCY’S SCHMOOZE TINNIH *** by Marcy J. Segelman
14. THE OMEN *** by Steven Brown
Why You Should Keep Those Vents Open / Controlling Portion Sizes for Health and Satisfaction
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
a. The Health of Your Home: Why You Should Not Close Vents in Unused Rooms
Many people believe they’re saving energy by closing off vents (either winter or summer) in unused or seldom-used rooms. We used to believe that, too, until a master electrician at a Denver HVAC company told us that we should keep all the vents open all the time and keep the doors to the rooms open as much as possible. That actually saves money and protects the heating and cooling systems from costly damage.
What also saves money, of course, is setting your thermostat as low as you can stand to in the winter and as high as you can in the summer. For us, that’s now 69 in the winter and 73 or 74 in the summer. Other energy-savers are LED light bulbs (very important for protecting the environment), good insulation, good windows, and regular maintenance of your heating and AC systems. With all of those, we’ve cut our energy bills by about 70% over the years.
But back to the question of keeping vents open. Here is a link to one article about the issue. .
It’s from an organization called SaveOnEnergy, dated October 12, 2017. Here’s an excerpt from it:
“Regardless of how many vents you have open, the heater or air conditioner produces the same amount of air. The added pressure from closing a vent can cause air leaks in your system, causing long-term and unnecessary energy waste. Air leaks cause the unit to work harder as it tries to make your home comfortable. In addition, shutting vents could damage your AC or heater, leading to inefficient operation and costly repairs.
“So does it save energy to close vents in unused rooms? The answer, unfortunately, is no. You are better off keeping the vents open to ensure the unit operates efficiently. This way over the lifetime of your system you can save on energy use and repair costs.”
Here’s a link to a longer article on the same subject, from an HVAC company in Phoenix, Arizona, with more details on how closing vents does not save you money and damages your system. The title is “Why Closing Air Vents in Unused Rooms Damages Your Heating/Cooling Systems.” It’s from November 16, 2016.
There are many other articles online about this issue, some of them quite long and technical. But there is no need to read them to get the bottom line of all of them: Keep those vents open (and doors, too, according to the Denver expert) to save money, to have a more comfortable home, and to protect your expensive heating and cooling systems. We were certainly glad and grateful to get the facts on this important issue.
b. Less is More: How to Cut Portion Sizes and Still Be Satisfied
An online BMI (body mass index) calculator says I am overweight but not obese, which is how I would classify myself. I do try hard to eat well, and I exercise hard at least seven hours every week. Still, I could stand to lose about 20 lbs. Yes, it’s harder to lose weight in my seventies than it was when I was in my twenties and working to lose the weight I’d gained with pregnancy, but I refuse to make excuses for myself.
I’m all too well aware that my main problem is that while I eat nutritious food, mainly fresh fruits, vegetables, plain yogurt, chicken, small amounts of lean beef, tuna, sardines, whole-grain crackers and cereals, and other good things like that, I just plain eat too much. Thus I’ve been paying strict attention to portion sizes, mainly to how much I eat in the way of snacks.
Those bags of chips, cookies, and little candy bars, those cartons of ice cream, that box of donut holes — oh, how tempting they can be, and how hard it can be to eat “just a little” of anything you know is not good for you and is keeping you overweight! That’s why David and I do not buy ice cream, pastries, or other sweets that might prove too tempting.
Still, as everyone knows, you can gain weight from even good foods, such as nuts, nut butters, dried fruits, whole grain crackers or cereals, and the like. Thus I’ve been comparing the calories in what is listed on the various labels as standard portions and what I deem to be more sensible but still satisfying portions. Below are a few examples and suggestions, based on some of my own favorites.
To my amazement and joy, I’m finding the smaller portions more satisfying than larger ones, as I know I’m doing myself a favor by controlling them. A further tip: With any food, take your time, chewing slowly, savoring every little bit. You might be surprised by how much that helps.
- Late July Sea Salt Multigrain Tortilla Chips: 130 calories for 9 chips. 5 chips: 72 calories.
- Natural peanut butter: 200 calories per 2 tablespoons. Have 1 tablespoon mixed with 1 teaspoon of your favorite jam. Skip the bread. This is amazingly satisfying. Pure, creamy almond butter has 210 calories per 2 tablespoons, so do the same with it.
- Peanuts (extra large, roasted and salted, from Costco): 170 calories per ¼ cup. Try 2 tablespoons for 85 calories.
 - SunMaid organic raisins: 120 calories per ¼ cup. Have 2 tablespoons for 60 calories.
- Sunsweet prunes (dried plums): 100 calories per 5 prunes. Try 2 or 3 for 40 or 60 calories.
- Triscuit crackers, original: 120 calories for 6 crackers. Have 3 crackers for 60 calories.
Try this with any of your own favorites. When a “snack attack” hits, and of course it will, choose a healthy food that you also regard as a treat, and then cut down on the portion size. If certain unhealthy foods are hopeless magnets for you, just don’t buy them. You might be surprised at how quickly you lose your taste for them.
