theblindperspective TheBlind Perspective December Issue #Author’sCorner

theblindperspective TheBlind Perspective December Issue #Author’sCorner

Welcome to The Blind Perspective

December 2020
Volume 6 Issue 12

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Movers & Shakers
International Perspective
Exercise, does a body good
Have I Got A Story For You
Kaleidoscope of Krafts
Spencer’s Spotlight
Computer Tech101
A Time to Plant
Seeing the World Differently
Dirty Work
The Beauty Parlor
Cooking Concoctions
Riddle & Brain Buster


The Blind Perspective Newsletter has been produced in such a manner that makes it easier to stroll through the articles. If you are using JAWS, System Access, or NVDA, press the letter H to move through the headings. If you are wanting to skip back simply press the shift key + the letter H. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H and to go backwards through the articles press Control Option Command shift plus the letter H. If one of the links do not work for you just copy and paste it in to your browser and it should work.

Greetings from the Editor

By Karen Santiago

Welcome readers to our December issue,
With this being the final month of 2020, it also marks the final edition of The Blind Perspective that I will be writing and editing. I realize that I will not be able to devote the time and energy to sustain a quality publication, as I have other things in my life that need my focus and attention. It has been a wonderful six year run, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. And, as I have stated numerous times, it has been the collaboration with all the great writers that have made The Blind Perspective such a valuable resource for the blind community. One last time, thank you writers for all of your time, energy, and devotion you put in your articles to make The Blind Perspective informative and entertaining! Thank you Teddy for creating The Blind Perspective in an audio format. And last, but not least, thank you Eric for uploading the newsletter on the website,!

But wait! The Blind Perspective is not going away. One of the newest writers, Tonya and her husband, Ben have graciously accepted the role of editing, so you will continue to receive this monthly newsletter. Thank you Tonya and Ben.

As you will read below, some of the writers have decided to stay on, while others have not. So, I am asking on Tonya’s behalf, if you are interested in writing for The Blind Perspective please email Tonya at:

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

At A Glance: Research, Sierra Leone, Yoga, So Long, Beads, Mom Says, Kiss, Fermentation, Favorites, Drawers, Feel Good, Mexican Seashells, Riddle & Brain Buster!

Movers & Shakers

By Karen Santiago

Please read the below email I received from Raeda Anderson, Ph.D.

I am a Research Scientist at the V. Crawford Research Institute at Shepherd Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Shepherd Center is a top 10 rehabilitation facility in the nation and our research institute studies a range of topic areas, including technology research for people with disabilities.

I work with the Accessibility User Research Collective, AURC, which is a self-selected group of people with disabilities to do research at Microsoft for usability of products like Xbox, LinkedIn, and PowerPoint. Like all universities, we have a rigorous Institutional Review Board, IRB, and all our researchers have completed ethical research training. To date, the technology research has conducted studies for Microsoft for three years and over 75 studies.

Given that you are with the Blind Perspective Newsletter, I wanted to reach out to you about passing along the AURC to anyone whom may be interested in being part of paid research to improve accessibility with Microsoft technology. The process to join the AURC is simple, people with disabilities complete a member form (link below) and we reach out to people who meet the qualifications for studies. The studies are typically a survey or interview and have a 50 dollar per hour stipend for participation.

Shepherd Center:


AURC Member Form:

Editor’s Note: I completed the member form quite some time ago, and I have been involved in a number of research studies since then. I urge you to sign up because providing valuable information to Microsoft can possibly make things a bit easier for the blind community.

International Perspective

The Sierra Leone Perspective. Services for the Blind in Sierra Leone
By Frederick J. M. Kamara

Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa. It shares boundaries with the Republic of Guinea on the north and Liberia on the east. It is bounded on the south and west by the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone is about twenty-eight thousand square miles in size and has a population of about seven million people.

The number of blind people in Sierra Leone is not known. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) estimates and the current population of the country, however, it may be safe to assume that there are at least seventy thousand blind people there.

Disability issues in Sierra Leone started gaining attention in the early 1950s. The influence came from the then British Empire Society for the Blind, an organization that was founded in the 1940s by a blind British gentleman, Sir John Wilson who went blind when he was just thirteen years old, through an accident in a chemistry lab. He later entered Oxford University, UK, from where he obtained a law degree. Sir John then decided to found an organization that would help improve the lives of blind people throughout the world through education, rehabilitation, training and employment. Sierra Leone became a partner and beneficiary of Sir John’s vision.

In 1951, through the influence of his organization which later became known as the Royal Commonwealth Society for the Blind, now Sightsavers International, and the efforts of some members of the then Colonial Administration, some members of the British business community and a few well-meaning Sierra Leoneans, a Blind Welfare Committee was established that later became known as The Sierra Leone Blind Welfare Society (SLBWS).

In 1956, the Society established the first school for blind children in Sierra Leone. It was housed in rented property in the west end of Freetown. The school started with three pupils. The first was a girl, emma, the second was a boy (my humble self), and the third was another boy, Moses (now of blessed memory). A year later, the school had grown to nine and by early 1959, the number had grown to seventeen.
It was a fully residential facility, with a young lady, Miss Wilhelmina Johnson (later Mrs. Longdon) as both teacher and head of the institution, and another young lady, Mrs. Eugenia Garrick, as matron. Miss Johnson got married toward the end of 1958 and left for Ghana.

In January 1959, a young blind gentloman, Samuel Fortunatus Bradford Campbell who had received teacher training in Ghana and had just returned home, took over from Mrs. Longdon as teacher and head of the institution. He was just twenty-two years old. One of the first things Sam Campbell did was to create a choir. Sam Campbell, as he was commonly known, was a self-taught musician who could play the piano and the organ very well. He also composed many wonderful musical pieces, including some wonderful choral pieces. By the end of 1959, the fame of the school’s choir started spreading all over the place. As the number of pupils increased, so did the strength of the choir grow.

