The Blind Perspective

The Blind Perspective

Hi! Everyone! If you take the time to read this magazine, you will learn many things, you will be exposed to many wonderful ideas, and you will grow in ways like never before. As always, thank you for reading.

Welcome to The Blind Perspective

Logo Description: A view from a window with lavender curtains drawn back viewing the snowy peaks of a mountain range. The words “The Blind Perspective” hover above in the sky.
November 2016
Volume 2, Issue 11

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Sponsor of the Month
Movers & Shakers
Holiday Gifts
Feel, Look, and be Better
Have I Got A Story For You
The Braille Highway
Make Your Money Work
Kaleidoscope of Krafts
Spencer’s Spotlight
APPetizers: Byte size tidbits to help master your iDevice
the Rotating Trio: Potpourri
Cooking Concoctions
Riddle
Brain Buster

Navigation

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Greetings from the Editor

By Karen Santiago
Happy November to All:
I just want to give a shout out to the ideas presented by Janaleen, Chris, & Shirley for my trick or treat dilemma. Suggestions included putting candy in a baggie and either putting in their goody container, or have them pick one themselves. Thanks!There is no International Perspective interview this month. If you, or you know someone from a country we have not covered, I would love to hear from you, or them. It takes just about an hour of me asking you questions, and I will write up the article for you! However, if you would like to write up your own International Perspective article, that would be great as well. If you are interested or have any questions, you can send an email to: karen@theblindperspectiveIn place of the International Perspective, our very own writer, Darrin came up with a great idea, and it involves you, our readers! So read on to the Holiday Gifts heading to learn more.At A Glance:
Sponsor of the Month, Guide Dog Users Inc., Holiday Gifts, FITT, West Coast, Brailleiant, Budget, Bunnies & Jars, Braille Coach, Bluetooth Keyboard, Spots & Cleaning, Diabetic Recipe, Riddle & Brain Buster!

Sponsor of the Month

Our sponsor this month is LoganTech, a company founded by parents of a child with disabilities and dedicated to supporting others through intelligently designed assistive technology products. LoganTech is the maker of the 6dot Braille Learning and Labelling Devices, ProxTalker Augmentative Communication Devices, and Beyond Adaptive Mounting Systems and iPad Keyguards. In honor of this month’s sponsorship, LoganTech is offering our readers 10% off their choice of 6dot Braille Products through December 31, 2016. Choose from the 6dot Braille Label Maker or the 6dot BrailleCoach Learning System which includes the Label Maker along with the BrailleCoach. Use promo code BP-10 to take advantage of these savings on their website at: www.LoganTech.com

