Welcome to The Blind Perspective

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March 2020
Volume 6; Issue 3

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Movers & Shakers
Odds & Ends
Exercise, does a body good
Have I Got A Story For You
The Braille Highway
The Guide Dog Journey
Spencer’s Spotlight
App Petizers: Byte Size Tidbits to Help Master Your iDevice
A Time to Plant
Dirty Work
The Beauty Parlor
Cooking Concoctions
Riddle & Brain Buster


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.

If you have any trouble reading this copy you can go to Click Here it will take You to the read the current newsletter

Greetings from the Editor

By Karen Santiago

Welcome to our March edition. March is usually considered the month of new beginnings and changes. Many of us will be moving the clocks forward and entering into a different season. However, this issue of the Blind Perspective is like all the others, loaded with informative, educational, and entertaining articles.


Remember you can also choose to listen to our audio version of the newsletter, link below:
The Blind Perspective Audio

At A Glance: US Census, Alexa, iPhone, & Signature, Yoga Part 2, Old & New, Undertaking, Caring Part 2, Guard, Bridging, Moving, Mattress, Hair, Turkey Chili, Riddle & Brain Buster!

Movers & Shakers

US Census
By Cheryl Cumings

Census 2020

The US Constitution requires that every ten years all of the people living in the United States are counted. Data gathered from the census is used to determine billions of Federal dollars which states use for health care, transportation, education, housing and other services. The census also determines how electoral boundaries are drawn and thereby representation in city, state and federal legislatures.

People with disabilities have been identified as an undercounted group. Even though the census does not ask questions about disability, it is important that we respond and are counted. The reality is an undercount of the population results in a state loosing Federal dollars and services being underfunded.

Beginning March 12, letters will be sent from the Census Bureau to all households. This year in addition to being able to respond to the census using a paper form, individuals will be able to respond via the internet and via telephone. The letter will have a unique twelve digit code which is to use to respond to the census online. If you don’t have the code, you will be asked questions to identify your household and to respond to the survey online. The online version of the census is 508 compliant.

Another way to respond to the census will be via phone. Individuals will be able to respond to the census in 12 languages and English. The official start of the census is April 1. However, after receiving the census letter and if you know that the number of individuals in your household will be the same as on April 1, you can complete the census prior to the official start date.

Notices reminding you about the census will be sent until May. Beginning in May, a Census numerator will visit your home to ask you questions if you have not responded online, via phone or mailed back the paper form.

The census does not ask if someone is a citizen. The census asks for your name, address, age, sex, marital status, home owner or renter, telephone number, ethnic/racial background and the number of individuals in the household. You are then asked for similar information about each individual of the household.

The information shared with the Census Bureau is consolidated and individual data is not available. The Census Bureau is prohibited by law to share individual data. All responses are confidential.

Visit the website: www.2020census.gov

Cheryl cumings is the Founder and Executive director of Our Space Our Place, Inc. Our Space Our Place, Inc. received a grant from the Massachusetts Census equity Fund to increase awareness of the Census among people who are blind.
Our Space Our Place, Inc. is a nonprofit founded by a woman who is blind that provides an after school and career exploration program for middle and high school students who are blind or low vision.

Odds & Ends


Here are a couple things from reader Sharon:

As a new Alexa user, I am thrilled that I can ask her to play radio stations all over the country. This is good for me, as I have poor radio reception in my apartment building.

As for the iPhone, once you have upgraded to IOS 13.3, you can access radio stations using Siri. You need to have the free music app on your phone (it should already be there) and then you can say play WBZ, for instance. This is really useful if you’re away from home and need to hear what’s happening in good old Massachusetts.

And Christopher wanted to share how to create a New Email Signature in Outlook:
Type your signature text in Word. Be sure to edit, spell check, and format your signature in Word.
Then press Control + A to select all text. Press Control + C to copy the selection to the clipboard.
Then open Outlook.
Press Alt + F to go to the file tab of the ribbon.
Then press the letter T to bring up the Options dialog.
Down arrow to 'Mail' in the category list box.
Then tab to the 'Signatures' button and press the spacebar. This brings up the Signatures dialog.
Tab to the 'New' button and press the spacebar. The New signature dialog box will come up and focus will be in the name edit field.
Type in a name for your signature and press enter.
Then tab to the “new” messages' combobox. Down arrow to the name of your new signature.
Then tab to the 'replies and forwards' combobox. Down arrow to the name of your new signature.
Then tab multiple times until you get to the OK button but do not activate it. From here, press shift + tab once. JAWS may only say "type in text" and probably not much more than that. This is the field in which you would ordinarily type your signature, but you are going to paste instead.
Press Control + V to paste your signature.
Then tab to the OK button and press the spacebar.
Focus will be back in the Options dialog box. Tab to the OK button and press spacebar.
Then test your new signature by creating a new email message. When in the body of the email message, down arrow to read your signature.

