Welcome to The Blind Perspective

Logo Description: A view from a window with lavender curtains drawn back viewing the snowy peaks of a mountain range. The words ďThe Blind PerspectiveĒ hover above in the sky.
August 2020
Volume 6 Issue 8

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
Spencerís Spotlight
Computer Tech101
A Time to Plant
Seeing the World Differently
Healthy Bites
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 to our August edition of The Blind Perspective, I hope you are all doing well during these uncertain times. As always, this monthís newsletter is chuck full of informative, educational, and entertaining articles.

Be sure to check out the Movers & Shakers as there is some exciting news from two individuals/ organizations we wrote about in the past.

Also, for you Android user, be sure to read the segment of the same name. And, there will be two more articles in this segment in the coming months.

Yes, we have another enlightening International Perspective article you donít want to miss. I am always looking for individuals to either write up their own, or be interviewed for this segment. If interested contact me at: KarenXSantiago@msn.com

New segment coming soon; be sure to read Vickiís introduction to her segment entitled, Healthy Bites. Readers if there is anything you want to learn about health and nutrition, she is the one to ask!

Later this fall we will have a new braille segment, details coming soon.

I am still interested in finding someone to write a segment about using social media. If that is you, contact me at: KarenXsantiago@msn.com

Without further ado, continue on to a jammed packed newsletter.

Remember you can also choose to listen to our audio version of the newsletter, link below:
BlindPerspectiveAugust 20

At A Glance: Extra Extra,Android, Austria, Rebounding, Chilly Escapes, Introduction, Crosswords, Masks, DTB, Moon Garden, Armchair Travels, Introduction, Grills, Nailed, On the Barbie, Riddle & Brain Buster!

Movers & Shakers


You may recall earlier this year we had an article about Rabbi Sarko, below he shares an outreach program that is available for blind/ visually impaired people, no matter where they live.

Congregation Emanu-El Israel (CEI) has developed an outreach initiative that focuses on opportunities for persons who are blind or visually impaired to participate in our Jewish community no matter where they live.

The goal is to create a community that is inclusive of Jewish persons who are blind or visually impaired. CEI goes beyond just providing Friday night services. We offer opportunities to interact and make real connections.

Our initiative currently offers:
Friday night services online Ė attend and participate from home. Assistance will be provided to access prayer books in braille or large print. An online version is also available.
Access to online seminars and educational programs throughout the year.
Access to the Rabbi via phone, email or online conference.
Opportunities to celebrate life cycle events, such as a baby naming, bar/bat mitzvot and funerals.
Religious and Hebrew Education for adults or children, either at our facility or online.
Discussion sessions to learn and share experience with home based religious observances, i.e. Passover Seder, Sukkot, Shabbat.
Monthly online conferences for members to discuss topics specific to their Jewish needs, ex. lighting Shabbat candles.

We invite you to join us at our online Friday night Shabbat Services. They begin at 7:30 pm Eastern time.
For information on how to access the services, please go to: www.ceigreensburg.org
where you will find the login information.
You are also welcome to contact the rabbi by email at: rabbi@cei-greensburg.org
or by phone at 724-963-0789 for any questions you may have or to help you connect.

Here is more exciting news about the North American Association of Blind Sportsmen
Lance Mathena, President, Executive Director, NAABS, Inc.

Our show ďAdaptive Pursuits,Ē is now live on the Sportsman Channel, and we couldnít be more pleased! Every Friday at 7:30 pm on the Sportsman Channel you can tune in to see blind and vision impaired people doing things that most of them only dream of! Adaptive Pursuits is a television show that is done ďBy the blind, for the blind, in the blind.Ē NAABS brings blind/ vision impaired people together to challenge themselves to take on new adventures all over America.

Learn more about NAABS here: www.NAABS.org

Here is a link to watch the first episode: AdaptivePursuits#1


By Casey Mathews

From iPhone to Android: a Week of Interesting Experiences

First off, I am blind and have no light perception. Also, because each Android phone is different, and even the same mottle of Android phone can be configured differently, your experience, if you try this, will be different from mine.

Why Try Android?
Iíd like to give some reasons for trying Android in the first place. Iíd have to say that I wanted to try and push my phone experience a bit. I wanted to see what it was really like to tinker away at my phone and customize it to my liking. I also realized that in many cases now, you can, in fact, turn on TalkBack by holding down the two volume buttons for about four seconds. In the past, I would baulk that this process didnít work well, or at all. Being able to turn on TalkBack independently was a big factor for me. In the end, I was just curious.

Getting Started:
Once I turned on TalkBack, I was presented with a typical phone setup screen. I was easily able to flick left/right, and even type on the keyboard to answer questions and to get connected to Wi-Fi. For the record, I have a Pixel 3a, and chose that phone because I thought it would be easier to get updates to Android OS from Google.

Once setup was done, I was able to transfer contacts from my old iPhone using the app that was suggested by my phone company. This option worked well, and it was a simple process of installing the apps on both phones, scanning a barcode, then choosing what I wanted to transfer. In less than five minutes I had my contacts setup.

TalkBack Tutorial:
This was one of the things I really liked about TalkBack. When you first start TalkBack, you are asked if you want to start the tutorial. The tutorial will walk you through the majority of the gestures you will need to memorize to access parts of the settings for TalkBack, and for interacting with the phone system. Like so many things with Android, some things I really like, and some things really exasperate me. During the tutorial, I discovered that the gestures wereÖ finicky. Sometimes they worked in one shot, and sometimes I needed to try them two or three times. After asking a couple of Android users, it turns out that this is rather common.