Movers & Shakers

by Karen Santiago
karen@theblindperspective

For this month’s article I had a Q&A session with the president of Guide Dog Users Inc., Penny Reeder Read on to learn more about Penny and GDUI.Q: Tell me a bit about yourself?
A: I am blind and currently working with my third guide dog, Willow. She is from The Seeing Eye and we have been together for five years. My first two dogs came from the Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation. Their names were Glory and Tess. All of my dogs have been female German Shepards. They all have been wonderful, and each, I’m sure, has saved my life several times over.
I joined Guide Dog Users Inc. in 2000, around the time I applied for my first guide dog. I ran for a position on GDUI’s board shortly after I became a member. I had gotten quite involved in an issue GDUI was grappling with at the time. A person who was unable to attend computer classes at a vocational rehabilitation training facility in Iowa, with her guide dog, was suing them. Guide Dog Users Inc. supported her in her lawsuit. So, I ran for the board and was elected.
After serving for several years, GDUI needed a new editor for our quarterly magazine, PawTracks, and I applied for and got the job. The PawTracks editor cannot serve as a board member, and so I had to resign from the board. In 2012, there had developed a vacuum of leadership inside the organization. I decided to run for the job of president, and so that’s how I became GDUI’s president.
I ran as a member of an ad hoc slate of sorts. All of us won election, and we spent our first term rewriting GDUI’s bylaws, growing our membership once again, and strengthening our member-driven democratic government. Many of us ran for office again last May, and we were re-elected.Q: What is Guide dog users.inc?
A: Guide Dog Users, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization, whose members are primarily guide dog users themselves. GDUI is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. It first became an active organization in the early 1970s. Its members came together to advocate for better civil rights protections in local, state and national laws, to support one another, and to educate the general public about the role that guide dogs play in the lives of their blind and visually impaired owners. Those original goals continue to be the motivation and the mission of GDUI.
GDUI’s members advocated very hard, and quite effectively, for the civil rights protections afforded to guide dog users under the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was passed in 1990. Twenty six years have come and gone, and the ADA has made a positive difference in all of our lives. Yet, we still find ourselves being discriminated against in all kinds of settings – having to explain and advocate for our rights at restaurant doors, at movie theaters, sometimes even on college campuses and in public schools. Taxicab refusals are a problem many of our members contend with on a daily basis. Of course, we are working to strengthen the laws and the regulations, to educate the public, and to support one another.Q: Where does your funding come from?
A: Our funding comes from our members, from grants, from sponsors who assist with the expenses associated with our members, and from donations from the general public who appreciate guide dogs and want to help.Q: Tell me about your membership?
A: We have affiliates in several states, and we also have at-large members. Membership dues are $15 per year. Members are provided with such benefits as:
•A subscription to our award-winning quarterly newsletter, Paw Tracks
• Access to assistance from the GDUI Disaster & Preparedness Program
• Training relating to self-advocacy on guide dog handler issues
• Email chat list
International Members:
We have international members from such countries as Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, and others. Often these international members are U. S. citizens who are living abroad. When possible, of course, we can rely on them for information and advice. However, when our members ask us for advice about traveling with their dogs to other countries, we first suggest that they contact their own guide dog training programs for advice, and in addition, the ambassadors of the countries they plan to visit.Q: What are some of GDUI accomplishments/ successes?
A: One of GDUI’s major accomplishments was suing the State of Hawaii to force them to eliminate a quarantine requirement for guide dogs visiting the island. The effort was long-lasting and expensive, and ultimately successful!Q: What are you currently working on?
A: Currently, GDUI is participating in a “RegNeg” process with other organizations who advocate for the rights of people with disabilities, the airline industry, and the Department of Transportation in an effort to negotiate the development of new regulations concerning the rights of people to fly with their service animals and with emotional support animals as well. The process has been long and drawn out, sometimes frustrating, sometimes hopeful. It is hoped that new regulations for the Air Carrier Access Act will be developed by the end of October. I cannot, at this time, predict the outcome of these negotiations. But, it has been an interesting, and hopefully ultimately worthwhile process.
*Today, an issue that we hear about with increasing frequency has to do with people who attempt to pass their pets off as service dogs. There are currently laws and bills in several states, and legislatures that attempt to curb this activity. GDUI advises legislators and business owners on our civil rights and on the dangers that untrained, misbehaving “fake service animals” can pose for us.
*The increasing frequency of dog attacks, from uncontrolled or unleashed family pets is another issue that causes us much anxiety, sometimes leading to injury, early retirement, and even the deaths of legitimate guide dogs who have been attacked.Q: Can you tell me about some of your ongoing works/projects?
A: We work with the guide dog schools, helping them to educate our members and members of the general public. Our web site includes a survey which allows members to compare the various guide dog training programs one with another.
*We hold an annual convention, in conjunction with the ACB National Conference and Convention. Guide Dog School personnel visit our convention, participate in programming, and interact with graduates and potential students in a positive, friendly and supportive atmosphere. Our convention provides a way for our members – who are from all over the USA – to meet, interact, and get to know one another, and participate in fun and educational activities. Conference recordings from our GDUI Convention, held last summer in Minneapolis, are available on our web site.
*We publish a professionally edited quarterly magazine called PawTracks, which serves as a venue to provide information about GDUI and about guide dogs and guide dog users. The magazine is a benefit of GDUI membership.
*We also host an Announce List to apprise members of relevant updates concerning GDUI activities and goals, as well as a chat e-mail discussion list, where members can discuss all things guide dog related.Social Links:
Visit us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/gduinc
Follow us on Twitter: @GDUINC
Visit our web site: www.guidedogusersinc.org 
Call our toll-free (in the USA) number: 866.799.8436
Penny concluded with, “Thank you for your interest in GDUI. Please don’t hesitate to ask any further questions, and please get involved – we welcome your membership!”

Holiday Giftts

By Darrin Cheney
holidaygifts@theblindperspective

Holiday Gifts Exchange Challenge 2016:
Any ideas for a good Holiday Present? About this time every year, we think about our friends and family and ponder what simple and/or amazing “thing” we can give them for the Holidays. This “thing” could be small or large, electronic or tactile, homemade or not, an app or file, etc.
It has to be simple and useful and easy to purchase. Our challenge is to know where to find these amazing gifts and decide what to buy. This is where you come in. We want you, as a Blind Perspective reader, to share an amazing gift for someone to buy for a blind person. Please include an item description, cost, where to purchase the item, and a brief reason why you recommend the item. Together, we can all benefit from all of these recommendations and hopefully, brighten someone’s Holiday!Example:
Category: Kitchen
Cost: $5 – $10
Item: Lid and Spoon Rest, $7.99, Amazon.com at: www.amazon.com/spoon and lid restDescription: You never have to lay a hot lid or messy spatula on the counter again while cooking. This stainless steel unit includes a base with a spoon or spatula rest and a well with an 8 inch vertical wire bale to support a lid. It’s perfect for your blind cook.
So send your suggestions to the email address above by November 26. We will post your ideas in the December Newsletter, as well as on our website.