Thanks Sharon and Christopher for sharing!

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely

Welcome back to Exercise Does A Body Good.
I hope you enjoyed the Sun Salutation A. This monthI am going to describe how to perform the Sun Salutation B.
There are many variations of Sun Salutations, including Series A, B, and C. The sequence presented below is often referred to as Sun Salutation B ), which is usually practiced after several rounds of Sun Salutation A ). Sun Salutation B includes many of the same components of Sun Salutations in most styles of yoga, with the inclusion of Warrior I pose. Remember to breathe through your nose as you practice; it will help to warm your body and bring a meditative state to your mind. If you’re having trouble breathing smoothly, relax your practice a bit. Make sure not to force yourself and always work within your own range of limits and abilities.

1. Standing Mountain Pose
Stand with your feet together. Press your palms together in prayer position. Rest your thumbs on your sternum and take several breaths.

2. Chair Pose
Inhale as you bend your knees and lower your hips, as if you’re sitting back in a chair. At the same time, extend your arms straight overhead and reach through your fingertips.

3. Standing Forward Fold
Exhale as you fold forward from the hips. Keep your knees bent if your hamstrings are tight. Otherwise, slowly straighten your legs. Rest your hands beside your feet and bring your nose to your knees.

4. Half Standing Forward Fold
Inhale as you lift your torso halfway, lengthening your spine forward so your back is flat. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Keep your fingertips on the floor, or bring them to your shins.

5. Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Exhale as you step or jump back into Plank Pose (High Push-Up Pose), with your hands under your shoulders and feet hip-distance apart. Continue exhaling as you lower your body toward the floor. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your sides. If needed, come to your knees for Half Chaturanga. Otherwise, keep your legs straight and reach back through your heels.

6. Upward-Facing Dog Pose
Inhale as you draw your chest forward and straighten your arms. Draw your shoulders back and lift your heart to the sky. Press through the tops of your feet, lifting your thighs off the floor and fully engaging your leg muscles. Keep your elbows tucked in to your sides.

7. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Exhale as you lift your hips and roll over your toes, placing the soles of your feet on the floor. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. Ground down through your hands and the soles of your feet as you lengthen your spine. Lift your belly and sit bones to the sky.

8. Warrior 1, Right Foot
Inhale as you step your right foot between your hands and bring your left heel to the ground. Bend your front knee while keeping your back leg straight. Raise your arms straight overhead and gaze to the sky.

9. Four-Limbed Staff Pose — Chaturanga
Exhale as you bring your hands to the mat and step your right foot back into Plank Pose. Continue exhaling as you lower your body into Chaturanga once again. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your sides. If needed, come to your knees for Half Chaturanga. Otherwise, keep your legs straight and reach back through your heels.

10. Upward-Facing Dog Pose
Inhale as you draw your chest forward and straighten your arms. Draw your shoulders back and lift your heart to the sky. Press through the tops of your feet, lifting your thighs off the floor and fully engaging your leg muscles. Keep your elbows tucked in to your sides.

11. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Exhale as you lift your hips and roll over your toes placing the soles of your feet on the floor. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. Ground down through your hands and the soles of your feet as you lengthen your spine. Lift your belly and sit bones to the sky.

12. Warrior 1, Left Foot
Inhale as you step your left foot between your hands and bring your right heel to the ground. Bend your front knee while keeping your back leg straight. Raise your arms straight overhead and gaze to the sky.

13. Four-Limbed Staff Pose
Exhale as you bring your hands to the mat and step your right foot back into Plank Pose. Continue exhaling as you lower your body into Chaturanga once again. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your sides. If needed, come to your knees for Half Chaturanga. Otherwise, keep your legs straight and reach back through your heels.

14. Upward-Facing Dog Pose
Inhale as you draw your chest forward and straighten your arms. Draw your shoulders back and lift your heart to the sky. Press through the tops of your feet, lifting your thighs off the floor and fully engaging your leg muscles. Keep your elbows tucked in toward your sides.

15. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
Exhale as you lift your hips and roll over your toes, placing the soles of your feet on the floor. Your heels do not need to touch the ground. Ground down through your hands and the soles of your feet as you lengthen your spine. Lift your belly and sit bones to the sky. Hold this third Downward-Facing Dog for five breaths. On your last exhalation, bend your knees and gaze between your hands.

16. Half Standing Forward Fold
Inhale as you step or jump forward, landing your feet between your hands. Lift your torso halfway, lengthening your spine forward so your back is flat. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. Keep your fingertips on the floor, or bring them to your shins.