Notifications, Action, and Context Menus:
What I like here is that you get plenty of configuration options, but when it comes to dismissing notifications, sometimes the gestures donít work the first time around. This has got to be one of my biggest frustrations. I get a lot of notifications. I also like to do things like open context menus. I can easily add my own gestures, but many times, as I have said, they donít always work the first time around. I hate to compare apples and Androids, but with the iPhone, if I want to clear a notification, itís a simple matter of flicking up, then double tapping. On Android, I set up a gesture to go to the Context menu. Once in the menu, I need to find Dismiss. Assuming that gesture works, itís not too bad. However, many times, the gesture didnít work, so I had to get into the Action menu by flicking up then right (one gesture), then flick to Action, then finally double tap on Dismiss. Within the Notification shade, there are buttons to clear all notifications, and to clear all silent notifications, which can make this process less cumbersome.

Phone Calls:
This next part also really frustrated me. Many times, during a call, TalkBack would begin chattering away. This is because the touch screen thought I was using gestures, so I would end up in the Notification shade, or who knows where else? Yes, you can disable the proximity sensor, but then it makes it more difficult to stop TalkBack from speaking at times.

I also found it frustrating to navigate by headings on the web with TalkBack. This is because TalkBack uses the flick left/right gesture to navigate by your chosen element, such as headings. So, in this example, you would first need to flick up/down to choose heading, then flick left/right to navigate to the desired heading, then again flick up/down to switch back to default or paragraph to begin reading through the text. Itís a lot of fiddling.

Apps are a mixed bag. The really cool thing is that you can set default browsers, chat apps, assistant apps, and more. So, if you wanted to set Firefox as your default browser you could. If you wanted to use Google Voice as your default phone app you could. There are also apps out there on Android that arenít on iPhone and vice versa. I personally love the Overcast podcast player, but itís not on the Play Store. Carrot weather, one of my favorite weather apps, is on the Play Store, but I just didnít like the way it felt to use on the Android.

One other issue is that some phones donít support the apps that you have. As one example, I love the Lookout app by Google. Unfortunately, it is only available on Android at the moment, and many of the phones out there cannot install it, even if you share the link to someone else. Of course, you could sideload it (install it from outside of the Play Store), and that can work, but not always. Speaking of Lookout, this app shines on the android, and was, in fact, one of the deciding factors for me to finally dive into the Android world. I wrote an article on Lookout, so you should check that out for more info. I was easily able to use this app to go through mail, read money, barcodes, and even get an idea of what storefronts I was passing. The app even informed of things like trashcans, tables, and people. You do have to take what Lookout says with a few grains of salt, as the explore mode isnít always accurate.

I also really loved using Googleís recorder app. It is a simple app to use that also transcribes audio to text. You can share the recording as an email attachment, and you not only get an audio file, but also a text file with the transcript. While youíre at it, you should check out my article about the Recorder app, too.

Your Phone:
Microsoft has an app called Your Phone. This allows you to sync notifications and text messages to your PC from your Android phone. I found that the app crashed on the PC on a regular basis. ?? However, when it worked, it worked well, and allowed me to reply back to text messages on my PC if I didnít have my Android at hand.

Other Things I Liked:
Being able to easily load ringtones onto the Android was so much easier than on the iPhoneóno proprietary software required. I found that deleting an audio book on the Android audible app was much easier. I also really liked the ability to get a new launcher. iPhone users can think of a launcher as a home screen. The ability to hang up calls via the power button was nice. Wish I could have answered them the same way. Regarding buttons, there are apps that will allow you to change the function of the buttons on your Android phone. This of course is not allowed on the iPhone. The ability to stop and disable apps that you donít want is nice. Regarding TalkBack, I like the ability to export labels for controls that I have set up.

I also like the ability to scan in Wi-Fi connection info via QR code. iPhones have a similar process, but it requires the person to be in your contacts first.

Casey Mathews is the founder of WebFriendlyHelp.com. Casey provides access technology training and support One-on-One for people who are blind or visually impaired. WebFriendlyHelp also provides various virtual assistant services such as deep research, online, and audio editing.

You can find out more by going to: www.WebFriendlyHelp.com

International Perspective

Austria by Lisa Salihovic

A bit about your country:
Austria is situated in Central Europe. The Summers are hot and the Winters are cold. Springs and Falls are cool and the weather conditions change quickly. There are also many attractions and sights in my country, such as the animal park in SchŲnbrunn, which you can see in Vienna, the big ride park in our capitol, which is called ďiener PraterĒ, the festival of Franz Lehar in the Lehar theater, called ďFranz Lehar FestspieleĒ in Bad Ischl, which is located in the Upper Austrian state. There are more sights and attractions of course. Spa is also very popular in my country and there are many SPA areas and hotels with indoor and outdoor pools, different Saunas and more.

There are residential schools for blind and visually impaired people, but not in all federal States. There is a school in Vienna, in Upper Austria, in Styria and in the Tyrole. These schools include playgrounds, primary schools and secondary schools. There is no high school or Grammar school for blind people in Austria. Of course, there are students who are integrated with other students who donít have any disabilities.

