Welcome to The Blind Perspective

Please note: We apologize there will be no audio this month. We couldn’t get the software to work. Hopefully we can get it worked out by the next issue.

May 2022

Volume 8 Issue 5

Table of Contents

The Blind Perspective in hardcopy braille!
Sponsors of the Month
We are looking for Sponsors!
The Blind Perspective Archives
Greetings from the Editors
A Thyme to Plant
Connecting the Dots
Guide Dog Corner
Natures Nursery
Ritas iDevice Advice
The Identity Vault
Wanting or Needing Braille


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 75 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!

  1. Contact us at theblindperspective@gmail.com and we will send an invoice.
  2. Pay the 78 US Dollar invoice via PayPal.
  3. We ship the braille copy to your door or an address of your choice!

Sponsored by:

Essentially Braille Custom Braille Your Way



Check out our website at http://www.essentiallyBraille.com for our newest projects Leaf Memories by Carol Farnsworth and The Windows of Life by Mike Kelley and, a delightful and entertaining story about low vision, but seeing things in a new way. We also have hand embossed playing cards and much, much more!


Our Space Our Place, Inc. based in Boston Massachusetts, founded by blind professionals for blind youth and adults. Virtual and in-person programming, middle and high school students can attend theater and voice classes, meet other students, talk about interests, skills and future careers. Adults attend the weekly Ask An Assistive Technology(AT) Expert . For more information visit: www.ourspaceourplace.org

We are looking for Sponsors!

Do you own a business, website, or app? If you have such a business, website, or app that will benefit the blind and visually impaired, we are looking for YOU! A sponsorship is only 35 USD per month.

The Blind Perspective has over 1300 hundred subscribers, and your ad will be on the website, the emailed issue and the audio issue!

If you’re interested, please contact us at theblindperspective@gmail.com

The Blind Perspective Archives

For your convenience, we now have in the menu section above and links below to the written and audio archived issues of the blind perspective for newcomers and those who may not know of or how to get to the archived issues.

Please note: The audio archives are from January 2021 and forward.



Greetings from the Editors’

Welcome readers to the May issue of the Blind Perspective. We are so glad you have joined us and appreciate all of you who contact us every month to let us know how much you like, dislike, or want more of what our writers have shared. We are often delighted at the comments that readers share. Please continue to reach out to us.

No matter how hard we work at being professional and publishing a professional sounding magazine, mistakes happen. Sometimes those mistakes are pointed out in a very abrupt, rude, or even whiney, manner. The behaviors conveyed can make this volunteer job very frustrating and that disappoints us, not just because of the way people can be, even though that can play a part, but because we feel terrible that there has been an error. Most people, like in the case of our mistake in April, are as professional as can be, and respectfully, with humility and patience, ask us to correct mistakes. That makes us grateful to do this for the visually impaired community every month. We cannot thank everyone enough for supporting this publication and we will continue to do the best we can.

We are delighted to have a guest writer for you this month, as well as information on iDevices, gardening, nature, and more. And as always, we will try to get it as error free as possible because we want each of you to have the information. Thank you to all our writers who put in the work to write the articles. We could not do this without each of you.

Tonya J. Drew, CBT


A Thyme to Plant

by Sue Brasel

The National Garden Bureau is a non-profit organization that educates, inspires and motivates people to increase their use of plants in the United States. Through garden industry marketing, they provide horticultural sources of information. Their motto is Inspire, Connect, Grow.

James H. Burdett, a journalist and advertising manager of a seed company, was inspired to provide basic plant information to backyard gardeners in 1920, when he founded the National Garden Bureau. With horticultural writers and broadcasters, he used mass media to form a society of gardeners. By the time of World War Two, his organization encouraged people at home to grow Victory Gardens. Posters promoted Beauty and Abundance in Your Garden. The bureau promoted seeds for home gardening. After the war, community beautification efforts were increased through films, brochures and programs. Eventually, they incorporated into a non-profit entity.

Each year, the bureau selects an annual, a perennial, a bulb, an edible and a shrub as Year of the blank, crops. A new category since 2021 is houseplants. These plants are easy to grow, adaptable, have versatility and are genetically diverse. Genetic diversity influences the long-term viability of plant populations and their ability to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Since 1980, the bureau has been trying to educate and inspire gardeners to try growing different plants.