17. Standing Forward Fold
Exhale as you fold your torso over your thighs. Bend your knees if necessary. Rest your hands beside your feet and bring your nose to your knees.

18. Chair Pose
Inhale as you come back into Chair Pose. Step your feet together. Bend your knees and lower your hips, as if you’re sitting back in a chair. At the same time, extend your arms straight overhead and reach through your fingertips.

19. Mountain Pose
Exhale as you come back into Mountain Pose. Stand with your feet together. Bring your hands into prayer position. Rest your thumbs on your sternum. Salute the Sun.

You’ll start to gain strength and flexibility by practicing Sun Salutations, whether you’re using them to warm up before practice or as an energizing break in your day. I recommend that you do 5 Sun Salutation A, and then do 5 Sun Salutation B.

Health tip of the month: Benefits of sleep.
Your heart will be healthier if you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
Sleep may help prevent cancer.
Sleep reduces stress.
Sleep reduces inflammation.
Sleep makes you more alert.
Sleep improves your memory.
Sleep may help you lose weight.
Napping makes you smarter.
Sleep may reduce your risk of depression.

Well that is it for this edition, and get a good night sleep. Remember Exercise Does A Body Good!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton

Ola audio book friends!
Let’s talk about old and new. New to you authors and old favorite ones. I love discovering a new to me author and look forward to one of my favorite authors coming out with a new book. Below are a couple of such books and writers. I even received recommendations about a new to me writer and an old favorite. Read on and let me know if you have any suggestions.

Nino wrote to say; I just finished reading The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin DB89372. I found this book to be wonderful! I can usually guess the ending of a book, but this one really startled me. I loved the descriptions of the surroundings as well as the introspective viewpoint of the main character. In addition, I found the message to be very positive, if a little obsessive.
Thanks Nino, already have it downloaded.

And for an old favorite, Gail writes to say; I like this author, Karen White. She has re-released two novels together. I really enjoyed them and hope you will too: Spinning the Moon by Karen White DB 93586 Includes In the Shadow of the Moon and Whispers of Goodbye.
Gail, I too love Karen White’s books and have read these. Thanks for writing.
Now for my turn at old and new.

The Dutch House
written by Ann Patchett
read by Tom Hanks
reading time: 9 hours and 54 minutes
DB 96739
available on both CELA and RNIB

At the end of the Second World War, Cyril Conroy combines luck and a single canny investment to begin an enormous real estate empire, propelling his family from poverty to enormous wealth. His first order of business is to buy the Dutch House, a lavish estate in the suburbs outside of Philadelphia. Meant as a surprise for his wife, the house sets in motion the undoing of everyone he loves. The story is told by Cyril’s son Danny, as he and his older sister, the brilliantly acerbic and Maeve, are exiled from the house where they grew up by their stepmother. The two wealthy siblings are thrown back into the poverty their parents had escaped from and find that all they have to count on is one another. It is this unshakable bond between them that both saves their lives and thwarts their futures. Set over the course of five decades, The Dutch House is a dark fairy tale about two smart people who cannot overcome their past. Despite every outward sign of success, Danny and Maeve are only truly comfortable when they’re together. Throughout their lives, they return to the well worn story of what they’ve lost with humor and rage. But when at last they’re forced to confront the people who left them behind, the relationship between an indulged brother and his ever protective sister is finally tested.

My comments; I’ve read every single Ann Patchett book, some more than once. This one is not one of my favorites. I did enjoy listening to Tom Hanks narration. This is a dark story and it’s a deep one. I found myself hating some of the people in here and getting down right angry at some others. I think when a writer can evoke strong emotions from a reader, they have achieved something. If you’ve read this one, let me know what you think please.

Now for the new to me writer;
Love, Nina A Nanny writes home
written and read by Nina Stibbe
reading time: 8 hours and 3 minutes
not on CELA
available on RNIB

In the 1980s, Nina Stibbe wrote letters home to her sister in Leicester describing her trials and triumphs as a nanny to a London family. There’s a cat nobody likes, a visiting dog called Ted Hughes, Ted for short, and suppertime visits from a local playwright. Not to mention the two boys, their favorite football teams, and rude words, a very broad minded mother and assorted nice chairs. From the mystery of the unpaid milk bill and the avoidance of nuclear war to mealtime discussions on pie filler, the greats of English literature, swearing in German and sexually transmitted diseases, Love, Nina is a wonderful celebration of bad food, good company and the relative merits of Thomas Hardy and Enid Blyton. Nina was nanny for London Review of Books editor Mary Kay Wilmers and her ex husband, film director Stephen Frears. She wrote this book with their permission.