Sam Campbell also developed the academic strength of the school. In September 1963, the three of us who were the first pupils of the school were integrated into ordinary secondary (high) schools in Freetown where we performed very well. I, for instance, was promoted from form 1 (equivalent to 8th grade) to form 3 (equivalent to 10th grade) just after six weeks in secondary school, as a result of the preparation I had received at the school for the blind.
After graduating from high school I entered the University of Sierra Leone where I was the first blind undergraduate. After I graduated from the university four years later, I secured employment in the then Ministry of Social Welfare as SOCIAL Development Officer (SDO) in charge of a newly established office, with responsibility for the rehabilitation and job placement of the handicapped (the disabled). I rose to the highest professional position of the Ministry as professional head, thus becoming the country’s first blind senior civil servant.

Toward the end of 1969, the late Dr. Isabelle Grant who was treasurer of the then International Federation of the Blind (IFB) and a member of the Executive Board of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) of the US, made a stop-over visit to Sierra Leone on her way back to the US from a meeting of the IFB in West Africa.
Dr. Grant’s visit had a great impact on me and my friends. It sowed and helped to nurture the seed that subsequently germinated into what became known as the Sierra Leone Association of the Blind (SLAB). It has since become a huge tree, with branches all over the country.

By the end of 1974, there was already a good number of blind youths who could handle their own affairs reasonably well. At the same time, a number of ex-pupils of the school got together and formed the Ex-Pupils’ Association.

By the mid 1980s a couple of ex-pupils of the Milton Margai School for the Blind had started schools for blind children in different parts of the country. The first one was started by a young man called Aruna Jalloh in Kabala, in the in the Koinadugu District, northern Sierra Leone. It was simply called the Kabala School for the Blind.
The second was started by a young lady, Alice Koroma, in Makeni, the headquarter of the Bombali District and capital of the Northern Region. It was called the Bombali school for the Blind, named after the district in which it was located.
The third was started in Koidu in the Kono District, Eastern Region, by a young man called Tamba Matthew Teh who named it as the Kono School for the blind.
The fourth was started by a group of ex-pupils of the Milton Margai School for the Blind in Bo, the capital of the Southern region and named it the Saint Paul’s School for the Blind, because it was mainly supported by the Catholic Mission.
It is worth noting that all these schools were (and still are) mostly privately funded with resources donated by empathetic individuals, charitable organizations, religious bodies, members of their local communities and very little subvention from Government. As such, they are all struggling to survive. In spite of the huge financial and other problems they face, however, they are still striving to provide education for blind children in their respective areas.

Up to 1970, no concerted effort had been made towards the rehabilitation and training of blind adults. In the bid to address this gap, the RCSB partnered with the then Ministry of Social Welfare and Rural Development to establish a project that became known as the Farmcraft Center for the Blind. It was located in the outskirts of Kenema, the capital of the Eastern Region. It was in a rural setting, since its main purpose was to train blind male adults in agricultural and other manual skills such as handicraft, basket making, weaving, cane work, etc. The project was under the supervision of the Social Development Officer (SDO) in charge of the region.

I proposed linking it direct to my office and to have it serve as a pilot project that would be replicated in other parts of the country.
I further proposed setting up an outlet in Freetown for the sale of produce and handicraft produced at the center. In that regard, I went to the extent of preparing a room at the bottom floor of the Community Center (the building where my office was located) to serve as the store and showroom for the project, since that building was centrally located.
Unfortunately, my proposals received a rather lukewarm response from my bosses. They did not seem to share my enthusiasm. I discussed it with the gentleman who represented RCSB in Sierra Leone at the time, but he did not seem enthused either. That just dampened my zeal. Besides, it was perfectly obvious that the Sierra Leone Government would not be in a position to provide funding for that project, as such a project was not on their priority list.

After it adopted the new name of Sightsavers in the mid 1980s, the RCSB (now Sightsa"ers) thenceforth laid more emphases primarily on supporting blindness prevention work throughout the world. This seriously affected its support to the Farmcraft Center project, as a new secretariat was set up specifically to address its new focus, namely, the prevention and cure of blindness.
An opthalmologist was appointed as national director. Units were set up in different parts of the country, especially in areas where the incidence of onchocerciasis (river blindness) was very high. The head office was established in Freetown while a second office was based in Bo, the country’s second largest city. That project continues to operate effectively.

With the loss of financial and material support from both the Sierra Leone Government and Sightsavers, the Farmcraft Center ceased to operate the way it had been expected and was eventually taken over by a group of blind persons who turned it into a kind of private vocational center and changed its name to the Kenema School for the Blind. The last time I visited that institution toward the end of 2017, I found it in a very sad state, with crumbling infrastructure and hardly any activity.

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely

Welcome to December 2020 issue of An Exercise Does A Body Good.
Earlier in the year I wrote about Power Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga. I wrote about the Sun Salutation A and B. The Sun Salutation as you recall, are the warm up of Power Yoga. In this issue I will introduce the Standing Sequence to Power Yoga. There are 9 different standing poses, asana. In this article I will describe 3 Standing Sequence to Power Yoga.

What are the benefits of doing the Standing Sequence?
It works your standing, your flexibility, works your self-awareness in where your body in space, works your endurance and works your breathing. Remember in Power Yoga, you are breathing through your nose. In other words, inhale and exhale through your nose, and no mouth breathing.

In the standing sequence our balance is challenged and the understanding of how to work with the forces of gravity is developed. In all asanas there is a point of equality of opposition in which we may find the greatest sense of stability and comfort. This point may be discovered in the simultaneous rooting and rising energies within the body. In the standing sequence the feet are the roots of our body which reach far down into the earth in order to gain a stable foundation. From this base we may then grow and expand, lifting and lengthening into each asana. The soles of the feet become our connection with the earth. We must learn to feel that contact point. The triangle formed between the balls of the feet and the center of the heel is the region which we will draw upon for stability. From here the energy may rise up the legs and spread throughout the body. Be aware that over emphasis upon the lifting qualities of an asana will weaken the foundation and stability will become diminished. With an over-compensation of the rooting quality we will find it increasingly difficult to keep the body erect and lightness will be hindered.