In 2022, the Year of the blank,  plants are: annual – verbena (which also have perennial varieties), perennial – phlox, bulb – gladiolus, edible—salad greens, shrub – lilac (a

deciduous shrub or small tree). Peperomia are houseplants of the year.

Each plant is spotlighted with an article on the National Garden Bureau internet site. Information can also be found for plants of previous years. Because this organization is national in scope, check to see if the particular plants you desire will do well in your plant hardiness zone. For instance, lilacs do well in the cold northern states, but there are varieties that have heat and humidity tolerances so they can be grown in zone 8.

An interesting feature of the articles is a section called Did you know? Facts that might interest readers are mentioned. An example is that salad greens were said to have given ancient Greeks and Romans a better night’s sleep. Other features include an overview and history of each plant, different species, different varieties, planting tips and growing tips.

Although peperomia are a diverse group of plants in the pepper family, they are not edible. Before eating any plant, it is wise to know if it is edible! Even if a plant is suitable for human consumption, it may not be safe for animal consumption; peperomia are not safe for humans or their pets.

Many people call gladiola bulbs, but they are actually corms. Do not confuse corms with the plant corn! Corms are like bulbs, but lack the characteristic layered scales. In zones 7-10, gladiolus are winter hardy. In colder climates, gladiola corms must be dug up in the fall, stored for the winter in a cool location, then replanted in the spring. By planting some corms weekly between the last frost date and early summer there should be a continual display of colorful summer flowers in your garden.

Now, it is thyme for me to get ready to enjoy my gladiolus. I should have maroon ones making their appearance soon, and later in the summer, my orange ones will appear.

Sue is a master gardener in Alabama and can be reached at southernsuetwo@gmail.com

Connecting the Dots

by Tonya J. Drew

It has been a while, but Connecting the Dots is back!

This month we are talking about lower group signs again, but in the context of double letters and E A.

These contractions can be used in the middle of a word, or even some compound words. However, there are some exceptions that should be noted. One exception being that if the contraction would span the two separate words of a compound word, then the contraction cannot be used.

First, here are the contractions:

bb  dots 2, 3

cc  dots 2, 5

ff    dots 2, 3, 5

gg  dots 2, 3, 5, 6

ea   dot 2

These contractions work well in words like rubble, accept, stuffy, eggs, and mileage. They cannot be used in words like easy, sheriff, dumbbell, or pineapple. Can you see how they span the words in dumbbell and pineapple? Those are good examples of places we do not use a lower group sign. It just takes a minute to practice thinking about where you are putting the symbol and if it is correct or not.

Also keep in mind that one cell group signs are preferred over these group signs that indicate double letters or e a. So, in the word office, one would use the O F contraction instead of the FF contraction. Another good example is theatre. Use the T H E contraction over the E A contraction.

Until next time, keep connecting those dots!   Tonya is a certified braille transcriber and can be reached at essentiallybraille@gmail.com

Guide Dog Corner

by Sharon Howerton

To train or not to train. That is the question of the month! Whether you are training with your first dog or your fifth, I think any handler needs to think about a lot of things such as whether you have enough room for a dog, whether those with whom you live welcome the idea, whether you can afford the food and other needs of the dog, etc. But one area that has become a big question to me personally is the amount that a new dog would work. Remember that a new dog is perhaps two years old—maybe a little older, maybe a little younger—but that dog has likely been working a lot since day one. It needs to work. A new handler needs to continue what has been done during the dog’s training and your own including obedience, schedules, etc. A woman friend who trained with her first dog a few years after mine, I noticed, often took paratransit vehicles or cabs a lot. In a metropolitan area like Chicago where I live has a lot of transport options. I told this person that working a dog did not mean walking a few steps from her home to a vehicle. Every situation is different though so if you have those kinds of questions, talk with your potential or preferred school. Some people who may live in a rural area may not need or use public transit because it isn’t available, but a dog could significantly enhance that person’s independence and safety in ways we city people cannot imagine. When I applied for a successor dog over two years ago, my activity level was much higher than it is now. Covid, in many ways, changed that.