Feel, Look, and be Better

By Ken Roche RMT
kenrochermt@theblindperspective

“FITT” for life!
A subscriber writes “instead of talking about all the theory of exercise simple routines and how to change them and make them tougher would be way better”I agree with just one philosophical modification. We should first make simple routines, then continuously make them better, progressively make them tougher. Then start again with a different simple routine addressing another body structure or system goal. If you decide to initiate new movements or activities, you will ideally pick those you believe best suit your physical goals and interests. As an e-magazine writer for hundreds to thousands, I can reasonably assume there are people at every level on the fitness spectrum, from injured, sedentary, working folk and those only interested in pain free living to those just starting activity, those who regularly work out and possibly a few more athletically inclined. The possibilities of interest and goals is infinite, so I picked active range of motion because, like you it fits my goals and interest.Until a variety of range of motion activities against some kind of challenge is developed generally throughout the body, starting any new activity or raising the level of difficulty, and especially shock resistance for the activities you already do increases risk of injury. “It is not any specific exercise or routine that improves the body it is the consistent application of stimulating and guiding influences over time that improves physical health and performance.” Weather we are talking about healing a broken wrist, a generalized exercise program or even sport specific training, in my opinion, the principals contained in the ABC’s (Applied Biomechanical Concepts) for Self-Care and Repair are not just “theory”; they are accepted concepts regarding how the body changes in reaction to various challenges.In addition to the reader’s comment above, I have also received emails describing people who experience issues with tendonitis, advanced arthritis, vertebral disc problems, nerve compression, and balance causing significant pain, physical dysfunction, limitations, and even falling. These issues can complicate the improvement process and may even lead to negative progression if not handled appropriately. By exploring physical principals of growth and healing we can safely address all possible binaries in a large group discussion with the intention of giving everyone the opportunity to feel, look and be better regardless of individual age, condition and goals.Previous articles have addressed strategies for injury rehabilitation, maintaining tissue health and improving physical performance within each topic of range of motion, flexibility and strengthening. You may consider copying these articles into your own evolving comprehensive manual for self-care and repair to reference at your convenience as we continue learning about the actions and reactions between you and your body.Future articles will discuss ideas designed to: improve posture, respectful movements of the feet, knees, hips, spine, shoulders, and neck. You will learn ways to effectively self-assess and treat soft tissue injuries as they occur and better manage long term pain/dysfunction.At this point, we have already covered most of the primary philosophies for the ABC’s (applied biomechanical concepts) for self-care and repair. Now they just need to be consistently applied to every working joint in the body. We should constantly strive towards increasing active full range of motion in every way: up, down, side to side, and around in every direction possible. This should be done every day and whenever possible, starting slowly and progressing with resistance, speed and shock.Here’s a few examples: If you can’t or don’t reach up often, start simply reaching up and holding it longer and longer. If reaching up is already part of your lifestyle, start doing it better by insuring that your shoulder blades and collar bone also go up as you gently push your chin back and follow your rising hands with your head and eyes, while filling your expanding lungs (inhale through your nose) to get mid and upper back extension. If you have your palms facing each other and elbows in line with each hand and shoulder (external rotation) you can further reduce risk for potential or existing impingement of the shoulder stabilisers (rotator cuff, specifically supraspinatus). If you already do something similar, review your action considering the above mechanical information then make it more difficult by using some type of progressive weight resistance (light to heavier dumb bells or bigger bags of potatoes over time). Once you get good at this range, instead of bringing up in front of the body (flexion) start going up the sides with the same mechanical considerations (abduction). Next, find something else you don’t do or don’t do much, like moving your leg out to the side (hip abduction) and systematically start slowly doing more range more often, work towards better movements then controlled resisted actions. Hot doggers like from the first comment can stand on one foot with an ankle weight on the rising leg; the rest of us can just start against gravity then introduce an appropriate level of exercise bands/tubing while holding a stabilised object like a counter top, wall or stair rail, etc. Alternatively, you can lie on your side either on a carpeted floor, a yoga type mat, or even on the couch or while in bed to perform the same motion. Like any exercise, depending on your goals you can either hold an isometric (no movement) contraction for 6-8 seconds, or repeat the action 3 to 20 times (repetitions per set).We have discussed how the body gets good at what it does and bad at what it does not do (specific adaption to imposed demand), and the importance of going through various new motions/activities slowly giving the body weeks to months to adapt its balance, coordination, stability and flexibility before increasing speed and subsequent shock. * Remember this cause and effect result is exactly the same for muscular, tendon and joint issue rehabilitation as it is for athletic and sport training. The only difference is how it’s applied. We encounter highly variable physical challenges every day and occasional stumbles or accidents can be expected along the way. So we really should get and stay “fit” for life!The F.I.T.T. principal states: an increase or decrease in the frequency, Intensity, Time and Type of any movement or activity changes the adaptive influence.
Frequency: If you do anything once per week such as walking/running, weights, yoga or Karate try increasing the frequency to two or three times per week and you can get better faster. Similarly if you’re doing rehabilitation exercises 2-3 times per day, by adding another session or respectfully including them into your activities of daily living and perform them a little here and there you can speed the time and quality of healing.
Intensity: By manipulating the frequency, moving a little faster or slower during exercise, pushing against more resistance, holding stretches a little longer than usual you can increase the intensity and positive influence of the activity you are doing.
Time: By increasing the length of time you are engaged in any activity you are also increasing the challenge and potential regeneration or degeneration of the body part or system. Example; if you are using an elliptical machine for 10-15 minutes three times per week, reduce the resistance, but extend one session by 5 minutes and see how it goes before extending them all to 15 minutes. Increase the resistance again and over the next couple months/years slowly work to extending each session up to 20-45 minutes as your cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems adapt.
Technique: When we change what or how we do activities, we stimulate diverse adaption over more joint surfaces and muscle fibre angles. For example, if you currently walk, lengthen the stride, occasionally raise your knee up and kick your bum. If you cycle, try a little jogging. If you do bench press, try raising or lowering the angle of the bench or including push ups into your routine to train the same muscles differently. If you do push-ups, try different positions; hips high in the air, hands closer or further apart, or switching one slightly ahead of the other. hotdogger’s can try clapping between, alternating hands on an object like a medicine ball, on your closed fists using just the first two knuckles and/or elevating your hands or feet etc.*Remember; muscle/tendon, joint capsule, ligament and even bone grow and heal with the progressive application of challenge from movement, stretch and contraction in every direction and, waist without it.
whether you are just starting to take real action steps toward creating positive change, have recently implemented more of an active lifestyle, or have been at it for years, you can be confident expecting positive physical results from consistent positive influences as you get more “FITT” for life!
Please keep writing as you read and practice the ABC’s for self-care and repair so you can feel, look and be your best!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton
carlajo@theblindperspective

