The Blind Perspective

The Blind Perspective

Welcome to The Blind Perspective

October 2017
Volume 3 Issue 10

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Movers & Shakers
International Perspective
Exercise, does a body good
Have I Got A Story For You
The Braille Highway
Kaleidoscope of Krafts
Spencer’s Spotlight
Computer Tech101
the Rotating Trio: EyeShare
Cooking Concoctions
Riddle & Brain Buster


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Greetings from the Editor

By Karen Santiago

Hello Readers,
We are at the beginning of the final quarter of 2017! Oh my, where does the time go? Well, I hope some of it is devoted to reading all the great articles in The Blind Perspective every month. And once again you will be informed and entertained with the articles to follow.

If you are blind/visually impaired and interested, we are looking for new writers to come on board. If your knowledge of expertise is in the area of nutrition, daily living, mobility, guide dogs, fashion, or anything that may be of interest to the blind community, please email me at

for United States Readers:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Receiving preparedness tips and timely information about weather conditions or other emergency events can make all the difference in knowing when to take action to be safe. FEMA and our partners are working to ensure alerts and warnings are received quickly through several different technologies, no matter whether an individual is at home, at school, at work, or out in the community. The FEMA App, which can be downloaded on both Android and Apple devices, is one way to ensure receipt of both preparedness tips and weather alerts. The FEMA App can be downloaded at:

In 2007, FEMA began modernizing the nation’s public alert and warning system by integrating new technologies into the existing alert systems. The new system, known as IPAWS became operational in 2011. Today, IPAWS supports more than 900 local, state, tribal, and federal users through a standardized message format. IPAWS enables public safety alerting authorities such as emergency managers, police, and fire departments to send the same alert and warning message over multiple communication pathways at the same time to citizens in harm’s way, helping to save lives.

For more information on FEMA’s IPAWS, and to access a video in American Sign Language, go to:

For more preparedness information, go to:

At A Glance: OrCam, Northern Ireland, Stretch, Animals, Relationship, & History, Tammy, Hangers, Dominos, Echo, Beyond Blindness, Lobster, Riddle & Brain Buster.

Movers & Shakers

OrCam Technologies
By Joseph Marks

Glasses for the Blind Person
The OrCam device is a smart camera that sits on the user’s glasses and reads text aloud to people who are visually impaired or blind.

While the OrCam device is not exactly “glasses for blind person”, it definitely looks that way. The device is so small and discreet, it is barely noticeable. Besides its compact size, there are many amazing OrCam features that make the device unique and accessible.

Easy to use:
OrCam MyEye is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera that clips onto a regular pair of glasses and is able to ‘read’ text and convert it into speech relaying the message to the user. The device is activated by a simple intuitive gesture – pointing your finger or pressing a single button. Using OCR – optical character reading – technology, the device can read printed materials on almost any surface such as newspapers, books, computer screens, menus and more.

Many people who are visually impaired or blind have to carry around a heavy magnifying glass to read text. The OrCam MyEye is small and light and simply attaches to the right side of the user’s glasses frame. The camera weighs ¾ of an ounce and has a thin wire, easily hidden behind the ear, which connects to the base unit or “brain” of the device. The base unit is about the size of a cellphone and can easily sit in one’s pocket or on a belt strap.

“You are what you wear.” Wearable technologies have grown tremendously in the past few years. Smart electronic devices that can be worn on the body are practical and discreet. The OrCam is no exception. Although they are not exactly glasses for the blind person, the device sits on the individual’s glasses frame and is so discreet that it can barely be seen by others allowing the user to fit in with the crowd.

Unlike other OCR technologies, the OrCam does not require a scanner connected to a computer or internet connection. All the information stored in the device is private and only accessible to the user.

For people who are visually impaired or blind and have conditions that cannot be corrected by glasses or surgery, the OrCam MyEye can be life-changing. Who would have thought that this little camera situated on a pair of glasses could help people who are blind or visually impaired regain their independence?

Contact Information:
Gill Beeri
Director, Business Development – North America
Tel: 1-800-713-3741, extension 118
Check out their website to learn more. For our international readers, there are phone numbers for you to call as well.

International Perspective

Northern Ireland
By Karen Santiago, as told by Jim Cosgrove

Ireland is an island country located off the northwest coast of Europe. Northern Ireland, considered a part of the United Kingdom, occupies over 17% of Ireland.
Northern Ireland is small, with a total land area of just under 5,500 square miles. It has an estimated population of over 1.8 million. Some of the popular places tourist visit include: Giant’s Causeway, Lough Neagh, Titanic Quarters, Grand Opera House, Old Bushmills Distillery, along with many other sites.

