Volume 7 Issue 7
Table of Contents
The Blind Perspective in hardcopy braille!
Sponsors of the Month
Greetings from the Editors’
A Thyme to Plant
Beyond the Book Jacket
Connecting the Dots
Guide Dog Corner
The Blind Perspective Newsletter has been produced in such a manner that makes it easier to stroll through the articles. If you are using JAWS, System Access, or NVDA, press the letter H to move through the headings. If you are wanting to skip back simply press the shift key + the letter H. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H and to go backwards through the articles press Control Option Command shift plus the letter H. If one of the links do not work for you just copy and paste it in to your browser and it should work.
The Blind Perspective in hardcopy braille!
Interested in a braille copy of The Blind Perspective? We now have that covered as yet another avenue for your reading enjoyment! The cost is 60 US Dollars for a 12 month subscription. Get a subscription for yourself or perhaps as a gift. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!
- Contact us at email@example.com and we will send an invoice.
- Pay the 60 US Dollar invoice via PayPal.
- We ship the braille copy to your door or an address of your choice!
Sponsored by: Essentially Braille Custom Braille Your Way
Greetings from the Editors’
One year. It is amazing the changes that can happen in one year. Ben and I got married July 4 last year. As most people know, the first few years of a marriage can present many challenges. We have faced them, worked through them, and will continue to do so. It strengthens us as individuals and as a couple. Ben and I have spent many evenings working on this publication together, watching videos, talking, working things out, and planning our future. I love him more now than I did a year ago.
This month has some good information available for your reading pleasure: book reviews, gardening, guide dogs, and more. Beyond bioptics is sharing bioptic driving gear and visiting the eye doctor and Connecting the Dots will give you more information on contracted braille. So, as you attend cookouts, vacation, or just enjoy a quiet afternoon on the patio, you can take The Blind Perspective with you, in audio or in braille, to enjoy.
Tonya J. Drew
A Thyme to Plant
By Sue Brasel
Some plants compete with your flowers and vegetables for garden space, depriving your desired vegetation of nutrients, water, and light. These are the weeds, the plants not wanted in that particular location. Weeds can be helpful if they stabilize soil with organic matter. Some weeds are indicators of soil adjustments, or amendments, that should be considered.
To limit the number of weeds in your garden, here are some options to try:
Mulch. This is usually thought of as a way to retain moisture in the soil. It also reduces the light needed for plant growth and it minimizes the rate of growth. It helps protect your plants from insect damage. A 1 inch to 4-inch-thick layer should be placed around each plant, spaced an inch from your plants. Weeds are likely to grow if the mulch is too thin; water has a hard time reaching growing roots if too thick. When dealing with annuals, wait until the seedlings emerge in the spring, then thin for optimal spacing between plants before mulching. When planting winter crops in the heat of summer, the same idea applies, but consider shade protection for the tender shoots. For perennials, mulching every two years is environmentally beneficial. Organic mulches could be straw or shredded leaves, inorganic mulches could include black plastic or weighted down newspaper. Other mulching options can also be considered.
Pull them out. Weeds pull out fairly easily when soil is moist and they are small. Sticks with colorful tape or string near the top, or disposable cutlery, placed beside the plant you want, mark your plants so you don’t pull out the wrong plant! Wearing gardening gloves helps, especially when you are apt to pull vines with thorns! Some weeds get so embedded in the soil that snipping them out at the base with pruning shears might be the way to go. Consider kneeling pads or camp stools for long weeding sessions.
When pulling thorny vines or poison ivy, it is advisable to wear long sleeves and long pants! Discard those vines in the trash rather than a compost pile. If you make contact with poison ivy, poison oak or poison sumac, wash the affected areas immediately (include clothing and/or tools). If plants cause allergic reactions, consult a professional for advice.
Keep weeds from going to seed. Some weeds are easier to cut down rather than pull out of the ground. If you want the greenery, at least keep the flower heads cut back.
Minimize soil disruption. Cultivation, stirring up the top few inches of soil, used to be advocated. Now, it is known that some weed seeds lie dormant in the ground for a long time. By exposing those seeds to light and air, they germinate. An old wife’s tale about weeding at night has been proven by German researchers to have some validity. About 75 percent of weeds don’t germinate if cultivating is done at night!