About the Author
Leonore Dvorkin and her husband, the prolific author David Dvorkin, have lived in Denver, Colorado since 1971. Leonore works as a self-employed language tutor, exercise class instructor, and editor. She is the author of four published books (both fiction and nonfiction) and many articles, mainly on health, nutrition, and fitness. David is the author of 28 published books and numerous articles.
Together, David and Leonore run DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services. For very reasonable prices, they edit and prepare books for publication with Amazon and Smashwords. The books are then marketed worldwide via online sales. The majority of their many clients are blind or visually impaired.
The Dvorkins invite you to visit any of the following websites:
Leonore Dvorkin:
David Dvorkin:
DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
2. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF: Building Manly Core Self-Confidence
by Dennis R. Sumlin
We hear the word “confidence” being used all the time. To be a strong, productive man, you need a healthy dose of it. Even though confidence is one of the key foundations for success, what is confidence, how do we get it, and how do we maintain it?
This is the first in a three-article series on how to build and maintain core self-confidence. In this first part, we will break down signs of low confidence, then talk about the three kinds of confidence.
There are many definitions of “confidence,” but we will work with a simple one. Confidence: The belief in your ability to do a particular thing.
There are three main areas of confidence. But first, how do you even know that you’re lacking confidence in the first place?
I think it’s most effective to know where something comes from and then identify it. Then you will be in a better position to improve it.
Where Does Lack of Confidence Come From?
Lack of confidence can come from
Childhood: verbal/psychological/physical abuse.
Teen years: lack of acceptance by other boys/the cool dudes/homeboys, continuous strikeouts with romantic interests, or bullying.
Job loss: inability to find work, slow-moving career.
Body image: feeling too big/too slim, too tall/too short, etc.
Performance issues in the bedroom: lack of drive, erection problems, penis size, etc.
I have had a taste of each of these myself, and it sucks!
Signs That You Lack Self-Confidence
If you have low self-confidence or low self-esteem, you may:
Get depressed easily.
Be self-deprecating.
Be unable to accept compliments/second guess them.
Blame others/run from responsibility.
Engage in self-sabotage.
I have encountered some of these things on my road to understanding confidence.
The Three Kinds of Confidence
Now that we’ve talked about at least some of the causes and warning signs, let’s break down confidence, and let’s do it confidently!
 There are three kinds of confidence.
1. Situational Confidence
 This is the form that seems most common, and it is the basic meaning we started out with at the beginning of this article: the belief in your ability to do a particular thing. . You may be confident in your ability to play sports, understand math, attract women, stir-fry frogs, or color your hair orange. You can be confident in these things without feeling confident in yourself as a whole. In other words, you could shine on the basketball court, then go home and cry because you feel like an old banana peel, even though you just won the game for your team, taking the championship.
This is the kind of confidence I had. I was good at speaking, acting, teaching, and more, but still felt like a loser with nothing to offer, while others cheered my latest acting skit or singing performance. What the hell was going on?
2. Self-Esteem
This form of confidence is based in how much you like yourself, and is referred to by some as the cousin of confidence. Do you hold yourself in high esteem? Do you have self-love? Do you feel you are worthy of good things, good people, and a good life? Yes, it is possible to have situational confidence, but not actually like yourself. It’s possible to be popular with others, get laid every night, have basketball teams beg you to sign with them, and still not like yourself.
I know this one as well. I did have a level of popularity, I was attractive, and I had talents, but none of that really sank in. I still focused on my shortcomings, and was not really even sure if I liked myself. I thought I did, but I had doubts. What a ride!
3. Core Confidence
This is the type of confidence that we think of when we think about being confident. Core confidence is deeper than situational confidence, and if you have core confidence, you also have a healthy portion of self-esteem.
My website is dedicated to helping you develop that core confidence. Core confidence is an intrinsic belief in yourself as a person. You have strong levels of self-love, personal awareness, a healthy self-image, and all the perks of strong, confident, head-to-toe manhood.
Now, here is something for you to be aware of. You can have core confidence without having situational confidence. When you have that deep, solid belief in yourself, you understand your talents and deficits, and you believe in your capacity to learn new things. If you are not confident on stage, you know that you are able to learn, you push past self-doubts, anxieties, and fears, and you learn what you need to in order to be where you want to be.
Notice how being core confident does not mean you do not have self-doubts every now and then. It just means that you know yourself well enough to move past that. You know yourself well enough to identify and then effectively deal with those inner blocks and doubts so they do not keep you from achieving your goals.
You might be nervous to talk to that pretty woman, but with core confidence, you either don’t feel nervous, or you know how to move past it and start chatting her up. You may be like the 75% of folks who have a fear of public speaking, but with core confidence, you get on stage anyway because you know that action is how you get past fear, and the benefit of achievement is stronger than the downward pull of anxiety.
When you have core confidence, it will help your sex life, relationships, work, and other areas.
This is the type of confidence that I set out to achieve. Achieving this core confidence can take time. It can take time to reprogram old messages, habits, and energies. Don’t let that stop you! In the next part, we’ll look at the two-step approach to building manly core confidence. For now, think about which of these kinds of confidence you have. Think about all the reasons why you are confident or not.
Find more on building self-confidence, and catch the Core Confidence Life Podcast as well!