Blind Schools:
In the capital city of Belfast is the Jordanstown school for those who are visually impaired and/or deaf. The school offers both primary and secondary education, catering for Children between 4 and 19 years of age. Students are taught braille and mobility skills. They can also take part in the school’s choir, and/or learn how to play a musical instrument.

Those who are blind are encouraged to make their own choice as to either move on to higher education, or look for employment. Mainstream colleges located here in Ireland and Universities in England provide blind students with a reader, and materials in braille, or the format that best suits them.

Disability Sports NI is the main charity in Northern Ireland working with children, young people and adults with a disability who would like to get involved and take part in recreational and performance sport. The most important part of Disability Sport NI’s work is the development of regular participation opportunities for people with disabilities, ideally in their local area. They support many community events, Active Clubs Program, local groups & projects.
People with disabilities have opportunities to take part in a variety of sport related activities such as, sailing, horseback riding, archery, water skiing, climbing, and more.
Activity Center: Jim told me that here people with disabilities are welcomed to take part in a variety of sporting events. For example, Jim was able to drive a land rover off road, with a sighted person sitting next to him, telling him what directions to go in. They also have one of the longest zip lines in Ireland.
Share Center: A place where individuals and groups of people with disabilities can go to take part in water sports.

Guide Dogs:
Guide Dogs Northern Ireland aim is to provide individuals with sight loss, the support they need in order to be able to move around safely and confidently, to get out of their homes and be able to live life the way they choose.
Guide Dogs NI provides mobility for people who are blind and partially sighted. It supports research as well as campaigning for equal rights to help people with sight loss tackle obstacles they face on a daily basis.
At Guide Dogs, Northern Ireland, they provide all the training one needs to successfully work with a guide dog. This training is generally done residentially, however, in some situations training can be performed in one’s home. All the essential equipment is provided free of charge, in addition, they will provide financial assistance if needed for things like food or veterinary costs. Guide Dog is dedicated to providing on going care and support to help ensure the partnership between guide dog and user is a successful one. Guide dogs are allowed in public places: restaurants, hotels, buses, trains, etc.

Reading service: 
The Royal National Institute for the Blind National Library Service contains more than 40,000 titles, making it the largest specialized library in the UK for readers with sight loss. It offers a wide range of books and information for adults and children in accessible format; giant print (24 font), unabridged audio, and braille, as well as braille music.
Each year, RNIB delivers 1.6 million talking books and 416,000 volumes of braille and giant print, bringing enjoyment to over 50,000 readers!

In Belfast, at the Grand Opera House they have plays with descriptive narration. There are cinemas that provide audio narration as well.
Smart Pass: free transportation on any regularly scheduled bus or train. There are no boundaries, therefore, you could travel to the coast, south of the boarder, virtually anywhere in Ireland, at no cost.
Train: Audible announcements for station stops. If you do not have any sighted assistance when using the train, a person will assist you on board the train. In addition, there will be an attendant to help you off the train and guide you to a taxi or in the direction you need to go.
Bus: Metro service (city buses) have audible announcements for bus stops. These audible announcements are currently being implemented on the “country” buses.
Walking around
There are curb cuts and tactile strips at intersections.
Cone: When approaching an intersection to cross, push the button and place your hand underneath to find the cone. Once the cone is spinning, it is safe for you to cross. This cone device is located right on the crosswalk pol, and set up by the city/town. If the cone is not available, there are audible signals activated when it is safe to cross.

There are menus available in braille. When you get a bill, you are asked if you would like to receive it in braille, audio format, or via email. Government documents are available in the same format as previously mentioned.

Disability Living Allowance: monthly check for those who have a disability and are working.
Employment Support: If you are registered as blind and meet the criteria, you are exempt from looking for work. Blind individuals receive a higher compensation rate.

Blind Organizations:
Disability Action: wworking for the rights of disabled people; by providing a range of services and projects for people with disabilities, their families and caregivers. All of these activities are funded in different ways and most are available without the need for a referral.
Disability Action is unique in its work, as it is the only Northern Ireland widespan disability organization working with disabled people with various disabilities; physical, mental, sensory, learning and hidden. Their work is important as one in five people in Northern Ireland has a disability.
Disability Action works to ensure that people with disabilities attain their full rights as citizens, by supporting inclusion, influencing Government policy and changing attitudes in partnership with disabled people.
Disability Action provides a range of services that businesses, public authorities and other voluntary and community sector groups can access to ensure that they are meeting the needs of disabled people. These include training services, access consultancy and their Business Support Scheme.
They offer a range of services including Information; Policy, Employment and Training Support, Capacity Building, Training on Disability & Diversity Issues, Transport and Mobility Assessment, all aimed at improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland.