Eat your weeds. Know which weeds are edible, and which parts of those varieties are edible. Some people consider mint a weed because it can rapidly overtake a garden. That is one plant I enjoy having for fragrance and taste, and I don’t consider it a weed! Mint is refreshing in a glass of ice water, a delightful tasting treat in a fruit salad, and a surprise ingredient in Lemon Mint Yeast Bread (recipe provided if requested).
It is now “thyme” for me to weed thorny vines out of my rosemary and lantana bushes! Sue is a master gardener in Alabama and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Carol Farnsworth
Dear Readers, I wish to apologize for having the wrong email at the end of my article. I finally noticed the error in the June’s issue. I have put the correct email at the end of July’s article.
I know that I am not the only blind person that run into funny situations dealing with the visual world. Would you like to share your story? Restroom Drama
This is one of the most difficult and funniest places that a blind person can experience. If you want a small taste of what many visually impaired people experience, close your eyes next time you go into a large bathroom. Can you tell where the stalls are located? How about the sinks? Will you be able to find the soap, towels and then find you way out? Let me talk about some of my experiences.
When I enter a large restroom by myself, I usually stop and listen for flushing sounds to locate stalls. This stopping gives people time to evaluate the situation and decide if they want to help. Sometimes I appreciate it and sometimes I don’t.
One time I was in a restroom at the airport. I couldn’t locate the stalls because of people talking. That time I asked the room if someone would direct me to a stall. A very kind woman showed me to a stall and pointed out the toilet paper dispenser, the flush lever and the lock. I thanked her and used the commode. When I opened the stall an airport employee was waiting there to help me locate the sink, soap and towels. She informed me that the woman that had helped was called for her flight and wanted to be sure that I could get out and continue my travels.
I also have been given help when I didn’t need it. This happened on the Natchez Trace in a public restroom. I was going in to change into biking clothes. The room was empty and quiet. I started to travel the wall looking for a stall. A woman entered and without talking pushed me into the first available stall. The lock was broken, and the toilet continued to flush every minute. I was trying to change while holding the door closed. To make matters worse this woman was pushing against the door and asking if I was all right. With all the noise, I dropped my wallet and didn’t hear it hit the floor and lost my wallet. I called the rest stop and was told it was given to the guard minus the money, it was not worth going back a hundred miles, I just asked them to destroy it.
In some states a person of the opposite gender can go into a restroom to assist. This makes my husband very uncomfortable. He will look first for family restrooms that are not gender specific. If he can’t locate one, he will take me into a men’s restroom, if not crowded. I use to be leery of this until I lost all sight. Now I just hurry into a stall and get out as quickly as possible.
I heard a story from one of my blind conference friends that he looks for a handicapped stall in large public restrooms because they have the sink and junk container in the stall. He said that he has gone over to wash his hands. Only to discover that he was washing in the urinal!
In this time of corona virus, people may not be comfortable approaching a person in a restroom. I pull out a small bottle of hand sanitizer while orienting to the space. When I leave the stall, I again use the hand sanitizer while listening for the sink area or the exit.
If you notice a person using a white cane in a restroom, ask if they need assistance and listen to what they may or may not require. Both you and the visually impaired will feel good about the experience.
Readers, I know we all have stories to share about dealing with our blindness. If you would like to see them published, send me the story and your name and where you live, city and country. I will put your stories in the next month of The Blind Perspective. Remember to keep the stories family friendly. Please send me the stories before the 13 the of the month.
Send the stories to email@example.com . Happy writing.
Carol is a contributing writer to Newsreel magazine. Her poems and articles have appeared in Magnets and Ladders, Breath and Shadows, The Avocet, Plumtree Tavern, the Handy Uncapped Pen and Spirit Fire Reveiw.
Carol Writes a bi-weekly blog, Blind on the Lite Side, traveling up and down the blind highway of life. She can be reached by email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Her blog address is below.
Editors note: Anyone with an article they would like to be considered for The Blind Perspective may send submissions to email@example.com by the 15th of each month.