At the age of 20, Nina Stibbe moved from Leicestershire to London to become a nanny. Later she studied at Thames Polytechnic and worked in publishing.

My comments; I loved this one. Laugh out loud funny. I’ve since gone and found more of her books and they are just as delightful.
So, until next time book friends,
Happy reading,
Carla jo!

The Braille Highway

By Nat Armeni

Happy March to all.
This month I am pleased to tell you about Rabbi Lenny Sarko’s amazing creation. Read on to learn and be just as amazed as I was.

Rabbi Lenny Sarko began his working life career as an Environmental Scientist. He became a Rabbi 15 years ago. It was five years ago when he lost his sight due to complications brought on from type 2 diabetes. He is able to see only large things out of his right eye, and he lost 10 percent vision in his left eye. Mr. Sarko learned braille through the Hadley School, and then learned Hebrew braille from a couple of other places.

Now I would like to share with you the big undertaking that Rabbi Lenny Sarko has taken on. First let me say that prior to my conversation with Mr. Sarko, I knew very little about the Jewish religion. As I understand it there is Sefer Torah Scroll which is used for a public reading. This particular reading cannot be memorized, instead it must be read from the scroll.

It must be made from 100 percent organic materials, be kosher, and no steel can be used to make the letters. The Scroll needs to be handwritten. If the composer makes a mistake then that page is thrown away and needs to be redone. It is written on 100 percent Kosher parchment Calf Skin paper, and the ink is made from Gall Nuts. It takes 245 columns and each column, one piece of parchment, is 3 columns. Then the columns are sewn together. Once it is completed, it is rolled up and stored. A segment of the Torah is read every week from this scroll. Until the date comes up again for that reading, the scroll is then stored away again. It is an annual cycle, starting and ending at the Hebrew New Year’s Eve.

Now Rabbi Lenny wants the blind and visually impaired Jews to be able to participate in the public reading. He has embarked on a project to make a braille sefer Torah. There were many issues regarding how to make such a scroll. To manually produce it, he decided to use a slate and stylus. Ones currently on the market would be useless for this purpose, as the slate and stylus are usually steel and mistakes are easily made. Since no steel can be used to produce the scrolls, the slate and stylus as we know it, is not an option.

Rabbi Lenny, after spending a year thinking and trying many different options, decided upon a plastic slate top and bottom. Since it is easy to make mistakes with the slate and stylus, Rabbi Lenny ingeniously created a slate with only the holes that are needed to be brailled. Therefore, a different slate is made for each column of the Torah. Each plastic slate is 40 characters wide and 42 lines long.

Rabbi Lenny takes the written word and inputs it into Duxbury. By the way, that was my topic for my January article. He uses the Hebrew braille translation and then uses the simulated print braille to print it off on an ink printer. Next, he gives the printed sheets to a company that has a cnc machine shop. Here, they use a computer program to drill the holes on the plastic in order for someone to use a stylus to create the braille words. Rabbi Lenny had to get creative to think of stylus alternatives such as hard plastic and gold tip.

The Rabbi estimates that the first braille Scroll will be produced in June of this year. This is such exciting news for Jewish braille readers. As I understand it, anyone around the world can participate. Instead of having to purchase a whole scroll, which is expensive, a person can contact Rabbi Lenny and arrange to borrow a scroll for a particular weekend. Then the scroll would be mailed to the person’s synagogue.

Currently Rabbi Lenny makes his home in Greensburg Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. His congregation is called Congregation Emanu-El Israel. The Rabbi’s efforts have been self-funded with some outside grants, which means he has absorbed some significant costs for this endeavor of love and passion.

If you would like to get in touch with Rabbi Sarko, you can reach him at his email: Rabbi@RabbiSarko.org

Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to chat with me Rabbi Lenny!

Braille user’s do it with feeling. Why complicate life with gadgets when you can complement it with braille. Remember to stay on the dotted line of life. Keep safe and speak with you again in April!

The Guide Dog Journey

By Tammy Lynn
Tammy Lynn@TheBlindPerspective.com

The Proper Care and Feeding Of Our Faithful Partners, Part 2

Welcome back to another installment of the Guide Dog Journey. I hope you and your dogs are doing well and that you're looking forward to the upcoming change of seasons. As we look forward to spring, I'm personally considering a raincoat for my guide. I plan to order from a website called www.ruffwear.com
This website has several high-quality dog products and they do offer a service dog discount.