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association: Belfast Mobility Team: along with providing and training blind and visually impaired people with guide dogs, they provide other services such as:
*Children and young people; provide services and activities, and provide advice for parents and teachers.
*Companion dogs for children and young people; buddy dogs are giving children and young people a vital boost in confidence.
*My Guide; sighted guiding service that aims to help people with sight loss get out of their homes and engage with their community, rebuilding their confidence and independence.
*Training for businesses; program of commercial training and professional consultancy services has a positive impact on many organizations including hospitals, supermarkets, transport companies, local authorities, department stores, aged care facilities and entertainment venues, keeping the world accessible to customers with sight loss.

Royal National Institute for the Blind Northern Ireland (RNIB NI): If you’re blind or partially sighted, or supporting somebody who has difficulties with their sight, RNIB NI offer a whole range of services to help you.
*Emotional & practical support: dealing with sight loss.
*Individual & group support: confidence building, access to community services.
*Welfare rights advice: information on available benefits.
*Products & technology: technology resource center.
*Employment support: job search, employer support.

Angel Eyes-Northern Ireland: A charitable organization supporting the parents of blind and visually impaired children.

Social Services; first protocol when losing sight. They will supply you with a white cane and mobility lessons. They can assist with obtaining accessible technology equipment and some training. There are local charitable agencies that can either totally or partially fund the cost of such devices.

Final Thoughts:
Jim says that where he lives is very good and accommodating for blind people. The people are kind, considerate, and extremely helpful. He shared this story about one day riding the bus home from work. He was on the bus, and a driver from another bus flagged down the bus he was riding on. The driver got off his bus, went on the bus that Jim was on, and told Jim he was on the wrong bus. The driver proceeded to assist Jim off the bus, and they both went on the “right” bus.
Jim did say that one of the worst problems facing blind people is street furniture. Especially during the warmer months of the year, since there are tables and chairs put outside for patrons. That is all fine and good, but try to navigate that as a blind person, not so easy. Not only the tables and chairs, but also the signboards and other outdoor advertisements that get in the way. With this furniture, the sidewalks become very narrow, and the option is either the furniture or the street, neither of which is a safe choice. Except for this issue, Jim did reiterate that his town is a superb place for blind individuals.

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely

Welcome back to exercise does a body good!
So far, we have done strengthening exercises and lots of planking. Now it is time to do some stretching for the hamstrings, and the lower and upper back. It is important to stretch these areas to prevent lower back pain.
How long? Hold the following stretches for a count of 10 to 30 seconds.
When to stretch? Some people stretch before exercising, while others stretch afterwards. I occasionally do some stretching before working out, but the majority of my stretching is done after I have completed my workout routine. The reason I do most my stretches afterwards, is because my muscles are loose and warmed up. In addition, I am less likely to injure or strain my muscles in my lower and upper back, and hamstrings.

Stretching exercise #1: Single Knee to Chest.
Lie flat on your back, both legs laying straight out in front of you.
Raise your left knee, while loosely bent, toward your chest.
Place your left hand behind your left thigh.
Grab your knee with your right hand.
Gently pull your knee and upper leg in towards your chest, feeling the stretch.
hold this stretch for a count of 10 to 30 seconds and do 2 to 3 reps. Repeat same stretch with your right leg toward your chest.
Stretching: Gluteus muscles and lower back muscles.

Stretching exercise #2: Double Knee to Chest.
Lie flat on your back, both legs laying straight out in front of you.
Raise your left knee towards your chest, and grab behind your left thigh with your left hand.
Raise your right knee towards your chest, and grab behind your right thigh with your right hand.
Gently pull your knees and upper legs in towards your chest, feeling the stretch.
hold this stretch for a count of 10 to 30 seconds and do 2 to 3 reps.
Note: Always breathe when stretching, try not to hold your breath.

Stretching exercise #3: Supine spinal twist.
Lie on your back with both knees bent at about 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.
Stretch your arms out to the sides, and palms placed flat on the floor. Your body should look like the letter T.
Turn your head to face the right, looking towards your fingers.
Rotate your lower back and knees towards the left side, down to the floor. Be sure that your upper back maintains the position of flat against the floor.
Hold this stretch for a count of 10 to 30 seconds, and do 2 to 3 reps. Reverse the stretch by rotating towards the right. Remember to keep breathing.
Stretch: Lower back and gluteus.