Greetings book lovers,
This month we are going from the east coast to the west coast. I’m only doing 2 books this month because I want to write about narrators. I love a great story that gives me a real look at the past. I think each of us have special places in time that we enjoy reading about. I have 2 great books this month, one nonfiction and one a fiction retelling of cities, people and events in the past.
I was part of a discussion on narrators recently and thought about featuring a narrator, but decided to open it up to you and ask, who are your favorite narrators? Do you lean more towards male or female readers? What draws you in? What drives you crazy? So, write me and I’d like to make an entire article of what readers have to say about the folks we listen to.
Until next time, Happy reading,
Carla jo
The Dollhouse
DB 85381
Written by Fiona Davis
Reading time: 9 hours and 55 minutes
“The Dollhouse… That’s what we boys like to call it…. The Barbizon Hotel for Women, packed to the rafters with pretty little dolls. Just like you.”Fiona Davis’ stunning debut novel pulls listeners into the lush world of New York City’s glamorous Barbizon Hotel for Women, where in the 1950s a generation of aspiring models, secretaries, and editors lived side by side while attempting to claw their way to fairy-tale success, and where a present-day journalist becomes consumed with uncovering a dark secret buried deep within the Barbizon’s glitzy past.When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong – a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Es me, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo, and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist – not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.My comments; I have always been fascinated with the idea of “a hotel for women”. Can you imagine leaving your home, going to a different city and living amongst a bunch of strangers? Sounds like college. The restrictions and dress codes and the mindset of the time is mind blowing to me. But, it happened. This book is a great dip into the time period. The girls, the class barriers, the jazz clubs, New York at this time. It’s just a great story.Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror and Deliverance in the
City of Love
DB 82348
Written by David Talbot
Reading time: 17 hours and 26 minutes
Season of the Witch is the first book to fully capture the dark magic of San Francisco in this breathtaking period, when the city radically changed itself – and then revolutionized the world. The cool gray city of love was the epicenter of the 1960s cultural revolution. But by the early 1970s, San Francisco’s ecstatic experiment came crashing down from its starry heights. The city was rocked by savage murder sprees, mysterious terror campaigns, political assassinations, street riots, and finally a terrifying sexual epidemic. No other city endured so many calamities in such a short time span.David Talbot takes us deep into the riveting story of his city’s ascent, decline, and heroic recovery. He draws intimate portraits of San Francisco’s legendary demons and saviors: Charles Manson, Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Bill Graham, Herb Caen, the Cockettes, Harvey Milk, Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple, Joe Montana and the Super Bowl 49ers. He reveals how the city emerged from the trials of this period with a new brand of “San Francisco values”, including gay marriage, medical marijuana, immigration sanctuary, universal health care, recycling, renewable energy, consumer safety, and a living wage mandate. Considered radical when they were first introduced, these ideas have become the bedrock of decent society in many parts of the country, and exemplify the ways that the city now inspires us toward a live-and-let-live tolerance, a shared sense of humanity, and an openness to change.As a new generation of activists and dreamers seeks its own path to a more enlightened future, Season of the Witch – with its epic tale of the wild and bloody birth of San Francisco values – offers both inspiration and cautionary wisdom.My comments; This book was a real eye opener. Talbot gets to the heart of San Francisco, even where the title of that song came from. I really enjoyed this in-depth look at a ground breaking city.

The Braille Highway

By Nat Armeni
nat@theblindperspective

Happy November! Hoping this article finds you doing well? As you already know I was in the hospital for a while, and I had lots of time for reflection and contemplation. I thought about The Braille Highway and decided to seek out a braille minded source for gifts for this Holiday season. That is when I found www.brailleiant.com I had the great pleasure to speak and interview Julie from brailleiant in Batton Rouge Louisiana. Julie is a 41 year old sighted mother of 3 children. Brailleiant began in 2005 When Julie’s niece Sophie, who is blind, inspired her to create special gifts with a braille component. The name Brailleiant was thought of because in Julie’s opinion Sophie is brilliant and combining braille with brilliant the word Brailleiant was born.With the holidays in mind, one can find items ranging from $15 to $60 all with a braille component. Julie uses a variety of methods for adding braille to the products. In regards to keychains or dog tags, she punches the dots directly in to the metal. With braille t-shirts, Julie adds ball shaped gems on to the fabric to create the braille word(s). Brailleiant accepts custom orders as long as they are of the PG 13 rating. T shirts and tank tops range from children to adults sizes.Julie described different bracelets and necklaces that each have either punched in braille or the ball shaped braille dots. A big seller right now are the bracelets with a small flat piece of metal in the middle, and that is where Julie adds the braille. These bracelets are limited to five characters. Some examples of what she has brailled on these items include; love, initials, and/or names.When I asked for a sneak preview of any new products, Julie told me of a stretchy beaded bracelet. This too, would include the flat metal piece where the braille is added.Rest assured that you can find many gift ideas for family members, love ones or your furry companions. You can find items either as a gift or stocking stuffer when you drop by on the web to browse through the Brailleiant Boutique. I am sure you will find it a pleasure dealing with Julie as I did interviewing her. Although Julie is sighted, she is most definitely a huge braille supporter and advocate, as she is spreading the use of braille on jewelry and other unique gift items!Contact information:
Telephone: 225-247-0006
Email: info@brailleiant.comWebsite: www.brailleiant.com Remember to stay on the dotted line of life! Goodbye and take care of yourself until December when we meet again.