3. TECH CORNER: Fifty Shades of Red
by Stephen Théberge
I don’t know where the term “seeing red” came from. It’s generally used to indicate anger at something or someone. There have been a lot of occasions where I and many others have been totally livid upon discovering that some aspect, usually technology, was not accessible.
Some time back, I wrote an article defending my view of working for various law firms as a “web tester.” In actuality, I was a plaintiff against one entity or another. I’d only get paid if the case was settled or won in a court of law. Later, I changed my position and stated that I would gladly welcome an alternative to lawsuits.
I discovered a book by Lainey Feingold titled Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits. This was very refreshing. Lainey Feingold has been doing work with the Americans with Disabilities Act as an attorney for over 20 years. With the help of others, she has done much to help the dream of accessibility come true.
The detail she describes in the book is overwhelming, so I won’t go into all the steps. Basically, there are seven main areas. These are broken down into scads of sub-steps. The basic premise is that plaintiffs are now called claimants. The precise use of words is very important. I can appreciate this as a writer. The most important aspect of structured negotiation is that it’s done outside the courtroom. Parties agree to collaborate rather than be confrontational. Blame and assumptions of intent are discarded. Most important, even though no judges or magistrates preside, the documents are still legally binding and a lawsuit can be filed in the future, but this fact isn’t used as a threat.
The first major issue Feingold and her partners took on was having accessible ATMs. She worked with many banks, including Bank of America, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and many others. Her next major victory was having keypads on point-of-sale devices. If you go to Walmart, Best Buy, or other venues, you will notice a touch keypad. This was designed specifically for the blind and visually impaired to allow private entry of a personal identification number, rather than relying on another person to do it. Originally, companies were going to utilize flat screens. As this was in its infancy, I don’t think anybody was thinking of a talking solution like the ATM model.
Feingold continues to work in accessibility today. She has done major work with Major League Baseball, stopping a lawsuit to have their website and mobile applications accessible. The list of large companies she has worked with is impressive. Other entities she has worked with are the American Cancer Society and Weight Watchers. She had a lot to do with making bills and other communications from companies available in braille, large print, electronically, and in some cases, in audible format.
The book is presented as case studies, where she outlines the many companies and structured negotiations. I will say her attention to the specific process of defining the platform of these negotiations was at times dizzying, but her side explanations with real-world scenarios as she described the history with companies was impressive.
Another very important point of interest was her almost perfect success rate on the over 40 cases she has been involved with. She defines courts and litigation as a very deliberate process that slows things down and by definition pits the two parties against each another. A major advantage of her method is that it can go much further than a legal definition. In the case of a class action, no new members can join the suit once it has been filed. In structured negotiations, the parties only need to agree to allow new members to join.
In the case of web accessibility, an advantage over the ADA is that one can go further. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, WCAG, are simply guidelines, but are probably agreed upon by most accessibility experts as a logical standard. No court could force a company to follow these guidelines, because they aren’t law. Through the negotiating process, one can convince companies to agree to implement the guidelines and actually convince them that it is going to help them and their customers.
Cinemark was having charges against it to have movies include audio description. With structured negotiation, they agreed to make a nationwide commitment, but the litigation was for a dozen theaters only. This shows the flexibility of negotiations over standard lawsuits.
Much of this process is focused on changing how traditional lawyers think of cases. Feingold points out that the American Bar Association has started to adopt the idea of having lawyers look at collaboration. Feingold does not state that filing a legal action is never called for. Rarely, some people will refuse to work together, but if you don’t attack them and use different methods, most of the time, people will desire to work together.
The book had quite a number of references to the American Council for the Blind and their work with others in this process. Feingold mentions Kim Charlson, who is president of the organization and in charge of the Perkins Library, and their place in the history of successes of structured negotiations.
Finally, monetary issues are also part of the process. Claimants can get monetary compensation as in a legal case, and naturally, lawyers may collect fees. It’s also worth noting that it will cost a company substantially less compared to a traditional litigation.
The book is available on BARD. The number is DB89210. I don’t expect anybody to run out and read it, but I feel we do have hope for accessibility in the future. Those of us with eyesight can hope to see less red in the future, and we will hopefully be less stressed about accessibility.
Follow me on twitter at @speechfb
Read and post on my writer’s blog:
Check out my coming of age science fiction novel The MetSche Message and its sequel The MetSche Maelstrom at
Watch my Youtube channel. Many blindness-related issues, and the latest Branco Broadcasts.
4. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH: An Inevitable Truth
 by James R. Campbell
“Competition kills cooperation.”
Theodore Isaac Rubin
From Reconciliations: Inner Peace in an Age of Anxiety
We’ve seen and heard of it so often! A major playoff game between two sports teams leads to a celebration that goes wild. Such was the case in Lubbock, Texas on the night of April 6. The Texas Tech Red Raiders won the semifinal basketball game for the NCAA championship. They were only one game away from taking the national title for the first time. Their opponent in the final game was a major university in Virginia. When the final game was over, Virginia claimed the championship, a first-time feat for their school.
After the Lubbock team won the Saturday night game, revelers swarmed into the streets, overflowing with the excitement of the achievement. But as the case has been so many times before, the party devolved into a riot. There was an abundance of liquor, and the hopped-up fans rampaged through the business area, overturning cars, breaking windows, and engaging in mayhem. All over a basketball game.