In the meantime, please remember that opinions expressed are my own. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Stay safe, stay well and as my friend Barbara always says, Keep moving! The same applies to your dog if you have one!

Sharon can be reached at shrnhow@gmail.com

Natures Nursery

by Carol Farnsworth

The past couple of weeks, the wildlife has been frisky. Squirrels have been chasing each other up trees and jumping from branch to branch, chipmunks have wrestled a place at the feeder for seconds. Birds consumed the dried berries from the bitter sweet plants. 

The cardinals start their annual mating ritual in early March. Each pair is monogamous. The males have several distinct mating songs.

Even the lady bugs can be seen hatching to swarm and start a brood of new red and black bugs.

People, too are tired of the cold and layers of clothing. On college campuses, the co-eds shed their coats leaving them behind to catch the suns rays and watch the changes that this time of the year brings.

Here in the North East part of the country, we are still waiting for Spring. How do we, as writers, write about the glories of the new season when the weather is cold wet and windy?

My suggestion is to keep a Journal about daily changes and report the wildlife activities.

For example, the weather yesterday was windy and rain was peppered with snowflakes. I could feel the snow and how it felt when changing to rain.

The two wind chimes proclaim the wind strength and even the direction.

Putting bird seed on the patio, encourages the birds, squirrels and chipmunks to gather closer to the back door.

Today, the frisky squirrel climbed onto the patio box and observed the humans in the house.  By making observations of what daily changes are happening, you will have the makings of poems or short stories.  The squirrel in the rain with his tail curved over his head to protect his head from the rain. The constant game of tag that the squirrels chasing each other to get to the nuts and seeds.

Robins playing tug of war with a night crawler, complete the visual picture with what happened before and after the event.

By keeping a daily journal, you will have a great source of starters for poems.

Keeping notes on your observations will increase your connection with nature’s rhythms. Today there may be one crocus up, tomorrow there will be a dozen. Snow drops, soon yield to daffodils. 

Feel the new growth, note the aroma of the new growth.

Before you know it, Spring will be in full bloom. Catch the spring.

Birding by Ear

by  Carol Farnsworth

Here in Michigan, spring is in full bloom. The squirrels are pregnant, and the birds are practicing their mating flights. So how does a low vision or blind individual enjoy birding?   First preparing to find birds by listening to bird songs from local birds. Cornell University has many audio files of bird song.

A new birder can copy files of local birds and keep files of birds that you have heard. A teacher from University of Michigan has developed a method to teach children to remember and identify bird song. Start with the birds that you hear in your backyard and expand your area. In my first couple of recordings on my I phone, I heard thirty different songs including four migratory species.

As you train your ears, you will find that several birds have similar song patterns. The common Robin’s song is similar to two other birds. By listening closely, the birder will discern that one song is more melodious while another song sounds as if the bird has a sore throat.

Not all novice birders will continue to study birds, but the listening for nature’s sounds will develop an appreciation of the natural world and help in developing his or her listening skills. Below are a few of the websites to start your search for bird song and studying bird song by listening. There are recordings about different birds and their location. 

Some calls are easy to identify such a chickadee or phoebe birds. Their calls sound like their names.


National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled Birding page



Carol’s articles appear in the Blind Perspective and Newsreel magazine. You can reach Carol at carolaspot@aol.com

Ritas iDevice Advice

by Rita Howells

Financial Health Quiz
Note:  This information is meant for Educational purposes only.

What is the Apple Wallet?
Answer:  Apple wallet is a mobile app included with the iOS operating system, on Apple iOS Devices, that allows users to store wallet passes, many types of coupons, boarding passes, student ID cards, event tickets, movie tickets, etc.

What is Apple Pay?
Answer:  Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service from Apple, that allows users to make payments in person within iOS apps, and on the web when using Safari.  It is supported on the iPhone, Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac.

What is the Apple Credit Card?
Answer:  when you buy something using the Apple card, you get a percentage of your purchase back in daily cash.  it’s real cash, so unlike rewards it never expires or loses its value.  Your cash is deposited right into your Apple Cash card in the Wallet app, not a month from now but every day.