Braille & Mobility:
If you are one of those students who attend those special schools for the blind, which I have just described, then you are indeed taught how to read and write Braille and there are mobility trainers as well. But if you are integrated with other students, who have no disability, which was the fact in my case, the schools get benefits from the state, because they have to get a teacher especially for you. But it also depends on the parents, if they want their blind or visually impaired children to learn how to write and read Braille and then using a computer later, or if they say that their children donít need to know how to use Braille.

In my case my parents wanted me to learn how to use Braille, because they think that I should also be able to read, not being fully depended on the speech of a computer, so that I can really read how words are spelt. When I was able to read and write Braille, I got a computer with a screen reader, I used Virgo, and a Braille display. Now I still use both a Braille display and the speech. The only difference is that I use Jaws now.

Since I have always been integrated with other students in school, I am not sure how it exactly works in those special schools for the blind which I mentioned before. As for me, I participated in sports activities and my special teacher helped me, if I didnít know what to do. When the other classmates played ball games, I went to a separate room and did some workout exercises for my back with my teacher.

For those who want to study at university there are people who prepare all the papers which you canít read for your purpose. Me personally, I think that it depends on the person, if he or she intends to go to university. I had once thought about it, but then I decided to attend courses in the only education center, which provides different educations for blind and visually impaired people, which is called RISS. This education center is situated in Linz, which is the capitol of Upper Austria and the city where I live.

Job Training:
There are job coaches in Austria, who are paid by the state. Yes, they help you find a job and they accompany you to a job interview or to the job center, if you need it. I have not heard of any special job trainings for the blind here, but if you need some info regarding this, I find it best to ask the job coach. We had job training when I attended this secretarial course which the education center RISS provides for visually impaired and blind people. Though, I donít think this is especially for blind people. The job coaches also give information to companies, it the employer has some questions. They are there to coordinate your job as well as to help solving difficulties when you start working in a company.

Technology Assistance:
In Austria you have indeed access to technology programs as well as to smartphones.

Governmental Assistance/ Benefits:
There is an invalidity retirement, unless you are able to work. But it means that there are many editions how and when you get invalidity retirement. For example, letís say you have severe problems with your heart. Then you have to see a specialist, which you have to prove by sending the confirmation of the doctor to the retirement insurance. Before they tell you that they can confirm your invalidity retirement they would rather try to get you back to work, or tell you to go to a clinic to join a rehab programmed. Unless this improves your situation, you might get invalidity retirement. Honestly, it has become hard to get retired, unless you are really severely disabled.

Public Transportation:
It depends on where you live, when you live in a rural area there is not much public transportation provided, which is the reason why I know many blind and visually impaired people who moved to a city.
There are no discounts for blind people in my country when we use public transport. But they arranged some special agreements. When you use the train as a blind or visually impaired person in my country, I am allowed to buy the ticket for the half price, unless there is a person with me who helps me and if I show my license for disabled people. If I take a person with me who can help me, he or she is the person who accompanies me. It means that this person has to help me get a ticket before using the train and it also means that this person, who assists me, goes for free and I get the ticket for the half price. If I go by train on my own without assistance of a person, I can buy the ticket in the train also for the half price.

Regarding the bus I can get a ticket which costs about 14 Euros a month, if I show my license for disabled people. Me personally, I donít belong to those who are mobile, but of course there is access to public transport where I live. Regarding the bus again I have to add that I only know how it works here in Linz, because these arrangements vary depending on where you live. Well, not all buses provide announcements. Again, I have to say, the more rural a place is, the less info you get in a bus. I know it best in Linz of course. So, in this city buses have announcements which say the stops and describe shortly where you could change. When you are standing at a bus stop, there are speeches which tell you where you when the next bus arrives and which bus line it is, as well as delays. There is a tactile field on the floor which tells you that the distance between you and the bus is OK and that you are close to the entrance. In some stations they announce again which bus line it is, if the bus driver activates the speech, when he or she can see a blind person standing there.

Regarding trains, it depends if you catch an old or new model. If the train is old the conductor announces the stations, but honestly, I think that they forget announcing it very often and if you donít know the stations you are sometimes not sure what they have just said. In modern trains there are always announcements which tell you the next stop.

There are tactile lines on the sidewalk, but not everywhere and the bigger the city or place is the more there are. It is the same about traffic lights.

In the public:
In some public buildings you can find Braille when you use the elevator. Honestly, Braille is not much needed here anymore, which I find a pity, because I still find it important to be able to read it. Austria just goes with the time though, which is OK.

There are two Libraries Ė one in Vienna and another one in Graz, where a blind person can borrow books and send them back. And if you need an important paper in Braille, I am sure you can get it, especially when you ask the library in Vienna, because they also used to print books which I needed at school. I know that there are also music notation books and some magazines in Braille.

Reading Service:
I mentioned before that there are two libraries in Austria, where a blind person can get books which are printed in Braille. And yes, there is an audio library as well, which you can find in Vienna. They have all genres and sorts of books, which you can borrow and then send back again.

Blind Services:
Our organization for the blind, which is called blind federation, is spread in each of our federal States in Austria, except of Vienna, the Burgenland and Lower Austria, which is divided into one section. They belong together. All the other federal states have their own organization and a chairman for each as well.