Stretching exercise #4: Supine cross legged spinal twist.
This is my favorite stretching exercise.
Again, lie on your back with both knees bent at about 90 degrees and feet flat on the floor.
Stretch your arms out to the sides, and palms placed flat on the floor. Your body should look like the letter T.
Turn your head to the left, looking towards your fingers.
take your right ankle and cross it over your left knee, so it is resting there.
Rotate or twist your left knee to the right and downwards. Make sure to keep your upper back flat on the floor.
Hold for a count of 10 to 30 seconds, and do 2 to 3 reps. Switch sides; right knee bent with left ankle crossed over the right knee, and twist down and to the left.
Stretch: Lower back, gluteus, and the outside of your upper legs (tensor fascai latae).

Stretching exercise #5: Supine straight leg hamstring stretch.
Lie flat on your back, both legs laying straight out in front of you.
Raise your left leg straight up, grab your foot, stretch towards your upper body, and hold this position for a count of 10 to 30 seconds. Breathe.
If you are unable to grab your foot, then grab your ankle or behind your calf, and perform the stretch.
If it is too difficult to do the former suggestions then use a belt, rope, or a TheraBand and wrap it around your foot and stretch.
Reverse sides, and stretch the right leg.
Stretch: Lower back, gluteus, hamstring, and calf muscle.

Stretching exercise #6: Cat and cow Stretch.
Get on all fours; hands-shoulder width apart and knees-hip width apart.
Head in neutral position; neither looking up or down, aligned with your back.
Cat pose (exhaling): Round your spine up towards the ceiling, and imagine you’re pulling your belly button up into your spine, really engaging your abs.
Cow pose (inhaling): Arch your back, let your belly relax, and go loose.
Hold each pose for a count of 5 to 10 seconds, and do 5 to 10 reps.
Stretch: Upper and lower back muscles and spine.

Stretching exercise # 7. Child pose stretch.
This is also one of my favorite stretching exercises.
Begin on your hands-shoulder width apart, and knees.
Knees should be spread wide apart while keeping your big toes touching.
Sit up straight and lengthen your spine up through the crown of your head.
On an exhalation, bow down and forward, draping your torso between your thighs.
Keep your arms long and extended, palms facing down.
Make sure you are relaxed and breathing through this stretch for a count of 10 to 30 seconds.
Stretch: Upper and lower back muscles and spine.

Health tip for the month.:
A reader asked me how to develop a six pack. There are 3 things you must do in order to see your abs.
1. Exercise your abs. There are so many abdominal exercises you can do, But I won’t go into it in this article.
2. You need to do cardiovascular/aerobics training for at least 30 minutes or more, 5 times a week to burn fat and calories.
3. You need to eat a low-fat diet, in order to have a low body fat index.

So, that is my health tip for the month, and I hope you enjoy the stretching exercises.
Send me an email with your exercise questions, ideas, and suggestions.
Remember exercising and stretching does a body good!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton

Hey There book lovers,
Here we are in October, where has 2017 gone? This month I bring you 2 new- to- me authors and a reader reviews a great book for us.

An Unspoken Art: Profiles of Veterinary Life
Written by Lee Gutkind
reading time: 6 hours and 44 minutes
Since James Herriot first began his practice almost a century ago, new technologies and the changing concerns of animal owners have dramatically altered the veterinarian’s world. Through a kaleidoscope of contrasting portraits, Lee Gutkind introduces an equally impassioned lot of doctors and their sometimes eccentric patients. Animal lovers will love this journey from tony, expensive Manhattan practices to mucky farms, from cutting-edge animal hospitals to zoos and aquatic parks.
My Comments; I love reading books about vets, animals, conservationists and the like. If you are a fan of Lawrence Anthony, “The Elephant Whisperer”, and the aforementioned James Herriot books, you’ll love this one. I never thought about pet people in New York having a completely different set of circumstances, the certain problems of treating a large sea turtle and many more great stories. I really liked this one. It is nonfiction.

Fierce Kingdom
Written by Gin Phillips
reading time: 8 hours and 8 minutes
The book takes place in a span of a little over three hours.
An electrifying novel about the primal and unyielding bond between a mother and her son, and the lengths she’ll go to protect him.
The zoo is nearly empty as Joan and her four-year-old son soak up the last few moments of playtime. They are happy, and the day has been close to perfect. But what Joan sees as she hustles her son toward the exit gate minutes before closing time sends her sprinting back into the zoo, her child in her arms. And for the next three hours – the entire scope of the novel – she keeps on running.
Suddenly, mother and son are as trapped as the animals. Joan’s intimate knowledge of this place that filled early motherhood with happy diversions – the hidden pathways and under-renovation exhibits, the best spots on the carousel and overstocked snack machines – is all that keeps them a step ahead of danger.
A masterful thrill ride and an exploration of motherhood itself – from its tender moments of grace to its savage power – Fierce Kingdom asks where the boundary is between our animal instinct to survive and our human duty to protect one another. For whom should a mother risk her life?
My comments; This is my first Gin Phillips and it won’t be my last. I loved it. Fast paced, suspenseful, emotional, this book has it all. And a fantastic story too boot!