Make Your Money Work

By Munawar Bijani
munawar@theblindperspective

Last time, we talked about cash flow. In summary, it’s the calculation of your earnings minus any expenses. We came up with a hypothetical situation where we were left with $900 at the end of the month. In this article, we’re going to focus on this left over money.In my first article, I mentioned that as your money sits idle, it loses value. So, are we going to solve that problem now? Nope, sorry, not yet. There is still one thing left to do, and that’s budgeting.
We’ve briefly seen the two categories of expenses: fixed, and variable. We’re going to go into a little more depth about them now. Both are as they seem: fixed expenses are amounts that don’t change often. Variable expenses are amounts that change month to month. Things like transportation and food are variable expenses, and things like rent and Internet are fixed expenses. Now, your fixed expenses might change year to year (for instance, if you’re rent goes up next year) but these increases don’t happen often enough for us to consider them variable. Only expenses that change month to month should be considered variable expenses.Now, let’s talk about budgets. Your variable expenses such as transportation and groceries can be considered budget items. You should never spend more than you’ve allowed in these categories, because these numbers are calculated into your cash flow. Think about this: your groceries expense is listed at $200 a month, but you consistently spend only $100 a month. Over the course of one year, you’ve saved $1,200! That’s almost an extra paycheck! Let’s say you have two or more budget items and you keep underspending on these budgets. Your savings will be even greater. In fact, you can use some of that extra money to offset a month where you overspent a little, or to offset the excessive spending habits of your significant other.This is one type of budget, and one that we covered in brief last month. Another budget is built on your left over cash. So after we spend on groceries, rent and utilities, we have $900 left. This $900 can be considered discretionary money. It doesn’t go into any specific category, but you have it there just as a remainder. That’s great! The point of cash flow isn’t to maximize your spending; it’s the opposite. So the fact that we have $900 left over means we’re doing pretty well for ourselves.Next, let’s make a budget, called “discretionary spending.” Cap it at $300. That will keep us safe from overspending and going negative, because we still have $600 of buffer money.So can this discretionary budget grow or shrink? Absolutely. Remember that this $900 is after your cash flow has been calculated. So this $900 that you have left, it’s your money.
Now, since we have a discretionary budget of $300, we should think that we have $300 a month to spend on ourselves. Again, notice that we’re being careful and not maximizing our spending. This is key to financial success: live beneath your means. Can you spend $900 on yourself every month? According to your cash flow, yes. But is it wise? Not really, because then you won’t have any money left to grow. If you spend absolutely every dollar you make every month, you’re gaining nothing from your hard-earned wages.Ok, so what happens to that $600 just sitting around (no, please don’t give it to your significant other?) This is the money we’ll use to grow our net worth. Your net worth (in its basic form) is how much freely available cash you have. I write “basic form” because the definition of net worth will evolve as we start talking more about growing our wealth. Next month, we’ll start by saving a little bit. How much should we save, and indeed, how much should we NOT save. Pretty soon, you’ll have a buffer of cash, and you’ll find that you’re sleeping better at night time because of it. But…please get rid of that overspending significant other of yours. After all, life is all about hard decisions, isn’t it? I think you get the idea by now. So about that significant… Ok, moving on.In this article, we talked about fixed and variable expenses in cash flow. We also discussed extra budgets, and we came to an agreement that cash flow is not meant to help you maximize your spending. Finally, we established that creating a “discretionary” budget is a good idea, and you should only spend what’s available in that budget. Next time, we’ll start growing our money.
If you have any comments on this article, you can Email me at my address above.