Our blind federation gives information to their members, for example, if you need assistive technology. There is also a shop in their office where you can get different assistive things for your daily life. The blind federation also provide events. There is a Summer party every year, they organize trips in Spring and in Fall. In the Summer they organize a cultural holiday where the members can join. In the house of the blind federation there is a restaurant where we meet very often and exchange information and thoughts about different things. Downstairs you can go bowling, there is a gym in the cellar and a Sauna which we can use every Tuesday.

Final Thoughts:
In general, and according to my personal experience I think that the public view is ignorant. But this is because I think there is always a lack of knowledge between sighted and non-sighted people. The people whom I trust are helpful and honest with me. I think that the government is doing great work when it is about globalization and technology. We are a social state and there is no need to worry needed, unless you find a job, because you will never be left hungry or without a place to live, when you apply for a certain benefit they provide here. The final thing I would like to say goes to everyone, not only to the government. What we could all improve is understanding, our way to listen to others and empathy.

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely

Hello exercise fans to this issue of Exercise Does A Body Good. I received an email from a subscriber wanting me to write about the exercise called Rebounding.

What is rebounding?
Rebounding is a type of aerobic exercise that is performed while jumping on a mini-trampoline. Jumps can be fast or slow, and can be mixed with rest or aerobic stepping. Rebounding can help work the muscles in the legs, increase your endurance, strengthen your bones, and there are numerous other benefits.

Why you should try rebounding:
Rebounding is a low-impact cardiovascular exercise. Itís generally appropriate for people of all ages, from children to older adults.

Additional benefits of rebounding:
Works the abdominal (core), legs, buttock, and deep back muscles.
May stimulate the lymphatic system.
Rebounding may help your body toxins, bacteria, dead cells, and other waste products.
May help improve balance, coordination, and overall motor skills.

This type of exercise may be a good option if you have osteoporosis. As bouncing puts small amounts of pressure on the bones, which helps them grow stronger. According to some reports, bouncing works the muscles of the deep core that help prevent and stabilize hip joints.

Types of exercises you can do on a Rebounder:
ē Warm Up: Begin with a few minutes of easy jumping to warm up your muscles.
ē Basic Jog: A basic jog on the trampoline is a good beginning exercise.
ē Advanced Jog: Once you get the jogging form down, you can move around on the trampoline. .
ē Jumping Jacks.
ē Pelvic Floor Bounce.
ē Interval Training.
ē Weight Training: Add ankle, dumbbells, and/ or wrist weights.

Rebounders come in different sizes, from 24 inches to 56 inches. Their price can range from 70 dollars, up to 600 dollars. But the most important part of the Rebounder is that they come with an adjustable rail. The rail is for safety, stability, and support.

Rebounding can be expensive or inexpensive, depending on what you choose. However, it is something different, and you can do it in the comfort of your home. Lastly, some rebounders can fold up, making it easy to store.

Health Tip: Brushing your tongue.
Brushing your tongue on a regular basis means you can effectively eliminate odor-causing germs that accumulate on the tongue and cause halitosis. It reduces the risk of periodontal disease. Bacteria buildup on your tongue can lead to gum disease and other illnesses that spread throughout the body.

Until next time, happy jumping!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton

Donít Freak Out Beautiful Book People! Itís just August. We are in our triple digit temps here in Texas and with nowhere to go physically, so I bring you 3 stories of escape. Iím fascinated with cold climates. Never living in any of them, I find everything about them intriguing. So, welcome to my chilly run away stories. I hope you like them.
Iíd love to hear what you are reading, just drop me a line at the above email address. Put on your virtual weather clothes and letís go!

Written by Peter Geye
Reading time;7 hours and 46 minutes
Available on CELA in several formats

The two principal stories at play in Wintering are bound together when the elderly, demented Harry Eide escapes his sickbed and vanishes into the forbidding, northernmost wilderness that surrounds the town of Gunflint, Minnesota. Instantly changing the Eide family, and many other lives, forever. He'd done this once before, more than 30 years earlier in 1963, fleeing a crumbling marriage and bringing along Gustav, his 18 year old son, pitching this audacious, potentially fatal scheme. Winter already coming on, in these woods, on these waters. As a reenactment of the ancient voyageurs' journeys of discovery. It's certainly something Gus has never forgotten, nor the Devil's Maw of a river, a variety of beloved, possibly fantastical, maps, the ice floes and waterfalls, neither especially appealing from a canoe, a magnificent bear, the endless portages, a magical abandoned shack, Thanksgiving and Christmas improvised at the far end of the earth, the brutal cold and sheer beauty of it all. And men hunting other men.

Now - with his father pronounced dead. Gus relates their adventure in vivid detail to Berit Lovig, who's spent much of her life waiting for Harry, her passionate conviction finally fulfilled over the last two decades. So a middle aged man rectifying his personal history, an aging lady wrestling with her own and with the entire saga of a town and region they'd helped to form and were in turn relentlessly, unforgettably formed by.

My Comments; Beautiful, harsh, mysterious, deadly are all words I think of when I think of the setting of this book. I loved it. I learned a lot of interesting things. His attention to detail is exceptional.