Beyond Bioptics Part 2
By Tonya J. Drew
I recently went for my regular eye checkup. After getting married and moving last year, I needed a new eye care facility. Dr. Long, as you will remember from last month as the low vision specialist, recommended I go ahead and go where Ben had gone: Midwest Eye Consultants in Shelbyville, Indiana.
Our eye specialist there is Dr. Lindsey Colliver O.D. When Ben had his last visit, we told her about my visit to Dr. Long coming up right before my appointment, so she was eager to hear what he said. I took my prescription that Dr. Long gave me and Dr. Colliver confirmed it was the best one for me at this time.
First, we were taken to a couple of different rooms. The first room they checked color vision, eye pressure (mine was normal this time!), finger tested vision field, and depth perception. All of mine was off, but I got through it.
Next, we were taken to a room for a scan of my eye.
They took us to the exam room finally. They did basic eye exam so Dr. Colliver would know where to begin. They dilated my eyes first, which makes me legally blind and then wonder why the process is so frustrating.
Dr. Colliver examined my eyes and then did the refraction, this is where they get the eye glass prescription. She liked Dr. Long’s script and recommended we fill that. My insurance agreed to cover a pair of glasses this year and we had already ordered a pair, so I will have the use of two pair, which will be wonderful!
After two weeks, both pair of glasses I ordered came in. One pair I ordered from Zenni Optical and I am still fitting myself. They are wonderful! They have anti glare coating, blue light blocking, and are wonderful for driving and watching videos with Ben. The other pair came from Midwest Eye Consultants. They have no amenities, but are good for using at the computer, or adding my temporary monocular telescope for more clear distance use. They fitted the glasses when I picked them up, so they are adjusted for my face and fit well.
My bioptics should be in any time now. The process and experience will be discussed next month.
Tonya is a certified braille transcriber and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond the Book Jacket
By Bonnie Blose
You’ll Never Know, Dear: A Novel Of Suspense by Hallie Ephron
Have you ever read a book with such a great title you had to read it? I love the title of this book.
I have sometimes given thought to sisters and brothers who lost a sibling they were watching or playing with at the time. My closest experience to this was with a classmate involved in a car accident which killed her nephew just after his fifth birthday. Many times, I have wondered how she lived with this and the effect it had on her life.
Happily, Lissie’s experience is fictional. To the degree we make characters and experiences real, it is heartbreaking nevertheless.
A tragedy can stop life on a dime. Yes, those left to live on without the one they love do so. They walk through their days, taking care of other children, cooking meals, going to work, but they are forever different. As children grow, they don’t always know about heartaches and regrets their parents carry. My mother lost her first child, but it was long before I was born. As I grow older, I think about what she felt. Whether it would be better to know more or have had the opportunity to ask about it, I will never know.
A loss leaves all dealing with it a sense of before and after. It is even more difficult if, as Lissie knew, there were times when she didn’t want to watch her sister. It was never a question of love. Lissie runs after a puppy only to return unable to find her four-year-old sister Janey. The police search along with neighbors and friends, but Janey is never found.
Lissie’s mother starts making dolls. Every year, she makes an appeal on the anniversary of Janey’s disappearance hoping for news of what happened to her.
Forty years later, a young woman comes to her door with a doll Janey’s mother is convinced is one she made for Janey. Is she alive?
The search begins anew. At this time, Lissie has a daughter of her own. Wanting to help and interested in assisting people with nightmares to reshape their horrible dreams, Vanessa investigates to determine whether the doll is the one her mother and grandmother are searching for.
There is lots of suspense before we come to the conclusion. There is a fire. Characters end up in the hospital. Others we thought we could trust we learn we can’t. There are secrets and bitter feelings, lots of concern that isn’t anything like it seems. The truth comes out. Since I quite often figure out what happens in novels of this type, I must admit I did this time. It was an enjoyable read with enough twists and turns to retain my interest. I don’t like suspense as much as I used to, perhaps because life personally has been more suspenseful than I need.
You will learn about broken dolls and quite a bit about how they are made. You will learn a little about what happens when secrets and long repressed grievances boil over too. Here is the downloading information for You’ll Never Know, Dear. I adore the title. I know I said that already, but I really do.