Kaleidoscope of Krafts

By Lindy van der Merwe
lindy@theblindperspective

Hello again to all crafters,
As the holidays and Christmas season is approaching again, it made me think of what crafting is really all about, or what some of it is about for me, at least. Being creative, keeping busy, sharing tips, tricks, patterns and good times with friends, loved-ones or fellow crafters. Putting ones time to good use are concepts that come to mind, but there is so much more to think of when the word “crafting” is considered.
Being able to make or put together something meaningful and personal for someone else, has always been something special for me. Even if you are not able or inclined to spend many hours and a lot of resources, there are so many ways to create items with a personal touch. You don’t even need any crafting skills. With this in mind, this month I share two simple gifts you could make for the special people in your life.Washcloth Bunny
This craft is great to make as a small gift for a baby shower or for the little one in your life. Your washcloth will be a useful gift when untied and you could also add a small item to fit inside the circle formed by the folded cloth.
Keep in mind though, that this gift is not suitable for babies and very young children because of the small items used, that could pose a choking hazard.
You will need:
1 washcloth (a large, thin square cloth will work best for this craft)
2 small rubber bands
1 cotton ball
2 stick on eyes
matching or contrasting ribbon
small piece of double-sided tape or glue dot
Directions:
1. Place your washcloth down with its corners at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. If your cloth has a tag or loop for hanging, make sure that it is hidden when you do the next step.
2. Starting from the corner nearest you, roll the cloth up to form a long rope.
3. Next, bring the ends of the rope together and tie with the first rubber band, about two inches or so from the ends, to form the neck of the bunny.
4. Tie the second rubber band half an inch up from the first to form the head.
5. If used, tie on the ribbon into two bows to cover the rubber bands.
6. Adjust the points at the top of the cloth to form ears as needed.
7. Glue on the eyes and the cotton ball if used.
8. If preferred, place a small gift at the center of your washcloth bunny. A round or oval soap, some bath salts in a round or oval container or a scented candle may be a good choice.The second project I’d like to share is so versatile that you could adjust it for any occasion and personalize it for each recipient. It is often presented in a mason jar, but almost any type and size container could be used.
The idea is to decorate the container and fill it with something special you have put together. You could also choose a project to celebrate a special season or occasion.
I am sharing only two examples here, but there are many ideas and recipes to choose from if you search or simply ask around, or let your own imagination and your knowledge of what each person would like, guide you when making this gift.
Examples include dry mixes for making hot drinks, cookies, cupcakes or desserts; or bath sugar scrubs, teas or salts, selections of small trinkets or supplies for sewing, crafting or gardening, all presented in a decorated container.
In general, make sure your jar is squeaky clean and that you seal it tightly after it has been filled. Decorate in any way you’d like, e.g. with glitter, paper, fabric, leather ribbon, rope, etc. Remember to attach a special note with a personal or seasonal message, instructions for use, or a thoughtful poem, depending on the type of gift you are presenting.If you are celebrating Christmas in a cold climate, why not try the following gift in a jar?
Pasta Soup Mix in a Jar
Ingredients:
1/2 cup macaroni or any pasta of your choice
1/4 cup dried lentils
1/4 cup dried, chopped mushrooms
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon onion flakes
1 tablespoon chicken soup base
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon oregano
dash of garlic powderMethod:
Mix Parmesan cheese, onion flakes, soup base, parsley, oregano and garlic powder together in a small bowl.
In a one pint jar, layer ingredients in this order:
Spice mixture, Macaroni, Lentils, and Mushrooms.
Store with tightly sealed lid, until needed.
Attach the following recipe with a hang tag to give as a gift:
Basic Pasta Soup
Combine contents of jar with 3 cups water in a 2 quart saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally.
Makes 4 servings.
Recipe from
http://www.recipegoldmine.com/foodgiftsoup/pasta-soup-mix-jar.htmlIngredients for DIY Bath Salts:
1/2 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup coarse sea salt
1 1/2 tablespoons baking soda
1 tablespoon nourishing oil (sweet almond, avocado, walnut, olive, coconut, etc)
5-10 drops of essential oil of your choosing (lavender and wild orange are great places to start)
Ingredients for DIY Sugar Scrub:
1 cup white or brown sugar, or a mixture of both
1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice (optional)
1/4 cup nourishing oil (sweet almond, avocado, walnut, olive, coconut, etc)Directions:
Add everything to a bowl and stir well to combine.
Add more oil to reach the consistency that you like. This recipe is very flexible and very easy to make in large batches for gift giving.
Pour into a clean jar and decorate as preferred, adding a nice gift tag in print or braille with directions for use.To use bath salts:
Add a few tablespoons of salt to your hot bath while the water is running. Soak for at least 15 minutes.To use sugar scrub:
Soak hands or feet in hot water. Remove from water and rub all over with sugar scrub. Rinse well.
Recipes adapted from
http://www.blessthismessplease.com/2014/12/diy-bath-salts-sugar-scrubs-great -homemade-gifts.htmlUntil next month, I wish you all happy crafting!

Spencer’s Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer
cheryl@theblindperspective

This month I am going to stray from the toys, as I like to call them, and get serious with an item you may not need. However, just the same, you should know about and share this item with your local learning institutions for the blind. I intend to do the same in my area.Have I gotten your attention yet? Well, then, let’s get on with it. Several months ago, a company called Logantech released the 6 Dot label maker of which I am a proud owner of. This leads me to the spotlight item of the month.Introducing the BrailleCoach. Upon first glance of this device, I was confused and perplexed about how it worked. Most people that have purchased the device have seen it at a trade show, so because it requires almost no learning curve, it did not have any “getting started directions” in the box. I am told by the president, Glen Dobbs, this will soon be rectified.So, what does the BrailleCoach do? It is an ingenious way of teaching braille to all ages and allowing them to learn independently.It consist of the BrailleCoach machine which is: light weight, and portable; runs on batteries; has a button on the top; and an ear phone jack on the front of the device for private listening and learning.The machine houses a circuit board with an antenna that communicates with the prerecorded and recordable sound tags. A key ring holds the controls to the BrailleCoach. Each sound tag on the key ring is labeled in braille for the teacher, and/or the student to change the mode; erase, record, and increase or decrease the volume. When the sound tag marked “battery” is pressed, the button announces how much battery is left so you can be sure and have extra batteries on hand when needed. By the way, the machine ships from the company, batteries included and installed ready to use right out of the box.The sound tags have the braille letter on top with the word equivalent below. Depending on the mode the machine is set to, the BrailleCoach says either the letter, dots, or the word equivalent when they are placed on, and then pressed onto the button located on the top of the machine.More advanced braille sound tags can be recorded and created using the 6 Dot label maker, specifically to suit the student’s needs. This is ideal for the classroom where there are several students learning at different levels, or just as well for a single student.The BrailleCoach also comes with a custom zippered carrying bag specifically designed to make it more portable and convenient. Unzip the case, and it is designed to use without taking it out of its protective case which is held securely with hook and loop fasteners.What you get:BrailleCoach device, 26 braille alphabet tags, 25 blank sound tags, programming tag set, Braille Label Maker device, power adapter for Braille Label Maker, 10 rolls of embossing tape, QWERTY keyboard for Braille Label Maker, USB adapter for keyboard and one year warranty for each device.This is truly a well thought out teaching system. It is quite the incredible and functional device with its simplicity and ease of use.Pair the BrailleCoach system with a braille writer or slate and stylist and you have learning braille made easier. Well done Mr. Dobbs and Logantech.If you know of any institution or school that may benefit from the use of this unique and innovative BrailleCoach system, please contact Logantech at 203-721-6074. Read and learn more about the BrailleCoach and other devices that they offer at their website: www.LoganTech.com