Deep River Written by Karl Marlantes
reading time; 26 hours and 1 minute
CELA doesnít have this yet

Karl Marlantes's debut novel, Matterhorn, has been hailed as a modern classic of war literature. In his new novel, Deep River, Marlantes turns to another mode of storytelling. The family epic. To craft a stunningly expansive narrative of human suffering, courage, and reinvention. In the early 1900s, as the oppression of Russia's imperial rule takes its toll on Finland, the three Koski siblings. Ilmari, Matti, and the politicized young Aino. Are forced to flee to the United States. Not far from the majestic Columbia River, the siblings settle among other Finns in a logging community in southern Washington, where the first harvesting of the colossal old growth forests begets rapid development, and radical labor movements begin to catch fire. The brothers face the excitement and danger of pioneering this frontier wilderness. Climbing and felling trees one hundred meters high. While Aino, foremost of the book's many strong, independent women, devotes herself to organizing the industry's first unions. As the Koski siblings strive to rebuild lives and families in an America in flux, they also try to hold fast to the traditions of a home they left behind. Layered with fascinating historical detail, this is a novel that breathes deeply of the sun dappled forest and bears witness to the stump ridden fields the loggers, and the first waves of modernity, leave behind. At its heart, Deep River is an ambitious and timely exploration of the place of the individual, and of the immigrant, in an America still in the process of defining its own identity.

My Comments; I read this jewel of a novel some time ago. Iíve been holding on to it for the right time to recommend it. Itís time. The logging industry was unforgiving. Our country started off with gutsy men and women doing jobs we canít even imagine today. This is such a powerful novel, I really canít say enough positive things about it. Donít let the length of the book shy you off. It is fast paced. He is one heck of a writer. Read this one.

Written by Shea Ernshaw
Reading Time: 10 hours and 18 minutes
Yes! itís on CELA

From New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep comes a haunting romance perfect for fans of Practical Magic, where dark fairy tales and enchanted folklore collide after a boy, believed to be missing, emerges from the magical woods. And falls in love with the witch determined to unravel his secrets. Be careful of the dark, dark wood. Especially the woods surrounding the town of Fir Haven. Some say these woods are magical. Haunted, even. Rumored to be a witch, only Nora Walker knows the truth. She and the Walker women before her have always shared a special connection with the woods. And itís this special connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman. The same boy who disappeared from the Camp for Wayward Boys weeks ago. And in the middle of the worst snowstorm in years. He should be dead, but here he is alive, and left in the woods with no memory of the time heíd been missing. But Nora can feel an uneasy shift in the woods at Oliverís presence. And itís not too long after that Nora realizes she has no choice but to unearth the truth behind how the boy she has come to care so deeply about survived his time in the forest, and what led him there in the first place. What Nora doesnít know, though, is that Oliver has secrets of his own. Secrets heíll do anything to keep buried, because as it turns out, he wasnít the only one to have gone missing on that fateful night all those weeks ago.

My comments; Enchanted forest, check. Family of witches, check. Camp for wayward boys, check. Blizzard coming on, check. I was in from the get go. Great twist at the end. Iíll be reading more from this writer.

That wraps up my trio of chilly escape stories. Stay safe fellow book friends, let someone know you are thinking of them. Letís take care of each other. Let me know what you think about any of my book suggestions.
Happy reading,
Carla jo.

Kaleidoscope of Krafts

By Lindy van der Merwe

Hello to all readers. Crossword puzzles may not quite fit into the craft project box, but it could definitely be slotted into the category of hobbies and pastimes for some of us. Although the accessible crossword app from American Printing House for the Blind has been around for a year or two, I only became aware of it recently. As someone who loves word games, I am always looking for new apps to try. Having used this app for a while now, I thought I'd share with readers a little about what it is and how it works.

Although there are at least one other crossword game for Windows-based PCs i.e. Spoonbill Software's BG Crossword Puzzle [see Sources at the end of this article], this web-based app from APH has the advantage of providing one with a way to move across the entire puzzle grid block by block, which, for me at least, lends a holistic view of the puzzle and makes it quite easy and enjoyable to play.

For this article, I would just like to share a quick introduction to the app and my own experience with it. For an in-depth article on the app however, you are welcome to have a look at the review by J.J. Meddaugh that appeared in the May 2020 edition of Access World, where he provides an excellent overview, including an explanation for those that have never done crossword puzzles before. See the first link under Sources below.

I am currently using Google Chrome and NVDA with this app, so if you use other browsers or screen-readers, your experience might be slightly different from mine. The app has been developed to work with various browsers and screen-readers as well as on both the IOS and android platforms, so you might have more than one option to try out for yourself. Not compatible with Internet Explorer.

To start, open your browser and go to: Crossword.APHTech.org

The site or app will open and you can tab or shift-tab to find different sections on the page. The main sections from left to right, are:
1. The options menu.
2. the list of available puzzles.
3. the Across clue list.
4. the actual puzzle grid or table with 15 by 15 blocks.
5. the down clue list.

Keep in mind that within the options and puzzle lists, and the two clue lists, you can move up and down with your arrow keys and enter to choose an option. The standard 15 by 15 puzzle grid has 225 blocks altogether. You can move to any block using your left, right, up and down arrow keys.

When you hear the word "puzzle table", you are within this puzzle grid. As you arrow within the grid, you will either hear the word "cell" or "black space". You will be able to type in letters in any of the "cell" blocks. If you have not done a crossword before, don't be put off by explanations. The best way to find out more is to actually try out the game for yourself. Because this app is fully accessible and presented in an easy-to-understand layout, it should not take you long to figure out how things work.

To solve your very first clue, tab until you hear the word "Across". Press the up arrow to go to the top of the list. When you are ready to provide the answer, simply press enter. You will be taken to the correct block on the puzzle grid to start typing your clue. As you type, your cursor will automatically move across to the next block. Once you have typed in the last letter, press enter again to return to the Across Clue list to find the next clue to solve. For the "Down Clues", follow a similar pattern.