This question isn’t posed as frequently as it should be: Is competition healthy?
There are those who say that competition is a part of life, in that it teaches young people to develop character skills and expend more effort to win the prize at the end of the rainbow. My favorite cousin has always been competitive; she and her husband encourage participation in sports because they believe that it will help their children stand up for themselves in adult life. Many parents feel that way.
There are others, like me, who agree with Theodore Isaac Rubin, the New York psychiatrist who wrote Reconciliations: Inner Peace in an Age of Anxiety. It is his belief that cooperation among the members of society is of far greater value than competition.
The premise is simple but profound. Competition of any kind is stressful. This is a part of basic evolution, stemming back to the time that hunter-gatherers had to compete with animals and other tribes for the basics of life—food, clothing, and shelter. As agriculture took root, land and water were sources of dispute, and many lives were lost in battles and wars.
Today, that same primitive drive is in action. Instead of food and shelter, people and businesses compete for our dollars. We see this often with something as simple as grocery ads on Wednesdays or the sales ads in the paper. Presently, Walmart and other brick-and-mortar stores are losing out to online shopping. The result is that many stores that have been institutions for generations have closed their doors. Radio Shack and Sears are but two casualties of this trend.
The worst form of competition, however, comes through sports. Parents often sacrifice their children’s academic welfare for football practice. They pressure their children: Winning is everything. Don’t let me down. You can’t let up. Win at any price, no matter what. It has been said that the behavior of parents is worse than that of the players during these events. There are examples of players who show unusual kindness toward another team’s members in times of tragedy. I have seen players of one team come together to support the opposing team whenever a tragedy touches that team. The media in Odessa and the surrounding area do a good job of reporting acts of kindness, as they should.
Far too often, when a riot such as the one in Lubbock breaks out, it’s national news. I can’t count the number of similar incidents that I have heard of, and I am sure that most people feel likewise.
The cross-town rivalry here in Odessa is especially bad. Buzz Bissinger’s book Friday Night Lights bears that out. What I hear from Aunt Sue is enough. She used to work those games, as she did for over 50 years. She’ll ask about the score, thinking that I listen to the game. “You’re asking the wrong person, baby. You know me well enough to know I want no part of that.” “You wouldn’t listen if they paid you, would you?” she responds in a frustrated tone. And she’s absolutely right. I wouldn’t.
I believe that the level of competition in these events is out of proportion. We had a riot in Lubbock last Saturday night over bragging rights. Those who damaged property would do well to clean up the mess they made. When they are through doing that, it would be nice if they gave their energy to a community project that would benefit the greatest number of people as payment for the destruction they created. It is my firm conviction that all of us would gain from taking Theodore Isaac Rubin’s words to heart. The world would be better off if we did.
As always, thanks for your time.
With loving kindness,
 James R. Campbell
In response to Bob Branco’s piece about Google Glass, I say, “Why not?” While I prefer to ask directions in the normal manner, there are times while out in public when I can’t find the proper person or place to ask my question.
I appreciate the innovations of tools like Google Glass, Be My Eyes, and AIRA. They offer us other options for our tool box. It’s a wonderful thing to have the help of a sighted companion in an airport, or when lost while out and about. These services, and the people behind them, are an invaluable help when one needs to read a hand-written card, directions on medication, or have a photo described. They are also invaluable for online help when no technical assistance is needed, but simply a pair of eyes to negotiate a wonky website.
While there is a cost to these services, and users need to evaluate their usefulness and use them wisely, I say giving them a try is well worth it. If it means freedom for a blind person to be able to get out and do things instead of sitting trapped at home, why not?
6. WEATHER OR NOT: Frontal Thunderstorms: Things That Go Bump in the Day and Night
by Steve Roberts
Setting Up the Atmosphere
The air is warm and humid at its base but cools quickly with height. As the sun warms the ground, the ground warms the air. The warm air ascends into the cool air just above the surface of the earth. The unstable atmosphere will spawn lots of convective activity. Think of this as environmental convection, as the environment is conducive to convective activity.
There is a cold front on its way. This front will cause the air that is in advance of it to rise. Think of a cold front as an elongated lifter. An advancing front will force the atmosphere to rise, creating showers and thunderstorms along its length. A cold front is a convective mechanism. The faster a front moves, the more vigorously it will lift the air in advance of it.
When Violent Thunderstorms Erupt
Our cold front is moving into warm and unstable air. Now you have a convective mechanism moving into an atmosphere that is prone to convection. As the front approaches, it causes the vigorous vertical ascent of the already buoyant atmosphere. As the air rises, it cools, condensing tremendous amounts of moisture. As the moisture condenses, lots of heat is released into the atmosphere. The release of heat causes the ascending air to rise all the more.
Now you have vigorous convective activity! These thunderstorms are producing torrentially heavy rain. As these thunderstorms grow, they will tap into the upper-level winds.
These higher winds will serve two functions in the evolution of these thunderstorms. First, they will help to evacuate air from the top of these thunderstorms, enabling them to further develop. Second, convection can drag those high winds to the ground, giving the thunderstorms greater impact. With enough vertical development, these thunderstorms will go on to produce hail of great size. Unlike air mass thunderstorms which go bump in the day, frontal thunderstorms go bump in the day and the night.