Ideally, we must seek a balance between these two forces in order to feel free in our expression of yoga. The practice of yoga is a perfect arena to explore the dynamics of balance in all things. Balance is more than just not falling over. It is the learning of an internal composure which translates into self-awareness. This internalization of understanding is an invaluable tool. It is not the external appearance of an asana that matters, but rather the internal level of balance achieved on both a physical and mental plane. The standing sequence is a laboratory to explore the physics of balance as understood on both the gross and subtle realms.

Equipment needed: A sticky yoga mat. Wear loose fitting shorts, or yoga shorts, along with either a t shirt or tank top. No shoes or socks, just your bare feet.

Standing posture #1 part A:
Mat position: Stand at the top or front of your yoga mat.

1. Jump or step your feet to a hip-width distance apart.
2. Exhale. Place your hands on your waist.
3. Inhale as you lift your gaze to the sky, and open your chest while keeping the shoulders back. (Do not collapse in the lower hack).
4. Exhale. Fold forward and clasp the big toes with thumb and two fingers of each hand or take the hands behind the legs. Another option is to rest the hands on the ankles with the knees bent and the ribs touching the thighs.
5. Inhale. Look to the horizon and lengthen the spine.
6. Exhale while moving into whichever phase is most appropriate for you. Avoid rounding the back. Keep the neck long. Remain Here For 5 Deep Breaths.
7. Inhale. Lengthen the spine as you gaze to the horizon. Enter the Next Asana or pose From Here.

comments: In all folding postures, it is important to lengthen your spine and neck. If you feel discomfort in an asana, then return to your breath. Never sacrifice the breath to achieve an asana, or a pose.

Part B:
1. Exhale and place hands under your feet with palms facing up and toes touching hands and wrist. If this is too extreme then use only the fingers under your feet. Or bend your knees bringing ribs onto the thighs. You may also repeat one of the options from the previous posture.
2. Inhale. Look up and lengthen the spine.
3. Exhale. Fold forward. Remain Here For 5 Deep Breaths.
4. Inhale. Lengthen the spine as you gaze to the horizon.
5. Exhale. Bring your hands to your waist with a flat back and legs straight. If that is too intense, then bend your knees slightly.
6. Inhale up to a standing position.
7. Exhale. Hop or step your feet together facing the front or top of the mat again.

Standing posture #2:
Mat position: From the top of your mat, you will move to the long side of your yoga mat.

1. Jump or step your feet apart, about one leg length apart.
2. Turn your left foot inwards toward the right, quarter turn the right foot towards the right. Your hands should be at your shoulder height , looking like the letter T. Right hand and foot should be pointing towards the right.
3. Take your right 2 fingers and grasp your right big toe.
4. turn your head towards your left and point your left arm and hand up towards the sky and hold for 5 deep breath.
5. Inhale. Come up slowly. Turn your feet parallel to each other.
6. exhale. Lower to the left side , like you did on your right side. Remain Here for Five Deep Breaths.
7. Inhale. Come up slowly. Turn your feet parallel to each other with arms outstretch laterally and head facing forward.

The Next Asana from Here.
In standing posture #2 you should look like the letter T but crooked, with right fingers grasping right big toe with arms straight, left arm and hand point towards the sky along with your nose and head pointing towards the sky.

Standing Posture #3.
Mat position: You should be still on the long side of your yoga mat, with feet parallel and one leg apart, arms outstretch laterally and face facing forward.

1. Exhale. Turn your head to the right pointing in the same direction as your right hand. Turn the right toes in until the foot is at a forty-five-degree angle. Square your hips to the right and move the arms around like a windmill. Place the left hand on the floor outside the right foot and press it into the floor. If you are unable to reach the floor with the left hand, then rest it on your shin or take both hands on the right shin. Broaden the shoulders. Move the right hip back and the left hip forward so that they are aligned. Keep both legs active. Keep the spine long as you rotate the torso. Gaze at the right thumb. Remain Here for Five Deep Breaths.
2. Inhale. Come up slowly. Turn your feet parallel.
3. Exhale. Lower into the other side as you did in #1. Remain Here for Five Deep Breaths.
4. Inhale. Come up slowly. Turn your feet parallel.
5. Exhale. Jump or step your feet together facing the front again.

These are the first 3 Standing Postures to Ashtanga or Power Yoga. And, there are 6 more to complete the Standing Sequence to Power Yoga. There are books with step by step instructions, such as Power Yoga: The Total Strength and Flexibility Workout by Beryl e Bender, and Ashtanga Yoga: The Practice Manual by David Swenson. There are many books out there, and videos on YouTube, so check them out!

Health Tip For Life:
Make that body sweat, it helps that body to be detoxified.
Raised that heart rate up, the heart is meant to be pumped.
Strengthen that body, the muscles are meant to be strong.
Used your brain, it is meant to be a creative one.

I want to thank Karen Santiago for her dedication and hard work on getting The Blind Perspective newsletter out there every month. I want to thank Teddy and Eric in helping Karen getting the newsletter out in audio format and on the website respectively. I want to thank the writers who dedicated their time and effort in getting their article out. And lastly, I want to thank you the readers of this newsletter, without you, who would we write for.
This will be my last article for the Blind Perspective. I had a good time writing for you the readers. So long people, and remember Exercise really really Does A Body Good!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton

Greetings Beautiful, Blind Perspective Book People, Wow! 2020 has been quite a year! We’ve experienced so many changes and have adapted in ways I never thought possible. Here’s 1 more change, I’m saying goodbye to this beloved newsletter. It’s just time for me. You will never know what a life changing event this has been. To be a part of the start of Karen’s dream was a wonderful ride. But, it’s time for me to get off the ride and let somebody else share their love of books with all of us. I’ll still be subscribed to the newsletter and support it in every way possible. Karen, thank you so much for asking me to be a part of your team. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for all of us. Happy Reading, Carla jo.