As you now move across and down the puzzle grid, you will be able to hear each letter you have filled in as well as where cells are still open and where the black spaces are within the grid. To help you along, you can check a letter or word or all the answers after you have filled the entire puzzle, or if you like things to be easy, (and let's just mention I like this feature a lot), one of the options while playing this game will let you know if you are providing the right answer for each letter as you type it. To enable this function, simply press the alt-shift-s key combination. Now, when you type in a letter on the grid, you will either hear a ping sound to confirm it is correct, or the unmistakable buzzer sound, letting you know your guess is incorrect. For all the options or keyboard shortcuts and basic help, tab to the options section of the app and find the User Guide menu item, or simply press ctrl-shift-u.

Part of the fun of doing crosswords these days is that we are able to enlist the services of Google to lend a helping hint. Simply typing in the puzzle clue in the search area will likely provide you with more info than you could ever want, which could take you on some interesting web expeditions. However, if you are pressed for time, or just like things to be easy (sure I've written that phrase before), a very helpful site can be found at: www.WordPlays.com

Hint: Bookmark this page and keep it open while solving your puzzles. Once on this page, find the edit box that says "Type Clue Here". Type in the clue and enter. You will now see a list of possibilities to try out as an answer to your puzzle clue.

Apart from the puzzles already on the site, mainly geared towards middle and high school students, one can also download puzzles from various sites on the Internet and these can be loaded from within the app itself. Google can once again help in this regard. Search for files with the .puz extension and you should find various free and paid sources of puzzles. One such site I have used so far is http://www.fleetingimage.com/wij/xyzzy/nyt-links.html Once you have downloaded as many puzzles as you'd like, go back to the Accessible Crossword page [crossword-aphtech.org] and use alt-shift-o to open any of your downloaded puzzles. The specific puzzle will be loaded onto the page for you to start solving.

I hope the above gives you a basic introduction to this unique, free app from American Printing House for the Blind. Apart from being an excellent resource for educational purposes, it provides a level of access to a pastime that many that have access to the printed word has taken for granted. I hope you will give this app a try. Feel free to let us know your experiences and if you know of similar apps, please also share.


Spencer's Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer

First of all, my sincerest apologies for not submitting this note in the July issue as I had intended. I would like to clear up the fact I did not write the article Imagine that appeared in the June issue. I received it via e-mail and as of this writing, have not been able to determine the author of such a brilliant and insightful piece. I received a couple of e-mails regarding that article in which I had intended to reply and somehow ended up deleting them, I assure you quite by mistake. If you send me another e-mail, I promise to take great care in responding.

I never thought we would still be talking about this pandemic well into the summer since the world has been dealing with this since probably before the beginning of this year. Since we are still in sensitive times my subject will focus on a related topic.

Do you wear a mask? Well, in most places throughout the world mask wearing is recommended if not demanded by most places of business. I myself being a robustly healthy individual would rather not wear a mask but, having said that, I will don one out of respect for persons at risk that may be around me.

Things to keep in mind:
Wash mask after use in hot water and dry thoroughly.
Wash hands for 30 seconds prior to putting on and after taking off your mask.
Continue to practice social distancing when wearing a mask.
Make sure it fits snugly but comfortably against the side of your face.
Make sure it covers your mouth and nose.

Donít touch or adjust the mask once it is on your face, this can cause contamination.

Okay, so, what kind of mask should be worn? According to the CDC Center for Disease Control, when it comes to homemade masks, the type of fabric you choose matters. Some materials prevent more infectious particles than others. No matter which fabric you choose, it's better to use more than one layer by doubling up on the fabric. Find out how to wear and clean face masks by following these CDC guidelines.

Wash your mask after every use. A washing machine with standard laundry detergent works great.
While wearing a mask it is important to avoid self contamination, something I have to work on myself.
Remember, your mask could infect you. During "donning and doffing" (putting on and taking off) the mask, there's a danger of self-contamination. Unless you put on and take off the mask safely, your mask could infect you with the coronavirus. You could also contaminate your face or hands if you adjust your cloth (or any) mask. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.

From the CDC:
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice (e.g., while shouting, chanting, or singing). Such as the looters and rioters were doing? These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Note, I suggest not coughing, sneezing, shouting, chanting or singing near anyone.

things to keep in mind is cloth face coverings recommended here are not surgical masks or respirators. Currently, those are critical supplies that should be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

Okay, now for the brighter side, if there can be one, mask wearing has spawned an entire new industry. You have heard the expression there's an ap for that, now there is a mask for that. Designer mask are springing up everywhere. Why wear a plain jane mask when you can be trendy, cool, and whimsical?

If you want to make your own face mask, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there to show you how. Just do a search on Amazon, eBay, or Google, and you will be presented with a wide array of choices in today's mask wearing preferences.

It is my prayer and wish that by next month or in the near future, the mask wearing will be relegated to something we wear only on Halloween.
Until then, please be safe.

Computer Tech101

By Jim Morgan

Hey folks! I hope everyone is staying safe in the wake of COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus. We, here in Florida, now are required to wear masks in places such as the grocery store and such where it was, until recently, only a strong suggestion.

Based on a question I was asked by a friend of mine, I thought weíd talk about the Digital Talking Book Player, otherwise known as the DTB Player, and the formats it will play.