I received the following from a reader named LeDon, I liked it so much, I left it alone. Here is what LeDon has to recommend.
I want to recommend to you the book, America’s first daughter. This is a captivating story about Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha, “Patsy”, Jefferson, Randolph which was gleaned from thousands of letters, documents and historical sources. The book was written by two accomplished historians and award winning writers of historical fiction, Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie. It is sometimes only through well research and written fiction that we can get a glimpse of the untold story behind the lives of some of the giants of history.
The book opens with Patsy sitting at her father’s desk shortly after his death. She is reading the thousands of letters left behind by her great father. As she reads the letters some of them bring memories to mind and from time to time tears appear on her cheek. Occasionally she holds one of the letters to the flame of a candle. In this way she wants to mold what we will know of her family life. But the events of history lets us peak behind the Curtin of secrets and see what may have happened. I am wondering how Patsy will handle Sally Hemmings. As Patsy is reading the letters, Sally walks into the office and tells Patsy that she will take these few things of Jefferson’s with her when she leaves the plantation. And Patsy says that that will be fine. So now I know that Patsy will not ignore Sally in this telling but neither will she dwell on her. This will be Patsy’s story. The story of a daughter’s love and dedication to her great father.
She opens another letter and it takes her back to the time when her father and the whole family must flee from their plantation, Monticello to escape the British which will surely hang her father if they are caught. Letter by letter the events of her life are brought to her mind. She recalls the death of her mother and the promise her mother made her father swear to. She fondly recalls her life in Paris the daughter of the man who wrote the declaration of independence. She relives the birth of her eleven children and her troubled marriage. So now, I rate this book a 4.5 out of five. If you are a lover of history and historical novels you will really want to read this one. It is a long book but I didn’t even notice that as I worked my way through Patsy’s life with her. You will enjoy every page of this story and may not even notice that it is a long book.

This book is available on Bard the book number is: DB88020. Good reading.

Thank you for a great review LeDon. If you have a book you feel is share worthy, let me know please. Until next month, Happy reading,
Carla jo

The Braille Highway

By Nat Armeni

Happy October, and welcome to the Braille Highway! This month’s article will be the thoughts of tammy and she has a couple of heartwarming facts regarding braille that she has experienced first hand. As per usual, I invite you to email me at my address noted at the beginning of this article.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tammy from Minnesota. She has 5 children; a daughter 25, a son 16, and 3 step children. Tammy also proudly informed me that she is a new grandmother. She has been a braille user for over 30 years and her braille comes in the form of notes, print/braille books, magazines, and from her braille display.

Apart from the usual practices of labelling food, CD’s/DVD’s, and clothing, Tammy told me some of her experiences and opinions. Tammy obtained her braille certificate several years ago. She now teaches braille both for the state and privately. Braille is a definite tool in Tammy’s toolbox both at home and professionally.

I am sure that many of us have touching memories as children of our parents reading to us. Perhaps we fondly recall reading to our own children, nieces, or nephews. Tammy has spent many hours reading to her children by using the print/braille books. She has already started stock piling books for her newest grandchild so that she will have materials to read. Not only did Tammy give her children a great start towards literacy but just as important, she has created that wonderful parent child bond.

During our conversation I posed the question on what reasons out of the norm would she say would be a good reason to learn braille. As many of us who are fortunate enough to reach the golden years, some may experience a loss of hearing. This would make listening to our electronic gadgets identifying such things as our canned or boxed items very challenging. However, with the use of braille that would be a mute point, no pun intended. Also, when in public places or loud places, the use of a smart phone that is pared with a braille device would add an added layer of privacy while still allowing the blind person the total use of their hearing. In addition, without having to use an ear bud or headphone, there is no restriction in our hearing of the stuff going on around us.

This last story I am going to relay is a very heartwarming one. So, those of you reading who are very sentimental be prewarned. When Tammy was dating the man she is married to, he took her on a sort of scavenger hunt. A little background information, a few months prior to this scavenger hunt he asked Tammy how he could learn braille. So armed with a braille cheat sheet and a braille writer he composed little notes for Tammy to find and read at each spot of the scavenger hunt. At the final spot, the note had brailled on it “Will you marry me?”. Of course, Tammy accepted. Like I exclaimed to Tammy during our chat, that man is definitely a keeper. Needless to say, Tammy has stored the braille notes in a safe place. Yes, you could probably have printed notes placed around and a blind person reading the messages with an OCR app. I must argue though, where is the sense of personableness when hearing the messages in a cold synthetic voice.