Kaleidoscope of Krafts

By Lindy van der Merwe

Welcome to all to this month’s Kaleidoscope of Crafts. A reader recently wrote to ask about weaving with beads. I was not able to find out much about using looms and beads, but thought to share a project that I am sure would be easy enough for beginners to try.

First, here are some general tips when working with beads:
If you still have some sight, use good lighting and a magnifier if necessary.
Choose beads that are large enough with colors and textures that are not too similar.
Mark your bead containers in large print or braille.
Use a non-slip tray with slightly raised sides so you can work in a confined area.
There are lots of beading patterns and tutorials in books and on-line, but not all are equally accessible, but don’t let this stop you from trying out this craft. It can be a lot of fun to choose and make up your own beading projects.
If you can, visit a craft shop with a friend or family member, so you can investigate the beads and cords that are available.
Combine beading with macrame and other knotting techniques.
beads can also be used in knitting and crocheted items and with fabric creations.

For this project All you will need is some cord that is of medium thickness. Try to use cord that feels soft and silky to the touch, e.g. leather, wax cotton or silk. You can use any color that you think will fit with your beads. I often use colors such as a light brown or beige for my cord since it is neutral enough to fit with different outfits, but it is up to you.
You will need a long piece of cord of about 24 inches (60 cm) and a shorter piece of 12 inches (30 cm). If the length seems long, you can always shorten it after your project is done.

You will also need 8 wooden beads with holes large enough so two cords can pass through them as well as a large matching wooden pendant.
The pendant ideally will need to have a ring or large hole at its top, so that you can attach it with a larkshead knot.
I used a heart, but you can use anything as long as it will fit with the rest of your beads and the cord you have chosen. This is to ensure that your necklace will look nice as a whole. Of course, you can use whatever you want, e.g. metal charms and metal beads, plastic, crystal, shells, and the list goes on.
If you are unable to find a pendant to serve as a centerpiece, you can also use three beads as an alternative. Slide these beads onto your cord first and secure them at the center with an overhand knot on both sides before continuing with Step 2 below.

Step 1 . Attach your pendant with a larkshead knot.
Fold your cord in half by placing the ends together. Now place the ‘loop’ that has formed just above and behind the ring that is attached to your pendant so a closed space is formed. Pull the ends of your cords up and through the space, securing the larkshead knot.

Step 2. Attach two beads on each side.
Measure with tape or your finger about an inch [3 cm] from the center pendant and tie an overhand knot here. Slide two beads onto your cord and make another overhand knot close to the two beads. Repeat on the other side of the pendant, making sure that your distances are the same on both sides. Don’t pull your knots tight until you are happy with their position. At this point you will have the pendant at the center of your necklace and two beads on each side that are held in place by overhand knots.

Step 3. Making our necklace adjustable.
1. Place your necklace down with the pendant nearest you and form a circle with your cords, by placing the left and right cords parallel to each other with the ends in opposite directions.
2. Take the 12-inch (30 cm) cord and find its center. This will be your working cord that you will use to make a wrap around your necklace cords to make them adjustable.
3. Place the working cord with its center on top of the necklace cords so it lies in a straight line from left to right.
4. Lightly hold all the cords together while gently wrapping the tail of the working cord around them. You will be working from the center towards the right here.
5. Make 5 wraps, going behind and then in front of all the cords.
6. Holding all the wraps together, insert the working cord through the tunnel you just made, from the left and exiting on the right side.
7. Pull both ends of your working cord tight, but not super tight or you won’t be able to move your necklace cords back and forth.
8. End with a small overhand knot and cut the working cord ends if necessary. Secure with a dot of clear glue, taking care not to let glue get onto the rest of the cords.
9. Add two more beads to each end of the necklace cords so your necklace won’t come undone when being adjusted.
10. Secure these once again with an overhand knot and cut extra cord if necessary.

How to tighten and loosen your necklace.
Simply pull on the left and right necklace cords. The beads you have attached in the last step above should help you to locate the cords to pull and will ensure the cords won’t come undone while the wrap you have made with the working cord should stay in place indefinitely.

I hope you will give this necklace a try. If you don’t want to be bothered with the adjustable knot, simply tie an overhand knot to sit behind your neck or use any other type of closure. To hide the overhand knot, you can also simply wrap a matching piece of cord over the knot and secure with some clear glue.
Lastly, use this same technique to make a matching bracelet or you can even make a small bracelet or pendant ring first and then use it as the center piece for your necklace.

Lastly, I’d like to wish all our readers a wonderful festive season and happy crafting.


Spencer’s Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer

Before I get to the heart of this month’s article, I would like to say what an extreme pleasure it has been to write for The Blind Perspective. I leave this chapter of my life knowing I shared a part of myself with each one of you. I wish all the writers and readers all the best for the future. Lat but definitely not least I would like to Thank Karen Santiago for giving me the opportunity to write for such a prestigious publication. You made me look good. Your hard work and dedication are very much appreciated!

Okay, my last article took many directions; would it be a gadget, since this is December, or would it be a gift idea. I struggled with the direction I wanted my last article to go, but ultimately decided on a Facebook post from a friend that won out over all others.