This month I will continue my discussion of caring for our trusted canine partners.
One very common problem with floppy-eared dogs is ear infection. To reduce the frequency of infection or to prevent the problem altogether, ear cleaning is essential. There are several different methods for cleaning your dog's ears. Some people use special ear wipes to just gently wipe out the dog's ear at least a few times per week. I personally use an ear cleaning solution that I obtained from my veterinarian. I gently squeeze plenty of the solution in to my dog's ears then carefully massage the ear to get the solution all around and well within the ear canal for cleaning. Dogs generally do not care much for having their ears cleaned, but with time, encouragement and repetition, they get used to it. It is certainly much more comfortable than ear infections.

Many people do not think much about the care of their guide's eyes. In thinking about this, it is easy to understand how important this is since these animals are our eyes. There is not a whole lot of detailed care necessary but I do have a couple of suggestions. First, each morning it may be good to take a clean damp cloth and wipe the sleepy crumbs from the corners of your dogs eyes. I remember a trainer suggesting this when I got my first dog. I'm sure, just like us, they feel better to get that crusty stuff out of there eyes and of course, they love the attention.
Another aspect of eye care is regular eye exams from the veterinarian. Just like us humans, dogs can develop eye problems, especially cataracts as they age. This can obviously affect their work and should be addressed early. Some dogs do develop a film on their eyes as they age that is not a cataract and does not affect their vision, it is just a sign of aging; so it is important to have a vet examine the eyes to know for sure whether a dog has a cataract or just simply is showing signs of growing older.

Both humans and dogs alike, need vaccinations against potentially life-threatening illnesses. These needed vaccinations vary from region to region, so it is best to discuss with your veterinarian as to what shots your dog needs and when. There will be some that are required and some that are optional, so it is best to research and talk with your training school and your vet about what is best for your particular dog. Keeping up on these vaccinations is very important and will go a long way toward your dog living a long and happy life.

I wish you and your dogs a very happy spring to come and hope you have enjoyed this article. AS always, please write to me with your feedback and suggestions for future articles.
Until next time, stay safe and healthy and remember to enjoy the journey!

Spencer's Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer

In the spirit of spring cleaning, this month’s spotlight will focus on getting your stove spruced up and make future cleaning a breeze. This hits very close to home as I am hosting a gathering at my house and there will be two cooks showcasing their culinary expertise.

I wanted to make sure they had a clean “palate” in which to create their masterpieces. So, my stove, well, because I live alone, my stove can get rather lonely from lack of use. I use it to boil pasta and occasionally, I will make a grill cheese sandwich.

I do not have a flat top surface; I still have a stove that has the burners on top with the heating elements that have to be plugged in. The plus side of this is that each burner has a dedicated knob. I realize that when this stove quits working, the chance of getting a similar model is remote. Anyway, I digress, let's move on to the keeping it clean part.

Beginning with the top, all the drip trays from underneath each burner are removed and scrubbed clean, well, as clean as possible. Then the top is raised and the surface below the cooktop is cleaned as well. Using your favorite cleaner, an all-purpose cleaner is acceptable. My first tip is to put tin foil below the section where the drip trays are located. This way, the next time you clean all you have to do is remove the foil and replace. This save loads of time as well.

Next, the oven part, well most people have ovens that are self-cleaning, but, not me. So, what I did when I first got this stove was to purchase an Oven Guard. Ah huh, you didn't think I would ever get to the spotlight part, yes, folks, an Oven Guard will save you so much time and aggravation when trying to get the gunk and grime off the bottom of your oven.

I put one on the bottom of my oven before I ever started using it. Sometime had passed and I had forgotten I had even put it there until I opened the oven and felt it on the bottom. I let out a big sigh of relief as I pulled it out and put it in the sink. It worked as promised. It protected the entire bottom of my oven, keeping all the debris contained. All I had to do was clean the oven guard. Since it is made of a nonstick material, it was a breeze to clean!

I found this little gem from the Harriet Carter catalog; they also have an on line store. Now, here's how you can get one, and, I am sure you can probably find this item in other places as well. However, I find that Harriet Carter's prices are quite reasonable.

Item#: 027386
Oven Guard Was: 12 dollars and 99 cents, now 9 dollars and 99 cents

Below is a blurb about this item from their website, www.HarrietCarter.com

Non-Stick Oven Liners Keep Your Oven Cleaner Longer!
Burned-on spills and splatters will be a thing of the past when you place this reusable, specially coated fiberglass mat in your gas or electric oven. It catches messy drips and easily wipes clean without chemicals or endless scrubbing!

How It Works:
These oven liners are designed to keep your oven clean using a non-stick fiberglass coating. This way, you can place your oven liner underneath anything you may be cooking to reduce mess and allow for simple clean-up. From pizza to baked goods, you’ll never have to worry about food overflow again! Since this product is specially crafted with a non-stick coating, you will be able to catch every drop of food and wipe it away without a need for cleaning chemicals or heavy scrubbing.