From the March-April Talking Book Topics
Carroll Center provides online electronic training
The Carroll Center for the Blind in Massachusetts now offers online electronic training. eCarroll Technology Instruction brings technology training directly to blind and visually impaired individuals in the comfort of their own homes. Using Zoom Meetings, an accessible video and web conferencing software, instructors offer guidance on a wide range of topics, from the nuances of different web browsers to using pivot tables in Microsoft Excel. To learn more about eCarroll Technology Instruction, visit
David Goldfield, Assistive Technology Specialist
Submissions from Leonore Dvorkin
More good news from clients of DLD Books – a review, book signings, and forthcoming publications
1. David L. Faucheux received a favorable online review of his second book.
Here is a link to it:
The title of that book is Selections from Across Two Novembers: A Bibliographic Year. It was published earlier this year. It is a brilliant abridgement of his first book, published in 2017. The title of that book is Across Two Novembers: A Year in the Life of a Blind Bibliophile.
Full information about both books is on the author’s website:
Both books are for sale from Amazon and other online sellers in e-book and print. The new book will soon be available in audio, from Audible. The e-books are text-to-speech enabled.
The reviewer said that some readers have found the book, which is a combination of a year-long journal, fascinating trivia, bits of Louisiana history, and a great many excellent book reviews, to be “chaotic.” I disagree with that characterization, and so was motivated to write the following comment on David Faucheux’s writing.
Let me assure everyone that the book is not at all chaotic; it simply deals with a very wide range of topics. I found it fascinating, wonderfully informative, and often quite moving. I don’t think I ever learned so much from a single book as I did from the longer, original volume. I also bought some of the many books the author reviewed so well. This is a brilliant abridgement, extremely well done, so I hope you will give this or the original book a try. Let’s hope we will see more writing from David Faucheux in the future.
2. Two Upcoming Book Signings for J. D. Hart
J. D. Hart (that’s her pen name, spelled H a r t), is the author of a romance novel, Drawn to You (C 2018) and a forthcoming young adult fantasy novel. The title of that is The Magic Between. It will be published sometime this month, May 2019.
Full details about the first book are on the author’s website: .
Details about the new book (cover, synopsis, and buying links) will be there by mid-May. J. D. had the cover art commissioned, and it is wonderful! On a black background, it depicts a young woman’s hand with blue smoke rising from the upturned palm. The ring and bracelet she is wearing are in the story.
J.D.’s big news is that she will have two book signings for both books in June. The second is at a Barnes and Noble store. Details are below.
a. Saturday, June 15, 2019
12-4 PM
A Country Cupboard
2412 Patterson Rd.
Grand Junction, CO
Phone 970-639-9704
b. Saturday, June 22, 2019
2-4 PM
Barnes and Noble
2451 Patterson Rd.
Grand Junction, CO
Phone 970-243-5113
3. Later this spring and summer, we’ll highlight new books from other clients of DLD Books: Lynda Lambert, John Justice, Abbie Taylor, Mary Hiland, and more. David and I are both working hard every day to put out at least 10-12 new books every year, now. David is also helping previously published authors re-issue the books to which they have the rights back. Thanks to all our many clients for your business, your confidence in us, and your much-appreciated referrals.
Full details on DLD Books Editing and Self-Publishing Services:
9. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs
by Ann Chiappetta, M.S.
Hello, readers.
I want to thank those of you who reached out and gave condolences on Nikka’s passing.
I hope the warmer weather is helping break the winter doldrums for you, wherever you live. Here  in the lower Hudson Valley, we are getting rain, damp days, and chilly winds. One good thing: the grass is growing and the birds and bunnies are hopping around our apartment building. Yes, little brown bunnies are much preferred over skunks and possums, but we have those around here as well. Urbanized indigenous species like coyote and deer are also our neighbors.
But I digress.
A few weeks ago, I went on a business trip and stayed in a Marriott hotel for five days. Without going into detail, I was hoping Bailey and I were not going to be the only service dog team in the training program. We weren’t the only ones, and I felt relieved that two other service dog teams were also part of our training. The other two dogs were PTSD service dogs and also well-behaved.
It doesn’t matter how often I travel; each hotel presents a new challenge. Most hotels are designed to enhance the pedestrian traffic flow, especially conference centers. This often means curving hallways and branching intersections, which can add to confusing navigation decisions that sighted folks take for granted. Luckily, I possess good traveling skills, have a guide dog, and rely upon my fellow human beings when lost or confused. Bailey knew our route on day two, and, to my surprise and pleasure, took canine initiative and found a shortcut from the elevator to our conference room. As the title of my second book says, follow your dog and trust your dog to know the best way to go.
In closing, I would like to add that while I love the AIRA app and other apps that offer sighted assistance, I try not to rely upon these apps overly much, because there will be times when I don’t have the means to use them. The apps have their place, for sure; I just prefer to keep up my personal mobility skills, just in case. I did use AIRA to help me set the climate control in my room, but that was about it.
Until next time, wags to all.