Things your Mother should have, and many probably did tell you.
1. Take your bananas apart when you get home from the store. If you leave them connected at the stem, they ripen faster.
2. Store your open chunks of cheese in aluminum foil. It will stay fresh much much longer and not mold.
3. peppers with 3 bumps on the bottom are sweeter and better for eating. Peppers with four bumps on the bottom are firmer and better for cooking.
4. Add a teaspoon of water when frying ground beef. It will help pull the grease away from the meat while cooking.
5. To really make scrambled eggs or omelets great add a couple of spoonful’s of sour cream, cream cheese, or heavy cream then beat them up.
6. For a cool brownie treat, make brownies as directed, melt Andes Mints in a double boiler and pour over warm brownies. Let set for a wonderful minty frosting.
7. Add garlic immediately to a recipe if you want a light taste of garlic or add it at the end of the recipe if you want a stronger taste of garlic.
8. Leftover Smickers Bars from Halloween make a delicious dessert. Simply chop them up with a food chopper. Peel core and slice a few apples. Place them in a baking dish and sprinkle the chopped candy bars over them. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes Serve alone or with vanilla ice cream. Yummy!
9. Reheat pizza. Preheat Leftover pizza in a nonstick skillet on top of the stove. Set heat to medium low and heat till warm. This keeps the crust crispy. No soggy micro pizza. Also, as a side note, reheating leftover pizza in an air fryer works remarkably well.
10. Easy deviled eggs. Put cooked egg yolks in a zip lock bag, seal and mash till they are all broken up. Add remaining ingredients, reseal and keep mashing it, mixing it up thoroughly. Cut the tip of the bag, squeeze mixture into the egg. No messy clean up, just throw the bag away.
11. Expanding the frosting. When you buy a can of frosting from the store, whip it with your mixer for a few minutes. It will double in size. You get to frost more cake/cupcakes with the same amount. You also eat less calories and sugar per serving.
12. Reheating refrigerated bread. To warm pancakes, biscuits, or muffins that were refrigerated, place them in the microwave with a cup of water. The increased moisture will keep the food moist and help it reheat faster.
13. Newspaper weeds away. Start putting in your plants and work the nutrients into the soil. Put wet newspapers around your plants, overlapping as you go. Cover with mulch and forget about weeds. Weeds will get through some gardening plastics; they will not get through the newspapers.
14. Broken glass. Use a wet cotton ball or q-tip to pick up small chards of glass you cannot see easily.
15. No more mosquitos. Keep a dryer sheet in your pocket, it will keep the mosquitos away.
16. Squirrel away. To keep squirrels from eating your plants, sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper. It does not hurt the plant and the squirrels won’t come near it.
17. Flexible vacuum. To get something out of the heat register or under the refrigerator, put an empty paper towel roll or empty gift wrap roll onto the vacuum. It can be bent and flattened to get into narrow openings.
18. Reducing static cling. Pin a small safety pin to the seam of your slip and you will not have a clingy skirt or dress. Same thing with wearing pants with panty hose. Place a small safety pin in the seam, and guess what, static is gone.
19. Measuring cups. Before you pour sticky substances into a measuring cup, fill with hot water. Dump out the hot water, but don’t dry the cup. Next, add your ingredient such as peanut butter and watch how easily it comes right out. Or, spray the measuring cup or spoon with Pam before using.
20. Foggy windshield. Hate foggy windshields, buy a chalk board eraser and put it in the glove box of the car. When the windows fog, rub with the eraser. Works better than a cloth (great idea for our drivers).
21. Reopening envelopes. If you seal an envelope and then realize you forgot to include something inside, just place your sealed envelope in the freezer for an hour or two, it unseals easily.
22. Conditioner. Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It is cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth. It is also a way to use up conditioner you bought but didn’t like in your hair.
23. Goodbye Fruit flies. To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it half way with apple cider vinegar and two drops of dishwashing liquid and mix well. You will find those flies are drawn to the cup and gone forever.
24. Get rid of ants. Put small piles of cornmeal where you see ants. They eat it, take it home, can’t digest it, so it kills them. It may take a week or so, especially if it rains. It works and you don’t have to worry about small children and pets being harmed.
25. Dryer filter. Even if you are very diligent about cleaning the lint filter in your dryer, it could still be a problem. If you use dryer sheets the waxy buildup can be accumulating on the filter and cause your dryer to overheat. The solution to this is to clean your filter with a toothbrush and hot soapy water every six months.
God bless you all!

Computer Tech101

By Jim Morgan

Hi folks. Before we get started, I have a “Thank You”. As some of you already know, I spent many years as a Computer Support Technician but had to stop due to a combination of my declining vision and the fact that, now, Microsoft Certification is held in much higher esteem than the Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science that I hold. However, I very much enjoy helping people with computers and is why I got started in Technical Support in the first place. Thanks to this segment, I have the opportunity to continue doing what I enjoy and I am very appreciative of all the questions that I receive.

Anyway, that being said, one of the fundamental things I learned during both my training and work experience is what’s known as the KISS principle. For those that don’t know what it is, it stands for “Keep It Simple, Stupid”. What this means is, when troubleshooting a problem, you always start with the simplest solutions first. In that vein, I have three KISS solutions for what, initially, might seem very daunting problems.

The first is something that works not only for a computer, but just about all electronics. It is the simple expedient of powering the device off and on. This, in a lot of cases will clear out temporary settings, as well as memory in the case of a computer or printer, and will, most of the time, set things to rights. I was once waiting for an appointment and they were having trouble with their laser printer. They couldn’t get it set back to the default settings after someone had changed the settings for a “special” job. I suggested they simply shut the printer off and on and try it and it worked just fine. It is absolutely amazing how many seemingly insurmountable problems are taken care of by simply turning the! @#$% thing off.

The Next thing involves our old friend, the DTB Player and Flash Drives. Recently, I was listening to a book on a Flash Drive that is somewhat old. In the middle of the book, it gave me an error and wouldn’t read the Flash Drive properly. Needlesstosay, I was a bit perturbed at this development, but thought, before trashing the Flash Drive and starting over, to turn the Player off and on, as in the above tip. Guess what, it worked just fine from then on. Moral of the story; when your Player starts giving you trouble, try powering it off and on before trying anything more complicated or calling your local Library to get a new player. AS I regularly am, you’ll be surprised how many problems this simple fix will solve.