Whether you're buying 10 of them as gifts for your family or just one for your personal use, one thing is for sure, any oven with a liner from Harriet Carter will stay spotless!
You can rest assured that this product will stand the test of time and keep your oven clean as a whistle for years to come! Thankfully, with this non-stick oven liner from Harriet Carter, burned-on spills and splatters can be a thing of the past!

So, here's to less time cleaning and more time enjoying the fresh spring air!

App Petizers: Byte Size Tidbits to Help Master Your iDevice

By Darrin cheney

Bridging the Digital Divide!
I went shopping with my wife to buy a wedding gift. At checkout, she opened her email on her smart phone and accessed an attached coupon with a QR (Quick Response) code. The clerk scanned the QR code on her phone and applied it to her purchase. Then, the clerk sent a sales receipt to my wife’s email address. Pretty cool!

We use technology to make our daily tasks so much easier. My son uses WalMart.com to order groceries and other household items and have them delivered to his apartment. We order items and products from Amazon.com and have them delivered to our home. This is especially helpful for big items like pet food, laundry soap, etc. We can also do our banking online, pay bills, and manage our health care. This online world may overwhelm many of you, but with some guidance you can jump into the technology pool, or start small and dip your toes in to test the water.

An iPhone or iPad can be a very useful tool. I use my iPhone to create notes and reminders; save recipes and instructions; take photos of pantry items; document appliance serial and model numbers; hang pictures or shelves; and connect with family and friends. I use FaceTime or Messenger to have someone identify or read me something.

Learning a Technology Skill:
Learning a new skill can be a breeze if you follow a simple recipe. Choose one meaningful task you want to learn, like making or receiving a phone call. Determine what you know and don’t know. Then, find resources that will teach you how to make that call. There are several print and e-books, training courses, YouTube videos, and podcasts that will help you learn new skills.

Teaching a Technology Skill:
When you are teaching someone a technology skill, decide if it’s a one-time event or one you will teach several times. If it’s the latter, consider investing some time into the process. You could share your resources with others making their learning a bit easier.

Create a curriculum that includes lessons, activities, and assignments. Lessons should be 10-12 minutes and include instruction, step-by-step procedures, practice activities, and feedback. Instruction may involve reading a chapter or watching a video and then completing an activity. Take the time to show how to do a task, provide guided practice and feedback. Create an assignment to be completed before the next lesson. Build on each lesson and create fun ways to use these skills.

Explore new technology by playing games. Blindfold Games has created several fun, audio-only games that will help you learn your iDevice. You can download Blindfold Games from the Apple App Store. Choose from Blindfold Racer, Dominos, Sudoku, Word search, Slots, and many more.

Learn together! It’s always more fun to learn with friends so create a fellowship group, senior group, or club. Create a social environment where everyone can learn, share, make mistakes, and laugh together. Encourage advanced learners to teach others.

Dealing with Vision Loss:
Vision loss has its own challenges. Apple has a built-in screen reader called VoiceOver (VO) for iOS and iPad OS. You can use VO to navigate, read content, and perform tasks. You can create custom SIRI shortcuts to automate tasks, find information on your device or the Internet. I use VO Gestures to navigate my iPhone or iPad. I can use a variety of swipes and taps to interact with screen elements. Plus, I can have VO or SIRI read a web page, a book, or a newspaper article. I can create a shortcut to send a text to my wife, call my sister, or even join a weekly phone conference. Hadley.edu has seminars and videos that deal with vision loss and using technology.

Looking for Other Technology Solutions:
For many “late Adopters,” technology can be overwhelming and frustrating to learn, use, and master. To help bridge the digital divide, several companies have developed a “single-use device” to perform a simple function. The FaceBook Portal at Portal Facebook
allows you to video conference with your friends and family.
The Amazon Echo Dot at Amazon Echo Dot
is a smart speaker that you can use to ask Alexa questions, learn the weather forecast, turn on the lights and perform other tasks. Google also has a hub that will control your home automation. You can do all of this with your iPhone or iPad.

My mother-in-law wants to make and receive telephone calls from her daughter and church friends. She is comfortable using a land-line telephone, but she has never used a touch screen and is afraid of breaking it. Plus, she can’t see the screen very well. In this case, a Consumer Cellular flip phone or a Jitterbug phone may be a better solution to help her start using technology.

Final Thoughts:
Technology will continue to evolve and to amaze us. At some point you just need to jump into the technology pool. Many of us only use a fraction of what technology can do. So, start with one “byte” at a time and adopt an iPhone, iPad, or other device to help perform a task. Other technology tools will become useful with further understanding and guided practice. Finally, share what you learn and help your friends and family bridge the Digital Divide. Good luck!