APPetizers: Byte Size Tidbits to Help Master Your iDevice

By Darrin Cheney
darrin@theblindperspective

Using a Bluetooth Keyboard: A Faster Way to Navigate and Type on Your iDevice!Typing text using the “On-Screen” keyboard with VoiceOver (VO) can be frustrating — especially when you need to write or to reply to several emails or messages. Yes, you can use SIRI to do your typing, but her spelling and word choices are questionable at times. Take the matter into your own hands (literally) and consider investing in a Bluetooth keyboard. In this installment, I’ll cover some tips and tricks to consider when using a Bluetooth keyboard with your iDevice.Getting Started:
A Bluetooth (BT) keyboard is wireless and it connects to your iDevice through a process called “Pairing.” Typically, a BT keyboard is smaller, and either runs on batteries or requires recharging. You can either buy an Apple BT keyboard from the Apple Store or from another vendor like Amazon.com. Amazon.com also sells the AmazonBasics Bluetooth Keyboard for Apple Devices. Logitech and Belkin also sell a wireless Apple keyboard. Make sure the BT keyboard is compatible with an Apple iDevice and it has the “Control”, “Option” and “Command” keys. I have an Apple wireless keyboard because I’m familiar with the one I use with my iMac. Consider going to a tech store to try a BT keyboard before you buy one to make sure it’s a good fit for you.Pairing a BT Keyboard:
Go to Settings > Bluetooth, and switch it on. Then, turn on your BT keyboard. Your iDevice will find the BT keyboard and a message will appear telling you a 4-digit number to enter on the BT keyboard. Once paired, your device will appear in your “My Devices” menu and you can type text or navigate your iDevice using Voice Over (VO). . Your BT keyboard will automatically connect to your iDevice each time Bluetooth is turned on and both devices are within range. When finished typing, turn off the BT keyboard to save battery.Using VO to Navigate and Control Your iDevice:
On the Apple wireless keyboard, there are four keys to the left of the Space Bar: Function (Fn), CONTROL (CTRL), OPTION (OPT), and COMMAND (CMD). On the right side of the Space Bar is CMD, OPT, and Up, Down, Left, and Right arrow keys.
Voice Over allows you to control your iDevice using Special Keys plus a letter (eg., VO + Space Bar). By default, you press the CTRL + OPT keys to initiate a VO command and also press a letter to perform that task. Other keyboard shortcuts may only use the Control (CTRL) key and an Arrow or letter.
You can navigate your iDevice using a SPECIAL KEY + a LETTER or ARROW. For example, VO + RIGHT Arrow will move the Voice Over focus to the next item and VO+h will take you to the home screen. Voice Over will speak as you move the focus or type text.
Here are some specific functions you can perform on a BT keyboard on your iDevice while using Voice Over.
Navigating Your iPhone:
VO + right or left arrow key = select app icon
VO + space = open app
VO + space space = activate an item
CTRL + up arrow = go to top left
CTRL + down arrow = go to bottom right
VO + right arrow = go to next item
VO + left arrow = go to previous item
VO + space = select item
VO + h = go to home page
VO + h + h = go to app switcher
VO + a = read from current position
VO + b = read from top
Up Arrow + left OR right Arrow = change Rotor setting
VO + down arrow = go to next Rotor item
VO + up arrow = go to previous Rotor item
VO + k = start/stop Voice Over help
Escape = turn off Voice Over help; return to previous screenNavigating Safari:
VO + i = open Item Chooser
CMD + t = open new tab
CMD + w = close open tab
CTRL + tab = show next tab
CTRL + shift + tab = show previous tab
CMD + r = reload current web page
CMD + f = find on page
CMD + l = access address bar
CMD + shift + r = turn on/off reader modeLearn more keyboard shortcuts:
help.apple.com/
Compare the VO Gesture with the corresponding keyboard shortcut:
pauljadam.com/VO demos
Other Keyboard Shortcuts:
There are additional ways you can navigate your iDevice or a specific app. Quick Navigation (Quick Nav) allows you to turn on a feature where you can enter a shortcut to quickly open a menu or perform a task. Also, certain apps have features you can access like Item Chooser in Safari. Item Chooser provides a list of all items on a web page with a link to each. You can search the list and then quickly jump to that section.Final Thoughts:
This is only a brief description what you can do with a Bluetooth keyboard paired with an iOS device. Consider using a BT keyboard when you answer your long list of emails or messages, type your term paper, or write that Christmas letter. For many, navigating the device with keyboard commands is much quicker than using gestures and typing is much faster than using the on-screen keyboard. The challenge is to learn and recall the long list of keyboard shortcuts. Consider exploring the links I provided above and make your own set of flash cards of the keyboard shortcuts you use most often.