You’ll never know, dear: a novel of suspense DB92952
Ephron, Hallie. Reading time: 8 hours, 40 minutes.
Read by Amy McFadden. A production of the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. Suspense Fiction Psychological Fiction
Head Over Wheels by Lee Kingman.
While I was without internet service, I read some extraordinary books.
Head Over Wheels is one of the very best books I’ve had the opportunity to read about a boy who ends up as a quadriplegic after a deadly automobile accident. We’ve read the descriptions before. We’ve heard about the depression, denial, and the pain. This fabulous novel goes beyond these too much that is even more important and life changing.
Terry and Kerry are 17 when the accident takes place. The day begins with a request to help a friend move from one apartment to another. When the job is completed, the truck in which they were passengers is hit by another driver killing the driver of the truck.
Kerry and Terry are twins and share a passion for athletics. They are good looking with girlfriends eager to finish their senior year with a desire to travel around the country instead of heading off to college which their parents haven’t heard about yet. Identical twins have a special bond. Several months before the accident which alters their lives, they started carving out individual identities with girlfriends and different interests. Terry and his girl Roxy spend time together taking little part in family activities. Kerry and his girlfriend Jenny love family time and enjoy each other’s families.
How does a twin find an identity all his own? Difference of the most significant kind is thrust upon them when Terry is left a quadriplegic after the crash. His twin brother Kerry is a constant reminder to Terry of all he has lost. Terry and Kerry ponder what life will be like without Terry’s ability to walk and pursue the sports he loves. Athletically inclined, he is not interested in developing interests which involve his mind.
What will he do with the rest of his life? Will sex and having children be possible? Is life worth living? Eager to help his family, Kerry gets a job meaning Jenny sees him less. While Terry learns how to live in a new way in a rehab center, the parents worry about the bills. They worry about the very limited health insurance they have and alterations necessary to make life when Terry comes home easier and more accessible. As the family struggles to make a plan for the future, they worry and wonder whether Terry will ever live independently and what it will mean for them if he can’t.
There is a lot of soul searching going on here, but always, there is incredible love. Doubt hovers over every day coloring every choice the family considers.
What makes this book so special is not just the twin factor. One of the doctors involved with Terry is in a wheelchair as a result of polio. He was older and more settled in his life when his life changed, but he is sensitive to what is important to a boy just turning 18 beginning his life. Through him, Terry learns about how nerves work and the difference between feeling and motion. He learns from other patients going through their own experience with rehab. When he goes home for weekend visits, he misses his old room upstairs. The house has undergone a conversion of its own as much as the rest of the family has. They are all human and make mistakes. They shield Terry from the worries that are a part of their days believing he has more than enough to learn and accept.
Eventually, he learns the driver of the truck died in the accident adding even more poignancy to why he is still here. Kerry comes close to breaking. Kerry knows Terry is losing his girlfriend and that she cannot deal with the accident or Terry as he is now, but he isn’t prepared for Terry to get close to his own girlfriend. What every experience teaches is the need to figure out our place in the world and what it is we want to do in our lives. Accident and tragedy do not eliminate the need to make serious decisions.
The doctor in the wheelchair makes this book memorable and worth reading. The realism with which parents grapple with financial concerns and how much Terry’s situation will affect their later years is hard to talk about but necessary. Lee Kingman brings all of these questions without easy answers into the open. It is the most realistic book about disability I’ve read in a long time.
The questions are heartbreaking, the struggles realistic. No matter how much we prepare for life, there are obstacles caused by circumstance or by fear and worry keeping us up nights. Without enough money, other children, and things unknown and unforeseen, how can a family find answers? How much should be shared? When and how much should a boy struggle with tragic circumstances and tremendous change be told? In the end, a time comes when adulthood means sharing all you can. It is what love and caring for one another is about. Even the most injured have a stake in what happens to them and to the family they love.
I love this book. Lee Kingman faced issues head on as much as Terry, Kerry, parents, and friends had to deal with the changes which happened suddenly in all their lives. If you don’t like books about disability, read this one. It is a truthful novel about ordinary people who must go on when doing so is filled with questions without easy resolution. You will spend time with beautifully wrought characters and with a fine writer. What more could we ask for? Here is the download information for Head Over Wheels. It is an older book, but the feelings and experiences are relevant and will resonate with you in spending time with a great family and set of characters.