A Time to Plant

By Sue Brazel

Transplanting happens when a plant is moved from one location to another. Seedlings can be moved to a permanent location for a season, other plants can be replanted in different sized containers.

First: know where you want to move a plant. Select the location based on sun/shade requirements. Consider whether watering needs will be a factor. If relocating a plant to a different sized container, figure out the traffic flow around the plant.

To know when to transplant outside, check the last frost date/early frost date for your area. If you put plants in the ground too early in the spring for your area, they may die when an unexpected cold snap hits.

When you get ready to plant seedlings outside, set them outdoors for several hours per day. Increase their exposure to the outside environment in an attempt to harden them; this helps prevent transplant shock when placed in a permanent location.

Ideally, plants should be well watered the day before transplanting. This ensures that the whole plant is hydrated, including the root system.

Dig a hole a little larger than the size of the root system. Grasp the stem between two fingers at the soil base, splaying your hand over the soil. Gently tamp the sides of the container holding the plant. When the plant is released, keep roots to a minimum exposure of air. If there are roots, but not an abundance of them, place the plant in the hole. If the roots were compacted against where the container had been, gently loosen some of them, then stick the plant in the soil. Try to repot with soil from the original container adhering to the root clump. Fill soil/potting mix around the new plant, gently tamp into place. Roots do best in aerated soil, so don’t pack the soil around your new transplant.

Seedlings started in a newspaper cup can be placed, cup and all into the ground. Seedlings started in a citrus rind or peat pot should have the rind or pot cut in several places, and flared slightly so that roots can grow around those materials which will biodegrade after a considerable amount of time. In the meantime, your plant roots can reach into the soil and give your plant a good chance of growing strong and healthy.

Fertilization depends on the condition of your soil and the type of plant. Healthy soil amended with nutrients geared for the plant does not need extra fertilizer. If you choose to fertilize, measure with the specified amounts on the packaging. Over fertilization could harm or kill your plants.

With outside plants, water daily for the first few days to help plants adjust to their new environment. Inside transplants, if watered at the time of transplanting, might not need to be watered for a week.
Different plants need different amounts of water and sun to thrive.

A recently learned tip: if you want to keep squirrels away from plants, sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes (the kind that people sprinkle on pizza) on the ground under where the roots will grow, then put the transplant in place. Sprinkle red pepper flakes around the plant as well. Apparently, squirrels aren’t fond of hot peppers!

Now, it is “thyme” for me to divide my peace lily plant. The babies need to be placed in their own containers.

Dirty Work

By Manny Morales

Hello readers,
I hope you all slept well after reading last month’s article. Like I said, I am continuing with mattress care again this month.

Dealing with stains:
There are different types of things that can get on your mattress, such as blood, urine, and the llike. If you are not able to clean up right away, then they can cause discoloration on your mattress.

To clean mattress stains, you can use an enzyme cleaner or enzyme-based pet-smell remover on the stain. You can find these products in your local grocery/ drug store. These products are usually enough to remove the stains on mattresses. You can also make your own cleaning solution by mixing a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of mild dish detergent.

How to Help Remove Stains on Mattresses:
Stains on mattresses can be stubborn at times, but this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to remove even the worst dry ones. Fortunately, there are a few solutions that you can take advantage of, ones that will help get rid of the stains on your bed. Here are a few steps that you should try out:
Distilled white vinegar: Follow the vinegar soak with sprinkles of baking soda. As was mentioned in previous articles, baking soda is a neutralizing agent, which means that, aside from removing the smell from your mattress, it can also react to the vinegar, thus causing the two to cake on the surface of your bed. Vacuum off the excess baking soda from your bed. Allow the remaining baking soda to sit on the mattress for several hours before you vacuum. Not only will this give the baking soda time to do its trick, but it can also make it easier for you to clean mattress stains.

Hydrogen peroxide:
Another way to help remove stains on mattresses is hydrogen peroxide, which has bleaching properties that can reduce the appearance of stains on your bed. Before you use this product, mix it with water, then test it on just a small patch of your mattress. This way, you’ll be able to see its effects on your mattress before you apply it to the entire surface and risk ruining it. If it looks better, spray some on the affected area and allow to soak for a few minutes before blotting the excess. This is an effective way to clean mattress stains that are stubborn.