The last one actually involves the date and time on your computer. Recently, I was having trouble getting E-mail and I couldn’t get to Web Pages I used all the time, such as BARD. The error message mentioned a Security Certificate Error. Needlesstosay, again, I got a bit upset since I thought I was looking at restores and/or reinstallations. However, I thought to check the actual error message and it was trying to tell me that the date and time on my computer didn’t match what was current for my location. I checked the date and time and found that, somehow, the date had reverted to June 6, 2017 and a time of 12:01 AM. So, I corrected the inaccuracy and, lo and behold, everything started working again. I don’t care to think about how many hours having to restore and reinstall would have taken me so I was ecstatic that the problem was a simple one to fix. While, to this day, I have no idea whatsoever how the date and time got screwed up, I now know what to look for should it happen in the future.

In case you need or want to check or change the date and/or time on your computer, you go into the Control Panel from the Start Menu and choose Date and Time. In most cases, you can get there simply by pressing the D key after you get to the Control Panel. It will then tell you the current date, time, and time zone set for your computer. If it’s wrong, you can change it there.

So, there you have it, two, or three, depending on how you look at it, extremely simple solutions that will save you hours of time and frustration. Should you have any questions about the above or some other computer topic, please don’t hesitate to send me a message at the above E-mail Address, which is my personal address, and I will respond, one way or the other, ASAP.
As always, In homage to the spirit of the late, great, Julia Child, Happy Computing!

A Time to Plant

By Sue Brasel

There are two subjects that I have talked about before. One is growing sprouts, the other is fermentation. I would like to encourage you to grow your own food, especially something with a rapid result like sprouts or greens. You will benefit from the nutrition created by fermenting for your health.

Growing sprouts in a jar is a great way to begin a sprouting adventure. To grow these, soak 1 T sprouting seeds, or 2 T dried peas or beans in enough water to fill a quart or liter sized jar half full. Cover your container with a screen or cloth. After soaking for about 8 hours, drain the water off. Keep the jar on its side or at a tilted downward angle to enable more water to drain off. Twice daily, rinse your seeds with water, drain off, then replace the cover. Keep away from direct light. Most seeds, peas or beans will take 1 to 2 weeks to grow big enough so that you can enjoy fresh produce.

Basically, fermentation is a microbial transformation of food. It is a process where bacteria on the food or in the air convert carbohydrates on fruits or vegetables into acids. Most cultures worldwide have been fermenting their local produce for thousands of years. You eat fermented foods when you consume coffee, chocolate, or pickles, even though most people only know of sauerkraut when thinking about a fermented vegetable.

Any edible part of a plant can be fermented. Whole or chopped roots, stems, leaves, or flowers can be used. Most people ferment with sea salt so they can consume added minerals. By mashing cabbage, you might create enough liquid for keeping your produce submerged, otherwise you should have filtered water available.

Fermentation containers usually are glass or ceramic. Avoid using metal vessels because acids created in the fermentation process will form rust. Plastic containers could leach chemicals thereby altering the taste.

Sauerkraut is considered simple to make. Chop washed cabbage with a knife or food processor into uniform sized small pieces. Place cabbage with enough salt to suit your taste buds in a food safe container. Mash and squeeze cabbage until liquid drips from the cabbage, about 5 minutes. Firmly pack into crocks or jars. Cover the cabbage with additional brine if there wasn’t enough already produced. Press a weight over the cabbage to keep it submerged, or have a cabbage leaf from the outside of the cabbage head tucked into the container to hold the chopped cabbage down. A weight over the large leaf also helps to keep the chopped cabbage down. Place your container in a bowl to catch possible liquid overflow during the early stages of fermentation.

To find out if you like homemade sauerkraut, try starting with half of a head of cabbage. A suggested ratio for that amount of cabbage is to use 1 T sea salt.

To ferment sprouts, pack sprouts into a jar, then cover with a brine solution of 1 teaspoon of sea salt for every cup of water you need until the sprouts are covered.

Most people suggest letting fermented foods sit at room temperature for at least 3 days. Check to see if you like the taste at that time. If yes, then refrigerate to drastically slow down the fermentation process. If you want to continue fermenting, pack the contents back down, cover with the weight again, and check in a day or two.

YouTube has videos that explain growing sprouts and those that explain making fermented foods. I think you will find the best of both worlds when you combine the knowledge of each one to make something healthy.

It is now “thyme” for me to check on my ferments. I have joined the fermentation revitalization movement and hope you will to!
I hope you find comfort, joy and peace this holiday season!

Seeing the World Differently

By Lois Strachan

Every now and then someone asks me what my favourite travel destination is. In truth, I have had the opportunity to visit many wonderful places, and have a long list of destinations I still want to explore. So, how does one decide on a favourite?

I know many people do have a favourite place to vacation. Maybe its somewhere that is familiar and so is comfortable for you. Maybe it’s somewhere you’ve visited and the experience was simply extraordinary for you. Or maybe you have a place that is just special to you for any number of reasons.

I usually manage to find something unique and special about every destination I go to. Sometimes it’s the culture of the people I encounter as I explore the sites, restaurants and stores. Or maybe it’s the local cuisine that appeals to me and makes me want to return. Maybe it’s an experience, something I’ve done, that makes the destination a favourite with me. Or maybe the type of vacation just fits in perfectly with what I was looking for at the time.

I could probably make an argument to justify why every single place I’ve been to could count as my favourite. Because there is something special about almost everywhere, I’ve been.

So, when I was interviewed for an accessible travel podcast and was asked to select my favourite travel destination I really struggled to find an answer. Eventually I replied that my favourite destination is probably the one that is still to come. Because that is the place that is full of mystery and is waiting for me to uncover its unique charms. And that’s probably the best answer I could give to that question.