My first line of defense when debating the merits of learning the ABC of braille is now, “why complicate life, just complement it with braille!” I would like to publically thank Tammy for allowing me to speak with her and share some of her thoughts and ideas!! Until November when we meet again, remember to stay on the dotted line of life!!

Kaleidoscope of Krafts

By Lindy van der Merwe

Hello to all and welcome to another Kaleidoscope of crafts. I hope you will try out the craft I share for this month, even, or especially, if you have not joined us before.

One of the reasons I love to craft is the fact that one can use something you already have, something so ordinary, you hardly think of the item as you go about your daily life. Clothes hangers, or coat hangers, as they are also called, have been around for a long time. They are usually made of wood, metal or plastic and they come in many sizes and colors. It turns out they are not only indispensable for hanging our clothes, but they make an excellent item to use in a simple craft project.

The idea is to choose some type of material to cover a hanger or two, thus making it pretty and personal to give as a gift. Covering a hanger will also make it less slippery, so clothes are less likely to fall off these hangers and they are less likely to get tangled with clothes and other hangers in one’s cupboard.

For this project, yarn has been used, but you could also try cord, fabric strips or even colored tape as a covering medium.

For each hanger, you will need:
1 plastic coat hanger or two wire coat hangers that match in shape and size exactly
Roll of masking or scotch tape
Two colors of heavy rug yarn
A little glue or a piece of double sided tape

Step 1: If you are making your hanger from wire coat hangers, you will need to start by taping the two matching hangers together. Be sure that the shape and size of the wire hangers match exactly, otherwise you’ll have problems covering them with the yarn. Secure the two hangers together by wrapping small lengths of tape around them at several different spots. The tape will be covered by the yarn, so don’t worry too much about how neat it may look at this point. If you are using a plastic coat hanger, you’ll simply use one hanger “as-is.”

Step 2: Apply a little glue or wind a piece of double sided tape around the first inch or two of the hook of the hanger. Holding the two colors of rug yarn together, wrap the yarn around the tip of the hook to start off your project.

Step 3: Position the coat hanger on your lap, wedged between your knees, with the hook pointing towards your feet and one ball of yarn, placed on each side of the coat hanger.

Step 4: Pick up one ball and loop the yarn around the hook of the coat hanger. Then, pull the ball of yarn through the loop you made, forming a knot around the hanger. Basically, you are making a half hitch knot with the first ball of yarn. Repeat this four more times with the one color. Then, pick up the other ball of yarn and repeat, making the loop and the knot in the opposite direction. Again, repeat four more times. You will now have a stripe of one color of yarn, with the knotted edge facing towards one side of the hanger, and a second stripe of the other color of yarn, with the knotted edge facing the other side of the hanger.

Step 5: Repeat this process, making five knots per color, until you get to the bottom of the hooked part of the hanger. Continue the process down one side, around the bottom, and up the other side of the hanger until you reach the bottom of the hooked part again.

Step 6: When the hanger is completely covered, wrap the loose ends of yarn around the base of the hook in either direction, knotting it securely in the front. You can then cut the ends of the yarn and tie a bow. Or, make a pom-pom out of the same yarn and tie it to the hanger.

I hope you will give this craft a try . Make a few covered hangers for yourself, do this craft with a loved-one or Make them to give as gifts.


Spencer’s Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer

Editor’s Notes:
Cheryl was unable to submit an article for October since she spent most of the month in Northern Ireland. She was visiting her friend Jim. Read the International Perspective article and see what life is like as a blind person living in Northern Ireland.

So, readers, I thought to share something I recently purchased at the convention in July, a magnetic domino game. The white, magnetic board measures 13 X 16 inches, with a playing surface of 11 X 14 inches. The magnetic board is similar looking to a cookie sheet, in that it has raised sides.

The white, magnetic dominos are 1 1/4 X 1/2 X 1/8 inches. The dominos have raised markings to represent the numbers 1 through 6. There is a small raised zero to represent the blank dominos.

The dots are brightly colored; each “number” having its own color. There is also a small raised line that is placed between the two numbers. It comes with both braille and print instructions.

This Magnetic Dominoes set is great! The dominos stay in place during the entire game. I have played many many games with family and friends since bringing it home. The price tag for all of this accessible fun was only 20 dollars, well worth it!