How to Deep Clean Your Mattress:
Deep mattress cleaning needs to be done every few months to remove all the accumulated dust, dirt, sweat, blood, and urine your mattress has been gathering. Fortunately, this isn’t that hard to do because you only need two ingredients to do it, baking soda and essential oil.
Steps to follow:
Grab a box of baking soda and add 10 to 20 drops of your choice of essential oil.
Shake the box to distribute the oil and scent. You may want to use a fork to break up any clumps.
I recommend to use lavender oil as it has antibacterial properties and has spa like relaxing aroma therapeutic effect which can help you sleep better.
Sprinkle the baking soda mixture on the entire surface of the mattress.
Gently rub in the baking soda, as this will allow it to penetrate the inside of the mattress allowing for a deep clean. Let set for an hour.
While waiting, clean the box spring (if you have one), and the bed frame to prevent bedbugs.
Once the hour is up, vacuum your mattress thoroughly to remove all the baking soda. What’s great about using the baking soda and essential oil mixture is that it helps to remove stains while neutralizing any odors. Your mattress can even look cleaner too!

Make sure that you schedule regular deep cleaning for your mattress if you want to help preserve its condition. Keep in mind that there are several types of mattresses being sold, so you need to read up on yours to know its proper upkeep.

Our mattress plays a huge role in our sleep at night, but when it is already soiled, you will need to take steps to help get rid of the stains and smells for better sleep. Don’t wait, your sleep depends on it!

Therefore, it is important to clean your mattresses regularly. Here are some ways you can keep your mattress clean. Using your vacuum is an effective way to extract dust build up. Baking soda is an effective way to clean sweat and urine from the mattress. Moreover, keeping your bedroom clean is an essential aspect of healthy living.

There you have it, just about all you need to know to care and preserve the life of your mattress. If you have any questions, tips, or want to know how to clean something, then shoot me an email at my address above. Remember dirty work is clean fun!

The Beauty Parlor

By Christy Ray

Beware of the hair!

Let’s talk hair!
If you have long hair, short hair, dry, oily, or whatever you are rocking there are ways to keep it looking great.

Things to keep in mind, washing your hair is important, however some hair types do not need to be washed as often. It can, in fact, cause more damage. OH NO!

When we are talking about oily hair, it doesn’t need to be conditioned all the time. But your saying, “I want my hair soft and not tangled.” I hear that. Try these tips:
You can use conditioner on just the ends.
Use a detangler that can make it easier to brush and help it be soft.

Some hair styles need to be brushed every day, where others do not. I know that someone with very curly hair can’t brush their hair, it would turn it into a hairball disaster!

If you want to change things up and change the color of your hair, this can be fun to pick the color and do it yourself, or with a friend. Also, this can be done professionally. Keep in mind the color you choose may not turn out the way you want. You want to make sure you do not color your hair too often, as that can fry your hair and it will literally fall out. I know, I know, that is NOT the look you were going for. If the color, you are looking for doesn’t work out, give it a little time and try it again.

Interested in having straight hair? Good news, you can use a straightener; you can do this yourself or with a friend. It can take a while depending on how much hair you have.

Do you want curly hair? There are many ways to do this, professionally, with a curling iron, or curlers. I think it will depend on if you want to have curly hair for a more permanent hair style, then you would want to go with professional.

This gives you a bit to think about. Stay tuned for more about hair in future months.
If you have any questions, tips to share, or if you have something else you would like me to write about, contact me at my email above.

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine

Here is a yummy, hearty, and filling dish, great for those cold winter days.

Turkey Black Bean Chili
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon oregano
kosher salt & pepper to taste
1 bottle (46 ounce) V8 Juice (for added spice choose spicy hot)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 cup green chilies (canned, undrained)
1 can (16 ounce) black beans
1 can (15 ounce) chopped whole tomatoes, drained

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute 3 minutes.
Add turkey and spices (not the sugar). Cook 6 minutes.
Stir to crumble the meat.
Stir in V8 juice and rest of ingredients (brown sugar, chilies, beans, & tomatoes).
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  
Serve in large bowls, and top with your choice of:
Shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, scallions, chopped cilantro, and crumbled tortilla chips!
If you like it really hot, add a dash or two of red pepper flakes or a shake or two of your favorite hot sauce.
Note: you can use ground beef in place of ground turkey.

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart


What is seen in the middle of March and April that can’t be seen at the beginning or end of either month?

Answer to February's riddle
You measure my life in hours and I serve you by expiring. I’m quick when I’m thin and slow when I’m fat. The wind is my enemy. What am I?
A candle

Brain Buster

What common English verb becomes its own past tense by rearranging its letters? Hint: The word is three letters long.

Answers to February's Brain Buster Sound of trumpets, fanfare. Give up, as in rights, forfeit. Relating to McDonalds or BurgerKing, fast food or french fries. Carry out as an obligation, fulfill. Bare knuckle boxing match, fist fight. Sudden reversal of policy, flip flop. Parachuter’s descent, freefall. Web browser, firefox. Four times as many, fourfold. Hard to believe, far fetch.

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