What do most financial experts say is the maximum amount you should withdrawal from personal savings (to live on) after you retire?
Answer:  no more than 4 percent per year.

What is meant by the three-legged stool in regards to planning on retirement income?
Answer: This refers to having: Social security SSA benefits. Defined Benefit Retirement Income from your employer. Funds from personal savings such as from Deferred Comp, a 401K, a personal IRA, Roth IRA, other investments, etc.

What did Albert Einstein call one of the greatest mathematical concepts of our time?
Answer:  Compound interest

What is Net Worth?
Answer:  Net worth. Net worth is the number that sums up your money life.  One measuring stick: All you own minus all you owe should equal your age times your gross income divided by 10:  according to the book, “The Millionaire Next Door.

What is the rule of 72?
Answer:  This is used to calculate how long it will take for your money to double. If you have 10 thousand dollars and it is earning 3 percent interest: You take 3 into the number 72 = 24. Thus, it will take 24 years for your 10 thousand dollars to become 20 thousand dollars.

What is a Money Market Account?
Answer:  A money market fund is an open-ended mutual fund that invests in short-term debt securities such as US Treasury bills and commercial paper.  Money market funds are managed with the goal of maintaining a highly stable asset value through liquid investments, while paying income to investors in the form of dividends.

What is a Certificate of Deposit (CD)?
Answer:  A certificate of deposit is a time deposit, a financial product commonly sold by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions.  CDs differ from savings accounts in that the CD has a specific, fixed term and usually, a fixed interest rate.

What is the US Stock Market?
Answer: The Stock Market often refers to the major stock market indexes, such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500.  Because it’s hard to track every single stock, these indexes include a section of the stock market and their performance is viewed as representative of the entire market. You might see a news headline that says the stock market has moved lower, or that the stock market closed up or down for the day.  Most often, this means stock market indexes have moved up or down, meaning the stocks within the index have either gained or lost value.  Investors who buy and sell stocks hope to turn a profit through this movement in stock prices.

What are Mutual Funds?
Answer:  A Mutual Fund is an investment program funded by shareholders that trades in diversified holdings and is professionally managed.

What are Exchange Traded Funds (ETF’s)?
Answer:  An exchange-traded fund is a type of investment fund and exchange-traded product, i.e. they are traded on stock exchanges. ETFs are similar in many ways to mutual funds, except that ETFs are bought and sold throughout the day on stock exchanges while mutual funds are bought and sold based on their price at day’s end.

What is a 401K?
Answer:  A 401k plan is a benefit commonly offered by employers to ensure employees have dedicated retirement funds.  There is a set percentage that the employee chooses which is automatically taken out of each paycheck and invested in a 401k account.

What is a 529 Plan?
Answer:  A 529 Plan is a tax-advantaged savings plan designed to help pay for education.  Prepaid tuition plans allow the account owner to pay in advance for tuition at designated colleges and universities, locking in the cost at today’s rates.  529 plans are also referred to as qualified tuition programs and Section 529 plans.

What is a commonly recognized formula to consider when determining how much of your savings should be in the Stock Market?
Answer:  The right stock-bond mix depends on your personal goals, stomach for risk, and time horizon, or number of years you expect to hold your investments.  This formula has been suggested:  Subtract your age from 110.  That’s how much, percentage-wise, you might want to keep in stocks.

Rita can be reached at ritahowells@att.net

The Identity Vault

We Meet People Out of the Blue

 by Deborah E Joyce

I just returned from a training session, and had some very interesting conversations. The woman sitting next to me worked for the airline… In cybersecurity. What a coincidence! Comparing notes, we both lamented how people don’t take identity theft in cybersecurity seriously, how vulnerable our computer systems are, and that we have fallen a bit behind the times. It costs money to keep current.

The 2nd leg of my travel sat me next to a gentleman working for an architectural firm. His firm was hacked.

My seat mate on the way home was a criminologist, in her mid-30’s. She was looking for a change, so we started talking digital forensics. She had thought about that, but liked the idea of prosecuting in court. When I mentioned to her that she would have to convince the judge and jury that identity theft is a crime, not he said she said, she hadn’t thought of that aspect. But she wanted the thieves punished. She couldn’t even convince her own 50-year-old mom to be more careful.  