Head over wheels DB13747
Kingman, Lee. Reading time: 5 hours, 27 minutes.
Read by John Richardson. National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress. Family Young Adult.
Bonnie can be reached at email@example.com
Connecting the Dots
By Tonya J. Drew
Some of the easiest contracted braille to learn are the single cell contraction. Once a person has become accustomed to them, strong word contractions can really reduce reading and writing time.
The word AND is dots 1,2,3,4,6. This contraction can be used anywhere the letters A, N, and D appear together, such as the words panda or stand, or as a stand-along word.
The word THE is dots 2,3,4,6. It is used just the same. Anywhere the letters T, H, and E appear together, the contraction can be used. A stand-alone word, or in a name like Theodore.
The word FOR is dots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. This also can stand-alone or be used in words like forward, or information.
The contractions for the words OF (1, 2, 3, 5, 6) and WITH (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) are often confusing for beginning readers. Remember that the letter W (2, 4, 5, 6) also starts with dot 2 and that should help. They can also stand alone or be used in words like roof and office or withhold and withe.
The exception to this rule might be a situation where a writer has to decide what will save the most space. A good example is the word withe. One could use the contraction for T, H, E, but it saves more space to use the contraction for W, I, T, H, so that is used instead. One would also not use a strong word contraction if it overlaps a solid compound word. An example is the word twofold. A person writing braille would not use the O, F contraction, but would write out the whole word instead.
Until next month, keep connecting those dots!
Tonya is a certified braille transcriptionist and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guide Dog Corner
By Sharon Howerton
I get a lot of emails and subscribe to various lists. I can’t say I listen to every message and every post unless they are personal, of course, but just in this past week of June 7, I noticed two posts about guide dogs. One concerns a podcast called Eyes on Success and was called Cane or Dog. As I checked further, it seems that this was produced by Guide Dogs for the Blind so obviously would contain their views on the topic. You would need to subscribe to that podcast to be able to listen to that program or perhaps just search for the show name, Cane or Guide Dog. The other item came from Leader Dogs of Rochester, MI and was called How a Dog Becomes a Leader Dog. So, there’s another term for you. Leader grads call their dogs Leader Dogs. Follow the leader is fine for kids, but I’d personally prefer the term “guide” as in walking sighted guide. But let’s get back to our school discussion.
When I started to explore the idea of training with a dog, I talked with some friends who were similar to me—professional blind women. One suggested that I train at a school where the dog would be familiar with cold and snow. I had a student some years ago who lived in a hot, humid climate. She trained at the same school as I and though it was an East Coast school, her dog did very poorly in her home environment. The geography idea is not an absolute nor is anything when you try to make a dog/human match.
Now, you have decided on a school or at least an area of the country. Maybe you decide to apply to two different places just in case. People do that all the time, in my experience. Applications and other documents are generally found online which makes the whole process so much easier and quicker. You may find that you need to have several documents sent. These include a medical report from your doctor, a visual report especially if you have some vision, a mobility report from someone who trained you in this skill and an essay about why you would like to train with a dog. You are asked for specific routes that you take regularly or at least that was on the application I submitted 18 months ago so this could have changed. For my particular school, I needed a tetanus shot if would be training in their facility. As I am over 65, I needed an EKG. The bottom line is that you are the responsibility of the school and its staff whether you train in their facility or do home training. They need to know you are healthy enough to participate in training, walk a certain amount, deal with all kinds of weather as who knows when your class will be scheduled, etc. Certainly, people get sick during class, but you need to be generally healthy and, again, let your school decide what that means. Ask them if you aren’t sure.
I was also asked to have a video taken and asked a sighted friend to do this. He used his iPhone. For this application, I was to show the inside and outside of my apartment probably to be sure that there was adequate room for a dog. In the past, a field rep would have visited me and seen my residence firsthand. We then had to go outside. I walked with Cameo to a nearby lighted intersection, crossed both streets and walked a bit farther up the next block.