Of course, with the current state of the world, travel still isn’t in my immediate future. But, as I’ve said repeatedly, while I don’t yet feel comfortable jetting off around the world, I know I will eventually do so. And will no doubt discover many new marvelous destinations.

What is your favourite place to vacation? And why do you love it so much? I’d love to hear from you, and maybe you’ll inspire me so much that I’ll add your favourite place onto my list.

In the meantime, I’m afraid I have to say farewell. 2020 has turned out to be surprisingly busy for me, and 2021 looks like it will be as busy, especially with my recently-published book. Sadly, I will no longer be able to continue writing for The Blind Perspective. I have so enjoyed sharing a little about travel over the past three years and thank you for reading and responding to my articles.

If you’d like to find out more about my book, A Different Way of Seeing: A Blind Woman’s Journey of Living an Ordinary Life in an Extraordinary Way, you can find it on Amazon at

To stay in touch with me you can subscribe to my blog on Beyond-Sight

Or find me on Facebook at

Till we meet again, may I wish you a joyful festive season and, wherever your journey takes you, happy travels!

Dirty Work

By Manny Morales

Whether you will be changing seasons from fall to winter or spring to summer, you will undoubtably be changing your clothes selection. So now is the perfect time to clean out your dresser drawers.

Before you begin
Consider the construction:
Solid wood drawers naturally resist liquid saturation and staining and can withstand a heavier cleaning treatment.
Inexpensive drawers made of flimsy material such as particle board need a much lighter touch. Particle board and thin plywood become stained easily, warp, absorb moisture and liquids easily.

Keep These 3 Things in Mind:
1. Use as little liquid as possible.
2. Do not use abrasives, they can scratch the wood finish.
3. Allow the drawers to dry completely after cleaning.

To prepare for cleaning and deodorizing:
1. Remove all items from the drawer(s).
2. If your drawers have liners or paper inserts, remove them before trying to clean them especially if the odor is strong.
3. If the drawer does not have inner liners, first vacuum out crumbs or any debris that has accumulated inside the drawer.
4. Wipe with a clean, damp, soft cloth.

Disinfecting Dresser Drawers:
Borax and vinegar are two great disinfectants because they are effective, natural and inexpensive. Both products will deodorize, kill the bacteria, germs, mold and mildew. Since either is an excellent choice, you can use whichever one you already have on hand.

Borax is a disinfectant, natural deodorizer anti-fungal and insect repellent. Borax is a mold and mildew fungicide which means it kills mold and then also controls it and stops it from returning. Borax is a white chalky mineral that you can find in the cleaning section of the supermarket. Because it’s a mineral, wipe the drawer surfaces thoroughly after cleaning to avoid leaving a white stain or discoloration on the wood.

To use borax:
Thoroughly dissolve 1/4 cup Borax into one quart of warm water; the warmer the water the better.
Use a clean cotton cloth and dip in the solution.
Make sure to wring out excess water as you want the cloth to be damp NOT wet. This is especially important if you are working on a particle board drawer.
Wipe down the whole drawer including sides and bottom.
After disinfecting with the borax solution, follow by thoroughly wiping down the drawer using a clean damp cloth and fresh clean water.
Dry thoroughly and let air out at least overnight.

Vinegar is an acidic, natural deodorizer and absorbs odors by breaking down bacteria. Vinegar is a mild antibacterial as well as an anti-fungal. It kills most molds and mildews and is a natural deodorizer. Vinegar will work well on musty, moldy drawers to remove the odor as well as kill the bacteria. Vinegar does not leave a residue, and the sour smell goes away as it dries.

To use vinegar:
Mix up a solution of two tablespoons vinegar to one quart of warm water.
Use a clean cloth and dampen it with the vinegar solution. Be sure NOT to saturate the cloth especially when using on wooden drawers.
Thoroughly wipe down the inside and outside of the drawer being sure to cover all surfaces.
Dry completely with a towel.
Let sit out overnight to "air out".

Handy Cleaning and Disinfecting Tip:
When using either of the above methods, a great way to ensure success is to do this process on a sunny day. Follow the same steps above and wipe the drawer dry. Place the drawer outside in the sun, and the air and sunlight will dry the drawer quickly, further deodorize and sterilize the drawer.

Odors within drawers:
Darkness, lack of air circulation and being tucked away and out of sight are an ideal environment for odors to develop.
Smelly dresser drawers can be caused by spills, substances transferred from clothing, bacteria, mold, mildew, fungi, and insects.
Bacteria and mold or mildew are the most common cause of odors. It’s easy to clean, disinfect and deodorize the drawers- stopping your odor problem once and for all. No matter what the cause, it’s best to get to work on the problem as soon as it is discovered. The longer an odor problem is present, the longer it will take to remove completely, as the smell – and stain will permeate more deeply into the wood.

Deodorizing Drawers:
After disinfecting, a deodorizer will remove any remaining odors especially moldy-mildew smells that have penetrated the wood. Deodorizing also helps to keep the clothing and other items in the drawer smelling fresh.

Borax is a great deodorizer. If there is any remaining odor after wiping down the drawer using the disinfecting method above, here’s what you do:
1. Sprinkle some borax in the drawer.
2. Shake it around making sure to disperse it fairly evenly.
3. Place the drawer inside a clean large garbage bag and tie or fold over the end. Let sit overnight.
4. Vacuum out the borax after 24 hours.
This should be all you need to totally eliminate any remaining odor.

Baking Soda:
Baking Soda works by neutralizing pH levels and absorbing odor. If there is any odor left after disinfecting and the drawers can remain empty, sprinkle baking soda in the drawers and vacuum them out a few days later.