Check out my third and newest book, WORDS OF LIFE: POEMS AND ESSAYS, C 2019, available in eBook and print:
Information about my other two books is there as well. Those are Upwelling: Poems, and Follow Your Dog: A Story of Love and Trust.
Follow my blog: or visit me on the web:
10. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
who blogs at:
Email me at:
Thank you for your encouraging emails. This month Abbie Taylor wrote to me expressing her appreciation of my suggestion of using only two tablespoons of laundry soap per load in order to keep your washing machine running for longer and to reduce the amount of money spent on laundry soap. Thank you, Abbie. You really made me smile.
Bob Branco also made me smile. Many people tell me they won’t even look at a forwarded email. I’m glad I do. Bob sent a forwarded email written by a former student teacher of mine.
We haven’t had the pleasure of speaking with each other since I was in sixth grade at Lawton Elementary School in San Francisco. He told me he tried to find me on Facebook, and that warmed my heart so. I can’t wait to meet Fred Schroeder, President of World Blind Union, in person. What a reunification that will be. Thank you, Bob!
Keeping an open mind, I feel, is so crucial to having a good and fulfilling life. Many times, I feel things aren’t possible, but when I tell myself not to close my mind but to open it, I find what I felt or thought was impossible is entirely possible. Honestly, the possibilities open up to you. For example, it was Friday afternoon, and I had promised Terri Winaught that I would read a poem at the Bold Talent Show on Sunday. I read through all my poems and none of them really felt like the one I should read. I asked a friend of mine whether I should write a new poem. She suggested that it might be too stressful. I was inclined to agree with her. Then I started thinking. I was able to open my mind to a new poem and I wrote it the day before I had to read it.
I’m glad I was able to share my new creation.
During this talent show, I also succeeded in singing “Goodnight My Someone” from my favorite show, The Music Man. I love that song and have had dreams of singing it to an audience. Although the performance didn’t go perfectly, I’m glad I did it and know that I will be able to do it better next time. I feel that being visually impaired can hold us back, but we don’t have to let it. Bold had a successful talent show and dessert auction.
One not so successful day that did not make me smile was when I asked my aide to boil my heating pads. I love the heating pads because after you boil them, you can reactivate them by clicking a coin placed on the inside of them. I don’t know if she over-boiled them or pierced them with tongs, but she put them on my pillow as instructed. In just a few minutes, the contents leaked out, and my pillow, sheet, and mattress pad were stuck together. My son Eric and I quickly did an emergency stripping of the bed and laundering of the bedding. I will buy these heating pads again, but I will make sure they are boiled properly.
I’m starting to take a Microsoft Office class for the visually impaired, which my computer teacher invited me to join. I’ve got a scholarship, and lunch is provided. At first, I thought it would cost me a lot in transportation. I called the Port Authority of Allegheny County. It turns out that taking the bus there and back will be fairly easy and inexpensive.
Keep opening up your mind even when it feels natural to close it. You will amaze yourself at the endless possibilities and your capabilities and talents when you are receptive.
Do drop me a note in my email. I love them. May you have a wonderful month ahead!
by Karen Crowder
Publisher’s note: Karen has had numerous email issues and had every intention of submitting her April column in a timely manner. Because it was written and her email issues have hopefully been resolved, we are publishing Karen’s April and May recipe columns this month.
— Bob Branco
When April arrives, days and nights grow warmer. We hear the welcome sound of chirping birds in New England. By late April, tulips and forsythias are blooming across southern New England. At supermarkets, you can buy fresh asparagus, strawberries, and blueberries.
There are four special days in April: Palm Sunday, observed April 14; Good Friday, observed April 19; Easter Sunday on April 22; and Passover, observed from April 19 through April 27.
I hope readers will enjoy the recipes for Mom’s Good Friday Fish Chowder, Velvety Mashed Potatoes, and the Baked Eggplant Slices recipe given to me by Marcy Segelman.
A. Mom’s Good Friday Fish Chowder
B. Velvety Mashed Potatoes
C. Baked Eggplant Slices
A. Mom’s Good Friday Fish Chowder
 My mother often made fish chowder, a delicious dish, on Good Friday. It was welcomed during years when my mom was working and I was busy with college or my job. We would have it before or after the church service. However, my version of the chowder differs. I add half-and-half or light cream and butter. When I made fish chowder for my husband, I used bacon. I got this recipe from Our New England Cookery, published by the National Braille Press in1982. The recipes were compiled by the NFB of Massachusetts.
Four or five medium Maine or Yukon gold potatoes
Four strips of bacon (optional) or one-half stick of butter
One medium sweet onion, preferably Vidalia when it is available
Four cups water
Two pounds codfish, scrod, flounder, or haddock. However, if you can find cut-up chowder pieces with combinations of haddock, salmon, and other types of fish at your supermarket seafood counter, use that.
Two cups milk
Two cups light cream or half-and-half
Dashes of curry powder, dried or fresh chives, and salt.
1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter. If you are using bacon, microwave it on a paper-lined dinner plate for one minute and twenty seconds. Chop onion in food processor, electric chopper, or by hand. Place broken-up bacon in pan or Dutch oven and add chopped onion. If using butter, heat for five minutes, then add onion. Cook onion with bacon or butter for 10-12 minutes on low heat.