The Rotating Trio: Potpourri

By Suzy
suzy@theblindperspectiveGiven a few ideas from our editor & chief, let’s look at a few things that some of us have encountered.Spots and stains on clothing:
Oops, just dropped a bite. Of all the spot removers on the market, I find that something Mama used a few years ago still works best. This was first successful on a royal blue silky polyester blouse which appeared as an impossible dream. The product is Murphy’s Oil Soap…and bet you thought it was only for wood. Whether a cotton tee, a polyester, or blend, dampen the stain and pour a dab of Murphy’s on the stain. Then rub the spot between your hands. Hold the fabric in both hands, and rub the affected area vigorously, and Let set for about 5 minutes. Then rinse and either wash by hand or put in washer. Do this in cold water, because hot water will set the stain as will the heat from the dryer. Again, avoid the dryer. Lay the article of clothing on a flat surface to dry or place on a hanger and hang on the shower rod, if you have one. This way, you can get someone to check, if possible, and you have another try, should you have missed a portion of the stain.Another question is: what not to put down your garbage disposal:
Except for banana peels, fruit pits, rice, celery, onion, Pineapple tops, and any stringy vegetable, I put most anything. Among these, besides the accepted left-overs, potato peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, even cantaloupe peels, and I won’t scare you with some of the others. The big thing, which many may not do, is to run hot water for at least 30 seconds after turning off the motor. This helps slough goop from the pipes as well as reduce odor. Lemon and orange peels leave a nice smell. As for sharpening the blades, run a few ice cubes followed with a few lemon slices, resulting with sharper blades and the scent of lemon.Check out this homemade recipe that can be used in the bathroom, kitchen, and on tables. It is inexpensive, nontoxic, and effective!Homemade Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaner

What you will need:
*Recycled Glass containers with lids
*Orange peels (Or any other citrus fruit peels. This makes it smell great plus it adds cleaning power.)
*1 Tablespoon Salt (any kind)
*Vinegar
*Distilled Water
*5 – 10 drops Essential oil (optional)
Directions:
Step One: Cut orange peels and fill any empty glass containers you have on hand. If you don’t have glass you can fill any containers that you have.
Step Two: Add some salt to the orange peels and let them sit for 20 – 30 minutes (or longer). This will pull the oils from the peels and ultimately make your cleaning solution stronger. You only need enough salt to lightly cover the peels.
Step Three: Fill the containers with vinegar and water. You can do all vinegar and leave it as is, you can do all vinegar and then add the water at the end of step 5, or you can do 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar.
Step Four: Put a TIGHT FITTING lid on the jars and let the solution sit for 2 – 3 weeks. The longer it sits the better.
Step Five: Strain the solution and fill a squirt bottle with your natural ORANGE cleaner. If you are using essential oils you will add them at this time.
*Note: It would be best to start a new solution as soon as you start using yours so that you have it ready when you run out.If you have questions or topics you would like addressed, contact me at my email address located above.

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine
maxine@theblindperspective

I have been getting several emails asking for some diabetic recipes. Ask and you shall receive. Here is a delicious cod dish from The Mediterranean Diabetes Cookbook by Amy Riolo.
Roasted Cod with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Olives
Nutrition Facts:
Serving Size: 1 cod fillet + 1/2 cup of vegetables
• Calories215
• Carbohydrate12 g
• Protein23 g
• Fat9.0 g
• Saturated Fat1.3 g
• Sugars6 g
• Dietary Fiber3 g
• Cholesterol50 mg
• Sodium155 mg
Ingredients:
1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
2 large zucchini, diced
1 yellow onion, sliced
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and diced
1/4 cup basil, chopped
4 cod fillets (4-6 ounce each)
Juice of 1 lime
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. Place tomatoes, zucchini and onion in a large baking dish, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle with olive oil, and roast for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
4. Remove from oven, and stir in garlic, olives, and basil. Place cod fillets on top of vegetables, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with lime juice.
5. Return to oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, until fish is cooked through.
Servings: 4
Choices/Exchanges:
2 Vegetable, 3 Lean Meat, 1/2 Fat
Add some artichokes as a side dish and make a healthy and complete meal!

Riddle

By Alex Smart
alex@theblindperspective 

What goes up but doesn’t come back down?
Answer to October’s riddle
How do you fix a cracked pumpkin?
With a pumpkin patch

Brain Buster

By Alex Smart
alex@theblindperspective Lots of Luck
Every answer is a two word name or phrase with in which both words start with the letter L.
Example: Woman who helps a better; Lady Luck
*Co worker of Clark Kent
*Program in which kids learn baseball
*She played Alice on TV show Alice
*It protects car buyers
*They sink shipsAnswer to October’s brain buster
The two boy’s names are:
Gregory and Roger

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