As you may already know, the DTB Player will play, in addition to the specialized format used by The Library of Congress, MP3 and, possibly, M4A files. M4A is the format used by Apple Music and MP3 is the ďuniversalĒ format used for audio files. As I said, the Player will easily play MP3 files; Iím not entirely sure about M4A since I havenít really tried it, but I think itíll work.

The question I got involved having both MP3 files and Talking Books from BARD on the same Flash Drive or Cartridge. Iíll tell you right now that the easiest thing to do is to keep MP3 files and Talking Books on different drives. If this is done, and the Firmware on your Player is reasonably up to date, it will play the files and books with nothing special done by you. I speak from experience on this since I have several Flash Drives with books on them and one Flash Drive with just MP3 files and they both work just fine.

So, you may ask, what happens if you want to put both types on one Drive? The answer is very simple. You need to create a folder on the drive called Audio+Podcasts, or the word ďAudioĒ, the plus symbol, and the word ďPodcastsĒ; all as ďone wordĒ. You then copy the MP3 files into this folder and your books as you normally do. The Player should then have absolutely no difficulty in recognizing the two file formats and handling them appropriately.

As I said, I have a friend that asked me about this and he is using the Audio+Podcasts folder I mentioned and has no difficulties with books and MP3 files being on the same drive. However, as I said above, itís easier, and, I think, a lot cleaner, to keep the two formats separated.

This one is somewhat short and sweet. In fact, I might have already talked about this in the past but I thought it might be helpful to some ďnewĒ folks. As always, I welcome your feedback and questions. If it seems like itís taking a little while for me to answer, please understand that Iíve been a bit under the weather and may be still recovering from an abdominal problem. However, I will endeavor to answer any messages as soon as possible. So, everybody stay safe out there and, as always, Happy Computing!

A Time to Plant

By Sue Brasel

Can you garden in the dark? People with sight want to know! I laughed when I read the question. Those of us with little to no sight know that gardening can be done at any time of day or night! Handle tools with care, keeping safety in mind. Move fingers, toes and clothing away from cutting blades. Gently move your fingers over plants to feel where they are in relation to the soil and other plants. Gardening gloves help lessen the pain of feeling a thorny plant or cactus.

Not only can you work in your garden at night, but some gardens are known as nocturnal gardens. A moon garden is where plants display blooms and/or release their fragrances in the late afternoon and early evening. They also add texture to your setting. These nocturnal plants attract night pollinators like bats and moths, creatures that are active at night.

During the day, night blooming plants add buds and foliage to a display. In the evening, they bloom and release their fragrances. Often a night plant is pale, contrasted against dark foliage, making it more visible in the moon light.

Caring for nocturnal blooming plants is done by considering the sun/shade needs of the plant, the watering needs and the soil needs. Night blooming plants shouldnít be grown in full shade, they need some sunlight.

Some fragrant plants that have a richer scent at night include dianthus and petunias. Four Oíclock and evening primroses are known for their night blooms. Climbing nocturnal plants include star jasmine and moon flowers.

When planning a moon garden, whether it includes one plant or many, keep in mind the containers needed for bringing these plants inside to winter over if they are tender perennials. Find out which plants grow back after dropping seeds in the soil every year for your location. Some seeds should be collected or bought new every year for the following year.

Some plants, like four oíclocks grow by seeds or tubers. When spring time soil warms up, soak the seeds in water overnight, and place in soil the next day, covering each seed with 1/4Ē to 1/2Ē soil. Another way of growing a four oíclock is to get a tuber. Make a hole about 1 foot deep and twice as wide as the tuber. Place the tuber root side down (usually the more pointed end) and fill around it with soil so that the top is covered with about 1Ē of soil. Four oíclocks need 4-6 hours of sunlight per day; they tolerate full sun as well. For the first few weeks, they should be watered daily to establish them. These plants survive mild drought conditions.

When designing your moon garden, consider texture, color and sound. Texture can be added with plants of different shaped leaves. Color can be dramatic with silvery leaves or bright flowers. Sound can come from rustling grasses or wind chimes in the garden. Sound can also come from insects and birds that help pollinate your native plants.

Gardens can be beautiful during the day, but they can also be enchanting at night.

It is now ďthymeĒ for me to enjoy my yellow four oíclocks that occasionally surprise me with a red flower among the blooms!

Seeing the World Differently

By Lois Strachan

Once again, I find myself with the quandary of how to write a travel article when travel is not really happening right now. Perhaps Iím overly cautious, but Iím not yet ready to hop on an airplane and jet off to a foreign destination on vacation. Yet my love of travel is still there.

Since I enjoy Carla Joís book reviews in The Blind Perspective, I started thinking of the ways I use books to feed my love of travel. I used to read books to learn about a travel destination before going there. And, for now, reading is the only way I can experience travel, even if only vicariously.

I have always used books to help me research travel destinations. Iím not only talking about reading travel guides, although they are a good way of discovering what there is to do in a new city or country. But I also dive into fiction books that are set in the places Iím going to visit. That way, I can lose myself in a great story, while learning about the location.

To give you a few examples, before I visited Vienna, in Austria, I read two historical mystery series set there, the Rannoch mysteries by Tracy Grant, and the Viennese Mysteries by J Sydney Jones. And learned about the culture, history, and some of the famous sites of the city.