2. Add water and cook on medium heat while cutting potatoes. Cover pot and cut potatoes into small pieces on chopping board. Place cut potatoes in a plastic container. Uncover pot and slowly add them. Cook potatoes for 40 minutes.
3. Add fish, which has been broken up, and cook it for thirty minutes. Add milk, cream, and spices to the chowder. Stir the chowder for a minute. Simmer the fish chowder until serving time.
Fish chowder pairs well with hot rolls, crusty bread popovers, or corn bread. Ritz or oyster crackers are a delicious accompaniment to hot chowder.
B. Velvety Mashed Potatoes
When I was married, I often allowed my stepdaughter, Andrea, to prepare the mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or Easter. She had a special knack for preparing them. They were delicious. However, in 2010, I made delicious mashed potatoes myself. The secret was whipping the hot potatoes with butter and milk on medium-high speed in my KitchenAid stand mixer. I have duplicated this recipe several times in 2017 and 2018. My guests love the tasty, smooth mashed potatoes.
Four to six large Maine russet, Idaho, or Yukon Gold potatoes
Six cups of water
One stick of butter
Almost one cup milk and optional half-and-half or light cream
Dashes of dried or fresh chives
Optional sour cream

1. Fill a lock-lid saucepan half full of water. Add salt and start heating it on medium heat. Cut potatoes into small pieces on a plastic or wooden chopping board. Place cut potatoes in a medium container.
2. Uncover lock-lid pan and slowly add potatoes to the hot water. Cover and cook potatoes for 30 minutes on medium heat.
 3. Drain hot potatoes and immediately put them with one-half stick butter in large mixer bowl. Begin mixing them at medium speed for two minutes. Add milk and rest of butter. Mix potatoes at medium-high speed for two to three minutes. Shut mixer off. If the consistency is still too dry, add more milk and butter and mix for two minutes. For a festive touch, add a little light cream or a tablespoon of sour cream and some fresh or dry chives. Beat again for two minutes.
Serve hot mashed potatoes immediately with Easter ham, vegetables and rolls, or bread. Everyone will love them and look forward to having mashed potatoes at your house.
C. Baked Eggplant Slices
This is a good side dish during Passover or other Jewish holidays. Marcy Segelman submitted this dish.
One and one-half pounds eggplant
One-fourth cup oil
Two cloves garlic
Three-fourths teaspoon salt
One-eighth teaspoon pepper
One-half teaspoon oregano
1. Cut eggplant crosswise into one-half inch pieces. Sprinkle slices well with salt, letting them stand in colander for one-half hour.
2. Beat oil, garlic, and seasonings with fork. Brush each slice of eggplant with oil-garlic mixture. Place slices on either a cookie sheet or a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until tender.
It should serve six people. This is from a Jewish low-cholesterol cookbook.
I hope all Consumer Vision readers enjoy these recipes. Let us hope for another season of joyful holidays and warmer weather. Let us also pray for a trusting, kinder, and happier America.
by Karen Crowder
By May first, tulips and magnolias are blooming across New England. By Memorial Day, lilacs, lily of the valley, roses, and irises spread their fragrance across cities and towns in New England. The weather is warmer with more 60- and 70-degree days and occasional 80- to 90-degree temperatures. Pleasant choruses of birds chirp mornings and evenings. If you live near brooks or rivers, there is the sound of peepers during April and May evenings. Ice cream and roadside stands are open weekends across central Massachusetts. You can find fresh strawberries, blueberries, asparagus, and ears of delicious corn in many supermarkets. May is the time to begin preparing simpler and lighter meals. When my husband and I were living at our home in Fitchburg, we had friends and neighbors with gardens. In May, we received fresh rhubarb. I made strawberry rhubarb jam, a few strawberry rhubarb pies, and tried making rhubarb sauce.
There are three special days in May. Ramadan is a revered Muslim holiday beginning May 5. Mother’s Day is May 12. Memorial Day is observed May 27.
In this issue, there are three delicious recipes: Simple Baked Fish, Dressed-Up Garden Salad, and Easy Party Fruit Salad.
 A. Simple Baked Fish
I prepared this in February as an alternative to fish covered in cream sauce. My friend and I were sharing supper; it was delicious with a tossed salad. It was easy to prepare, which we needed because of a hectic schedule. With four friends, we were participating in a trivia game at our church that evening.
One and one-half pounds codfish, flounder, haddock, or scrod
Three slices of lemon
Four tablespoons butter
Dashes of extra virgin olive oil
Two handfuls of dried chives
Dashes of curry powder and salt
Six Ritz crackers.
1. In the bottom of a 3-quart glass or Pyrex casserole dish, put dashes of olive oil, a teaspoon of butter, two squeezes of lemon juice, and spices.
2. Unwrap fish and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Break fish fillets in half and put them in the casserole dish. Put one or two squeezes of lemon juice, butter, and spices on top of fish fillets. Let fish marinate in mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn it and let it marinade on the other side for 10 minutes.
3. While the fish is marinating on the second side, in a small bowl, crush Ritz crackers, mixing them with remaining butter and dashes of curry powder.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Top fish with crumb mixture. Bake fish for 35 minutes.