Don’t be discouraged if you live in the country and would like to train. Your situation is much different from mine living in the city of Chicago. I don’t live downtown but do live on a busy street with lots of traffic, close proximity of buildings but also lots of public transportation and other amenities nearby. A person living in the country or small town may find a dog to be even more valuable or beneficial, but let your school help you with this decision and by all means don’t give up. Applying for and training with a dog is not an easy decision, but it can definitely be a good one.
As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns or comments. Safe travels!
Sharon is a former braille instructor and can be reached at email@example.com
Aunt Lydia’s Sugar Cookie Recipe and Lemonade Memories of Summer
by Alice Jane-Marie Massa
Are you ready to toast the summer with a glass of lemonade? When I think of lemonade, I recall my Aunt Lydia, one of my mother’s older sisters. Born on August 9, 1912, Aunt Lydia–with her energy, enthusiasm, and caring–comes to my mind. For all the times she had a pitcher of homemade lemonade ready to share with guests at the farm on hot summer days, I should toast my dear aunt with a glass of lemonade.
Of my seven aunts who have enriched my life, only my Aunt Lydia did not work outside her home. Living on the farm throughout her married life, Aunt Lydia was always busy as a farmer’s wife and mother of three children; nevertheless, I remember that each time we went to the farm for a summer’s day or evening visit, she welcomed us with a big glass pitcher of homemade lemonade, in which were floating lemon halves, whose juice and pulp had been squeezed away to make one of my favorite summer beverages. Additionally, Aunt Lydia always had a ceramic cookie jar filled with homemade sugar cookies—which, I thought, made the trip from our home in west-central Indiana to the east-central Illinois farm worthwhile. Yes, my family and I saw the rich and flat farmland, chickens, pigs, cattle as we drew near to the farmhouse. Our two families sat on the wooden swing and aluminum lawn chairs or gathered around the kitchen table. We enjoyed the sharing of news and laughter or played a game; however, Aunt Lydia’s special cookies were a highlight of the visit—a wonderful and memorable treat.
Although I have made my Aunt Lydia’s Sugar Cookie recipe more times than I could count and although the recipe always turned out very well, the sugar cookies that I made never tasted exactly the same as Aunt Lydia’s special, homemade treats. To honor the memory of my dear Aunt Lydia (August 9, 1912-March 2, 2006), I share with you her basic, versatile, and delicious cookie recipe.
Aunt Lydia’s Sugar Cookies
1. Preheat oven to 375 or 400 degrees.
2. Cream together one-fourth cup shortening, one-fourth cup softened (or, my preference melted) margarine, and three-fourths cup sugar.
3. Add one egg, one tablespoon milk, and one-half or one teaspoon vanilla to creamed mixture.
(Variations: You may substitute almond extract, peppermint extract, anise extract, or other flavorings for the vanilla.)
4. Gradually add one and three-fourths cups flour, three-fourths teaspoon cream of tartar, three-fourths teaspoon baking soda, and one-fourth teaspoon salt.
5. Using a tablespoon of dough, roll dough into a ball (about the size of a walnut) and place onto an ungreased baking sheet.
6. After balls of dough are placed (with approximately two inches of separation) onto the cookie sheet, use a fork to create a crisscross pattern on each ball of dough to result in a slightly flattened shape.
7. Bake at 375 to 400 degrees for eight to ten minutes (until edges are lightly browned).
8. After removing the cookie sheet from the oven, let the cookies stand on the baking sheet for one to two minutes until cookies are no longer soft; then, move the cookies to a flat serving tray. Enjoy Aunt Lydia’s Sugar Cookies with a glass of lemonade!
9. To store cookies for a longer period of time, place cooled cookies into either a tin or plastic (airtight) container.
Happy Baking and happy summer!
Alice Jane-Marie Massa
Weekly blog: alice13wordwalk.wordpress.com
Author’s web page: http://www.dldbooks.com/alicemassa/
The Blind Perspective
Articles may be rejected if they contain heavy amounts of religion, politics or social justice materials thereof. We reserve the write to reject any article deemed against policies. We also reserve the right to change the policies at anytime.
Thank you for reading the Blind Perspective!
© 2015-present All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any way without the prior expressed written permission of The Blind Perspective.