For this domino board set I write about, you can get it here:

Computer Tech101

By Jim Morgan

First, I stayed in my home for Hurricane Irma. I live ¾ miles away from the Atlantic Ocean in Northeast Florida, near Jacksonville, and we got through it just fine. There was a little damage from a tree from next door that came down. Thanks to a power line in the way, it kind of eased down instead of crashing down and, didn’t destroy my carport, kitchen, and part of the living room roof. There is still a power line on the ground, but it’s insulated, so it isn’t dangerous. The power company will put it back up as soon as the tree is removed. Said tree is leaning against the house and the line is underneath it. Luckily, the line didn’t break and, obviously, I have power. My family is all fine too. We basically had sustained winds of 50-60 MPH (that’s about 81-100 KPH for those who use Metric) and gusts between 75 -80 MPH (about 121-129 KPH). Thankfully, there was very little flooding here at the Beach. Downtown Jacksonville didn’t fare so well with flood waters from the St. Johns River reaching a record 5.5 feet above normal. Incidentally, the St. Johns is one of the few rivers that flows North instead of South. All in all, we still got lucky with the storm. We only ended up losing power for about 17 hours so, it all worked out fine for us.

To quote Scotty from Star Trek 4, “Computer? Hello Computer.” What I’d like to talk about is the Amazon Echo family, including the Dot. I just bought an Echo recently when the price was almost 50% off. In a word, this thing is great and I highly recommend them.

For those who don’t know, the Amazon Echo is a cylinder 6 to 8 inches tall and 2 to 3 inches in diameter that has a power connection, a volume control on top. The rest is a big speaker that connects through a WIFI connection to your amazon account and, using a voice recognition system, will respond to questions and will do things totally hands free. For example, you can ask it the time and it will respond just as if you asked a person. The only downside that I’ve seen is that “programming” in new skills, which is what the added features are called, is best accomplished through the Alexa app on one’s Smartphone. This is not to say that you must have one. There is a website,, that you can go to to accomplish the same things as the Alexa app. In addition, there is also the Amazon Alexa support line, which is reached by calling 1-877-275-9365. The folks there are more than happy to help.

I have just scratched the surface of what Alexa, as the Echo is colloquially known, will do and that’s quite a lot. There are services that you can enable for a small monthly fee to do all kinds of things. I have Amazon Music Unlimited enabled, it costs 3 dollars and 99 cents a month with the first month free. So, that Alexa can play just about any kind of music I want. In case you’re wondering, yes, the speaker is a good one and is good enough to play music. In fact, I’d put it close to the quality that’s in our Digital Players from the Library; we all know how good they are.

In addition to the Echo, there is also the Dot. The only real differences are size and, as I understand it, the speaker is not quite, and I’m talking small degrees here, as good as the Echo. However, capability wise, it’ll do just about anything the Echo will do.

One other note about its capabilities, I’m given to understand that, if one uses a cell phone, you can route calls through Alexa as well with hands free convenience. This is in addition to a lot of other things it will do completely by voice. In fact, there are a couple of games I like to play. Those are Jeopardy and Song Quiz. The Jeopardy game asks a sixth question from the first round of that day’s program. It scores you just like in Jeopardy and you are ranked against other players all throughout the country on both a daily and weekly basis. Song Quiz pits you against players around the country, identifying songs from a decade you choose from 1960 to the current decade. There are many other games as well.

As far as information is concerned, it’s not quite Star Trek, but it’s close. I’ve asked it questions and it will either give me the answer or say it doesn’t know. As an example, my nephew and I were talking and wondering what Florida county a particular town was in. So, I asked Alexa and she told me right away.

Anyway, I can see real advantages with this for, not just people like us, but everybody. I especially think it would be helpful for those with a physical disability and/or those who might have trouble with technology. Setup was really easy and even though power has been lost several times since she was setup, it comes right back up when power is restored with no user assistance needed. The same thing happens if, for whatever reason, she loses the Internet connection. I’ve had that happen once or twice and, each time, she’s automatically retried the connection and gone back to normal operation with no assistance from me.

I’m sure a number of you already have one of these wonderful gadgets, but I wanted to make sure we were all aware of it. As always, if you have any questions or topic ideas, please send me an Email at my address at the top of this article. I’ll see about answering questions as soon as I can. If it seems like it’s taking a while, please know that I’m fighting between Fusion, Zoomtext and JAWS together, and Outlook 2010. It appears to be a Fusion issue but the people I need to talk to are located in Southwest Florida and they are requesting only calls for urgent matters due to Hurricane Irma. I’m sure that, once I speak with them, we can get it straightened out relatively quickly. In the meantime, Happy Computing!