If you want to keep your drawers smelling fresh and odor-free, place one new box of baking soda in each drawer. Lay the box down and just poke holes in the top for ventilation. This way it does not spill when the drawer is open and closed. Over a period of several weeks any remaining odor should dissipate.

Kitty Litter:
Kitty litter is made of clay, it kills bacteria and traps and absorbs odors. Fill several disposable plastic bowls or empty yogurt containers with kitty litter. I like to place the lids on and poke holes in them to make sure that the litter stays contained. Put one container in each drawer.
Be sure to use cat litter that is unscented. (And be sure to keep drawers closed before your cat realizes you’ve just created a multi-level litter box.) Unlike baking soda, kitty litter will kill bacteria while it absorbs odors. Replace the litter every month or so for continuous bacteria and odor control.

Wrapping Up:
Now that you have nice, clean odor free drawers, you will want to make sure to wash and clean the original contents before returning it to the drawer. This project is well worth it and it will be more pleasant the next time you go to open your drawer, you just need to keep those clothes folded neatly!

As I am running out of things to "clean," it is time for me to say goodbye to The Blind Perspective. I have enjoyed sharing my knowledge of cleaning various items with all of you. I hope that I was able to teach you tips, tricks, and techniques to make cleaning easier. And, as always remember, dirty work is clean fun!

The Beauty Parlor

By Christy Ray

Beauty in a nut shell.

We know that beauty is usually defined as basically what you can see that pleases the eye. That doesn’t work for me. It is a combination of many things. True beauty is inside of us. The way we treat others, the way we act, the way we talk to others, the way we treat ourselves, and the way we talk to ourselves. This to me should be the real definition of “beauty.” In this definition I said the way we treat and talk to ourselves. What does that mean? Let’s dig deep and find out.

Things that can be good for you, make you feel less stress, and feel beautiful all at the same time sounds like a great triple treatment for “ME!” I have a beginning list of things you can do, to help relax you, be calming, that is good for you, that is fun, and can make you feel beautiful too. If you have some others to add that you like, add them. There is no requirement just some tips to do. Of course, anything that does not make you feel good doesn’t work, try something else.

1. Drinking water, this is good for us on the inside and out. It helps keep our skin hydrated and helps with complexion.
2. Get a bit active, fitness is good for the body. A body in motion stays in motion. A short walk a day whatever your body can do. An arm lifts here a stretch there. This can make you feel good.
3. Take a long bath, get your favorite bath balm, bath salts, scented candle or essential oil and relax. (more water for the skin) this can be calming and relaxing good for stress.
4. Get that massage, you’ve been waiting to get a massage and relax those muscles. Take that time for you. This can be relaxing helps with stress.
5. Manicure/pedicure, go get your nails done. Take a friend treat them too. This can make you feel beautiful, can be fun.
6. Put your make up on, even if you have nowhere to go put on a little make up. Just knowing you did it keeps you in practice and you feel good. Can make you feel beautiful.
7. Dress up, this goes with #6 dress up feel good even if you are staying in due to the pandemic. You just might have that zoom holiday call why not dress up if you want to. Can make you feel beautiful.
8. Get your sleep, we have all heard of beauty sleep. Make sure you get yours it’s good for your body and beauty. This is good for you, and good for stress too.

If you do any of these types of things, you’re doing them to make you feel good, beautiful, relieve stress, that is calming, or fun I would love to hear your ideas.
Everyone have a safe and happy holiday!

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine

The below recipe was submitted by our own webmaster, Eric Columb. And, this is an original recipe he created, read what he says about it:
“I just came up with this recipe last month. I was trying to think of something different and here it is. The amounts of cheese in the meat mixture and the cheese sauce is totally up to the individual, depending on how cheesy you like it.”

Mexican Seashells

1 box jumbo shells
1 to 1.5-pound ground beef
1 package Mexican blend cheese
8 ounce pepperjack cheese
2 jars 4-cheese, or any cheese sauce you like
franks red hot or any spicy sauce you like
1 or 2 packets of taco seasoning, depending on how strong you like your meat
lettuce and or tomatoes, or whatever you like on your tacos

Boil shells for about 6 to 8 minutes, just so they are pliable.
Brown ground beef in a deep frying pan, and then drain off grease.
Return frying pan to stove and add 1 to 1.5 cups of water to the pan along with the taco seasoning. Stir occasionally while chopping the beef up to keep it loose.
After about 20 to 25 minutes, or until water has cooked off, then add the Mexican blend cheese and 4 ounces of pepperjack cheese, along with some hot sauce to taste and whatever other toppings you want.
Stir well and let cool a bit.
Preheat oven to 350.
Pour half to 3/4 jar of cheese sauce, depending on size of baking dish, into bottom of baking dish.
Stuff the shells with the taco meat mixture and set into baking dish.
Once full, pour the rest of the cheese sauce over the top of the shells, and sprinkle the remaining pepperjack cheese over the top.
Cover with foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

I like to thank Karen for allowing me to share with you a variety of recipes throughout the past six years. It’s been fun, but now it’s time for someone else to share their recipes with you. May you all have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart

Perspective readers, I have had a great time supplying you with a bunch of riddles and brain busters over the past six years. I hope some made you laugh, and some made you think really hard. It is time for me to bid a farewell to The Blind perspective. May you have a joyous holiday season!


Answer to November’s riddle:
What goes up but never comes down?
Your age.

Brain Buster

Answers to November’s brain buster:
What are the names of two state capitals that end in the letter U? Juneau & Honolulu.
the word you, sounds like the letter U. And it contains the letter U. What two words sound like the letter U but don’t contain that letter? Ewe & yew.
What common four-letter word contains a silent U in the third position? Four.
What common household item has a double, U in its name? Vacuum.
Think of a 10-letter word starting with you that means digging up. You drop the U. And the remaining nine letters will spell a two-word phrase that describes the moon in relation to the Earth. What is it? Unearthing, Near Thing.

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