Serve fish alone or with asparagus. It pairs well with a green salad and slices of Scala French or Italian bread. It makes an easy, light supper.
B. Dressed-Up Garden Salad
In spring and summer on hot days, a tossed salad is a perfect meal along with fruit or a sandwich. On very warm days, you can make a meal of salad and ears of corn.
Partial head of lettuce, or a partial bag of veggie-lovers salad mixings
Half a tomato
Optional onion and cucumbers
Ranch, vinaigrette, or Italian dressing
Optional cottage or cheddar cheese
Store-bought or home-made croutons.
1. Rinse lettuce and other vegetables and place in bowls. Add cut-up tomato and optional cucumber.
2. Add dressing, optional cottage or cheddar cheese, and top with croutons.
Tossed salad is great at barbecues with coleslaw, barbecued chicken ribs, hot dogs, and burgers.
C. Easy Party Fruit Salad
It was the last Saturday in October of 1986. My friend was planning a party to sell items from a Christmas catalog. My mom helped prepare the food. They created this delicious, inexpensive fruit salad. It combined canned and fresh fruit, the syrup and water making a delicious dressing. However, if I made it, I would substitute club soda or ginger ale for the water, serving the fruit salad with lime or orange sherbet. It is perfect as one of the desserts at your Memorial Day barbecue.
Two six-ounce cans pineapple
One large can peaches
One can fruit cocktail
One can pears
Optional: fresh or canned cherries
One quart stemmed and cut-up strawberries
One pint blueberries
One banana
One orange
Syrup from pineapple, peaches, pears, and from canned cherries if you are using those
One cup water, club soda, or ginger ale
Top it with spoonfuls of lime or orange sherbet.
1. Put all the drained, canned fruit in a large stainless mixing bowl. Put juice from canned fruit in a smaller stainless steel mixing bowl.
2. Cut strawberries, bananas, and orange into small pieces, adding them to cut-up pineapple, peaches, and pears. Stir them around with a plastic or stainless steel spoon.
3. Stir juices from canned fruit, adding water, club soda, or ginger ale.
Add dressing to cut-up fruit and cover with plastic wrap. If not serving right away, refrigerate fruit salad and serve fruit salad in glass or paper bowls, topped with optional sherbet. It is welcome on a hot summer day at any barbecue.
This fruit salad was delicious, served plain with sandwiches and snacks. The day was memorable. Sitting watching the World Series that night, we were disappointed they lost that game and another chance to win the World Series in 1986.
Consumer Vision readers almost did not receive this column because I thought my computer was not working. It is, and I hope you all enjoy this rushed May column. I hope all Consumer Vision readers have enjoyed Passover and a late Easter season. We in New England are still awaiting warmer, sunnier days in May. Let us all pray for a trusting, understanding, safer America.
by Marcy J. Segelman
Shalom, everyone.
I usually talk to you about my faith, Judaism. This time, I would like to talk about what all the people of the world are facing, not just one group. The nation is under great stress as we endure many heartbreaks of tragedy.
Yesterday’s synagogue shooting took place six months to the day after another such shooting, one in which many lives were lost. The nation responded by coming together in kindness and compassion. I don’t get it. Why does it take a tragedy to pull us together? After a tragedy, we help and do things together, but slowly we go back to whatever we were doing as if nothing had happened.
I think we have become too occupied with things and our busy lifestyles to help our fellow person. We don’t take the time to stop and relax and see what is around us. Our parents and grandparents had that opportunity. How many of us remember when Sunday was family day and there were no stores open except for a drug store?
Those of you who are close to me know that when I say I am going to Jewville or Little Jewville, I mean that I’m going to Newton Center or Harvard Street in Brookline, Massachusetts. Those are the two places you can go on Christmas and find something to do other than go to the moves or eat Chinese food. That’s what my friend Lisa and I do. It’s a lot of fun, especially when a group of us do it. We walk the streets and talk about the old days, when our folks did things with us. When I lived in Mattapan, another such place was Blue Hill Avenue. Back then, in the 1960s and early ‘70s, that was a very Jewish, thriving place to live and work.
Today we live as though no one else matters; shame on us. We as Americans must take care of one another, because no one else will. As Holy Week comes to a close, I ask that we as a nation of people, no matter who we are, Muslim, Black, Universalist, Catholic, Protestant, Arab, German, French, or Jewish, realize that we are the same at the end of the day.
There is so much bloodshed and waste of life. If we could end them, we could live in peace and in a world where we would be helping one another.
Let us say shalom (peace).
by Steven Brown
Dark gray morning
Gossamer morning fog,
Dew drops seed porch screen
That cling in somber micro
Polka dot grid patterns
Their print lasting after.
The sun dries them.
Then could this signal the end
Of too cold and too dry a summer.
Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the April Consumer Vision. The Commissioner of the National Hockey League is Gary Bettman. Congratulations to the following winners:
Roanna Bacchus of Oviedo, Florida
Nancy Hays of Oakville, Connecticut
Steve Théberge of Attleboro, Massachusetts
And now, here is your question for the May Consumer Vision. What basketball All-Star was known as Hondo? If you know the answer, please email or call 508-994-4972.
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