I was fortunate to relocate to a state, where ID theft is a crime. Here, the law states a person commits the offense of Identity Theft if he/she transmits the personal information of another person by any oral statement, any written statement, or any statement conveyed by any electronic means with the intent to commit the offense of theft. A person who obtains property (or who attempts to obtain property) the value of which exceeds $20,000 faces a mandatory prison term of up to 20 years. If the value of the property exceeds $300, the person may face a prison term of up to 10 years. And if the value of the property is less than $300, the person may face a prison term of up to 5 years.

Not he said, she said as I outlined in my book…

The flashy court case gets noticed, but the unsung heroes are in the background.

Bottom line? Know the laws in your state. And thank these wonderful people working behind the scenes to keep us safe.

Be vigilant,

Deborah is the Author of Identity Theft A Victims Search for Justice db103152 and you can follow her blog on deborahejoyce.com

Wanting or Needing Braille?

By Jennifer Streisand

Recently, I listened to a recording of a discussion group, entitled, Embracing Braille, produced by the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired. One of the hosts asked the participants, why do you want to Learn Braille? Then she went on to explain there are many different ways to use Braille, and it does not have to be an all or nothing endeavor.

The question of Why do you want to Learn Braille, got me to ask myself, Do I Need or Want Braille? and why do I like it so much, or even love it, as in the title of another popular discussion group, I Love Braille, produced by the East Bay Center for the Blind, Berkley, California.

I decided the answer is both.  As a person with a small amount of vision, more formally referred to as low vision, I have come to need and rely on Braille in my daily routine.  It saves me a lot of time and frustration in identifying items I use on a daily basis.   Each of us who has experienced vision loss must find their repertoire, or personal list of best practices, to help us in our daily lives.  Many of us think of accessible technology as a good way to save time and frustration, and screen magnification and audio are excellent tools. But I have added Braille to my repertoire of tools to make life a little easier, and less frustrating. 

Perhaps Braille has helped me the most in organizing my list of contacts: household contacts, family members, friends, and professional contacts.  I write the name of the contact in Braille with my slate and stylus, and then in large print, have the full contact name, phone, and addresses.  Having the name in Braille saves me a lot of time in finding the contact in my index-card file.  In addition, writing the contact names in Braille is good practice for learning Braille letters and contractions. Another way Braille saves me a lot of frustration, is in finding specific kinds of clothes, such as undergarments, and socks. I have each of these types of clothes in a satchel, with a Braille label on it.  Each morning I am then spared the frustration of rummaging through my drawers to find what I need.  Increasingly, I found it difficult to identify these types of clothing, and the Braille labels in this context have changed my life. 

Another way I need Braille is to help me organize and read my notes.  Increasingly, I have a lot of trouble reading my own handwriting.  So, I have begun to write a short Braille version of my notes, alongside the regular written text notes, and the Braille version helps me to identify and read the text notes much faster and reduces my frustration in trying to read what I have written.

As I expand my skill level in Braille, I am sure I will find other ways I will come to need it in my daily routine. 

I want Braille, or enjoy it, for so many reasons.  I like the study of Braille.  Perhaps part of that has to do with my Braille tutor, Tonya Johnson Drew, one of the editors of The Blind Perspective, who I found when she was the presenter in an Embracing Braille discussion group.  I work with her via email and phone, and her love of Braille, in addition to her expertise, has helped me learn. 

I no longer work outside the home at all, and it is through my Braille studies, that I have met other blind and visually impaired people such as Tonya, to ask questions, and be in contact –all remotely—so that I have professional contacts without leaving my home. 

I look forward to my short Braille study period each day, almost as much as listening to audio books. Tactile reading gives my eyes a rest, while learning something new.

So, the answer is both: I need Braille in my personal list of best practices to cope with my vision loss, and I want Braille for the feeling of happiness it gives me in learning it. 

Jennifer is a guest writer with The Blind Perspective and can be reached through theblindperspective@gmail.com

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