The Rotating Trio: EyeShare

By Russ Davis
It’s Not Always About Blindness
Before sitting down to write for The Blind Perspective every three months, I often take the time to review my previous submissions. I find this practice to be useful on many fronts. It helps prevent me from being too repetitive, and many times previous articles provide me with ideas for my new work that had not occurred to me before. A consistent thread running through many of my articles dealt with traveling, and meeting people, (both in large and small settings). It was no big surprise that those pieces about human interaction and travel woundd themselves around the fact that I was blind, after-all, I was giving my own “blind perspective” and the title of this newsletter would lead anyone seeing it’s masthead to expect as much. However, with my customary article preparation homework behind me, and with thoughts of some recent current events fresh in my mind, it occurred to me that not everything in my life must necessarily be connected to my vision issues.

Again, it might seem odd that an article in a blindness related publication, written by a blind person and read mostly by blind people would actually take the approach of, “it’s not always about blindness”, but that is indeed what is on my mind.

I realized just how easy it was for me to go through my life, moment by moment, day by day, and year by year with thoughts of my vision, (or lack thereof), having a direct impact on each and everything I do. Even with a positive attitude that challenges can be conquered and hurdles overcome, there is still that connection to “blindness”. I realized after some deep reflection that blindness wasn’t the whole of my existence.

My earlier reference to a recent current event was specifically about my experiences with hurricane Irma. I have been a Floridian for the vast majority of my life, and with that have weathered numerous hurricanes, (oh my, what a horrible pun….forgive me…if only I could blame that on my blindness). It has been a little out of the ordinary, but I’ve been able to put my hurricane survival skills to work for two consecutive years. This year’s storm only forced me to deal with a lack of power for two days. During that time, (and the days surrounding it), I found myself helping neighbors, and receiving the blessings of their own generosity towards me. At some point during all of the upheaval it struck me, “what is going on here has nothing to do with my eyesight, it has to do with living a normal live, just like everyone else.

I then began to think of what other parts of my life, past and present are not actually connected to my blindness, and the list grew so large, so quickly, that I realized I could never completely corral it. The list ran the gambit from personal relationships, to spiritual beliefs, to political views, to what were my favorite sports teams. Even my preferences on reading and music really aren’t associated with vision issues. I thought about some particular personal relationships, and how if others see me as an inspiration based on what I accomplish as a “blind person”, it isn’t really actually about that at all. It’s really about what is in my heart, and what makes up my spirit.

Sure, we all use techniques, and devices to allow us to more easily accomplish tasks, and to reach our goals, but in the end, we would succeed or fail at those goals and tasks, whether we had perfect vision or not. For me, it feels somewhat liberating to realize that I can choose to focus on life as it is, with its peaks, valleys, unexpected detours, and mundane straightaways, and leave blindness out of the equation.

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine

Here is a recipe from Pamela who lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The province of Nova Scotia is in the eastern part of Canada.

Canada is rather well-known for its seafood, and the most valuable Canadian seafood export is lobster. Eastern Canada’s offshore lobster fishery is one of the best-managed, sustainable fisheries in the world.

Recipe: Healthy Lobster Roll
Servings: 4

2 Tbsp low-fat olive oil mayonnaise
2 Tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 scallion or green onion, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
12 oz cooked and chilled lobster meat, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 whole-wheat top-cut hot dog buns

In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, yogurt, scallion, lemon juice and dill.
With a rubber spatula, fold in lobster and season with salt and pepper.
Cover and refrigerate until needed. (NOTE: Mixture may be prepared in advance and refrigerated overnight.)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place buns on a baking sheet and toast for 4 to 6 minutes or until light golden brown.
Scoop lobster mixture into buns, dividing evenly.
Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:
Serving Size: 1 roll and 1/2 cup lobster mixture
Calories: 226, Carbohydrate Content: 25 g, Cholesterol Content: 61 mg, Fat Content: 4.5 g, Fiber Content: 3 g, Protein Content: 22 g.
Bonus: Ounce for ounce, lobster is lower in fat and calories than boneless, skinless chicken breast (90 calories versus 160 calories in a 3 1/2-oz serving). Better yet, lobster is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help to lower cholesterol and may reduce your risk of heart disease.

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart


How do you make the number one disappear?

Answer to September’s riddle:
We see it once in a year, twice in a week, and never in a day. What is it?
The letter e

Brain Buster

On the Double
Take the word sure. If we asked you to add two pairs of doubled letters to it to make an eight letter word, you would add P’s and s’s to make the word suppress. Can you add two pairs of doubled letters to the word RATE, to make a common eight letter word?

Answers to September’s brain buster:
Double abbreviations
*AC; air conditioning & alternating current
*PC; personal computer & politically correct
*MP; military police & member of parliament
*BC; before Christ & British Columbia
*PR; public relations and Puerto Rico
*OT; occupational therapy & old testament
*ERA; equal rights amendment & earned run average

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