The same was true of reading the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zaphon, before travelling to Barcelona in Spain. When I arrived there, I already felt I knew a little about the city. And, while Milla 18 by Leon Uris was a sobering read, it helped me understand much of the modern history of the city of Warsaw, in Poland.

Of course, right now armchair travel is by far the safer option for us. Admittedly, reading about other peopleís travels isnít quite the same as being able to travel ourselves, but itís better than nothing.

Interestingly, while I usually use fiction to learn about a place before going there myself, right now Iím enjoying non-fiction travel memoirs. There are lots of great travel writers out there. A few of my favourites include Bill Bryson, Peter Mayle and Tony Hawks. What I enjoy about these travel writers is their ability to transport me to a different place as if I were there myself. Most often their experiences are humorously and well described. They are a great way to while away a few hours, especially in the wet and windy South African winter we are experiencing at the moment.

Iíve also recently discovered some new travel writers Ė Frances Mayes, Zukiswa Wanner, and Tim Severin.

In fact, my latest armchair travel journey was with Tim Severin, when reading his book The Jason Voyage: the Quest for the Golden Fleece, in which he investigated the possibility of the ancient myth of Jason and the Argonautís being based on fact. Not only did the book transport me to Greece, Turkey, and Soviet Georgia of the 1980ís, it also took me back to the 13th Century BCE. While I may not personally wish to row a 54 ft open decked wooden boat on the open sea like Tim Severin and his team did, I found it a riveting read that combined two of my greatest passions, travel and ancient history.

While I know that experiencing travel vicariously through the journeys of others is nowhere near as satisfying as actually going there myself, at least Iím still able to pick up a book and indulge my love of travel in that way.

Of course, I am looking forward to the time that itís safe for me to pack a bag and head off on my own next adventure but, for now, letís try to stay home and stay safe!

Why not mail me with some of your favourite books about travel Ė Iím always keen to discover new books to add to my reading list!

Healthy Bites

By Vicki Wherry

Achieving and maintaining a healthy\ lifestyle requires determination, perseverance and knowledge. Healthy Bites provides the necessary knowledge, you provide the determination and perseverance. My goal is to help you sustain all three.

This month I want to introduce myself and request your assistance.
My name is Vicki Wherry, Vicki W. to some of you. I am a retired registered dietitian enjoying the warmth of a new state and not missing those cold winters one bit.

I began my college career when my youngest of three children began her first grade career. I attended Central Washington University, graduating with a B.S. in food science and clinical nutrition, as well as a minor in psychology. I attended graduate school at the same university, afterwards completing a 14-month dietetic internship through the University of New Hampshire.

I obtained my status as a registered dietitian after taking my national registration exam and began practicing in several areas of nutrition over the next few years.

I owned my owned business, specializing in sports nutrition for a couple of years, worked in out-patient counseling at a local hospital and did private consulting outside of the clinical setting.

My main interests were in sports and pediatric nutrition. I branched out into several other areas, including writing and research which I have settled on since leaving my active work as a dietitian.

And now for your assistance! I will list several areas below and I would appreciate it if you would e-mail me with questions or topic ideas within those areas, things that you would be interested in learning more about. My e-mail address is jawherry@cox.net.

Areas of Interest
1. Food (anything related to a particular food such as history, nutrition, uses, preparation etc.)
2. Herbs and Spices (the same focus as suggested with food)
3. Medical disorders and diseases and their nutritional therapies and treatments
4. Drug/nutrient interactions
5. Vitamins, minerals and supplements (how they work, dangers, benefits, etc.)
6. Nutrition and oral hygiene, skin care and other daily health issues
7. Exercise and nutrition
8. Comparison of various diets
9. Any questions or interests you may have

Until Next time! Healthy eating!

Note: Any materials presented here are not meant for medical advice. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.

Dirty Work

By Manny Morales

I hope you all spruced up your outdoor furniture with the cleaning techniques I wrote about last month. Now it is time to make sure that your grill is nice and clean as well. Be sure to check out Maxineís grilling tips, techniques, and recipes for the grill below.

Note: if you are not comfortable with any of the below steps, please seek sighted assistance.

A clean grill is safer, and looks and works better. And, although I should have submitted this article for the June issue, at the beginning of the summer, its better late than never. So, here is what you should do before beginning each of your grilling season.

Why begin with a thorough cleaning?
While grilling on gas grills, carbon deposits are produced on virtually every surface of your grill, including the grates, hood, interior of the firebox, and flavorizing bars and burner tubes. Those carbon deposits arenít just ugly; grease and sugary sauces can stick to them and harbor bacteria. And excessive carbon buildup can cause the grill to heat unevenly, not reach full operating temperature, and gas-burner tubes to prematurely fail.

Maintenance throughout the grilling season: this will make it easier to clean at the start of each new grilling season.
Use a wire brush to scrub the grill grates clean after every cooking session, and be sure to remove any loose wire-brush bristles before firing up the grill.
If you barbecue frequently, say at least once per week, thoroughly clean the grates every two months. And twice a grilling season, you should give your grill a thorough cleaning, which will help it cook better and last longer.

Cleaning Procedures: for both gas and charcoal grills (the latter just has fewer parts)

Equipment Needed:
A long-handled wire brush, wire bottle brush, five-gallon bucket, and some elbow grease.
Warm water, Dawn dish soap, and a soft paste made of white vinegar and baking soda.
A pair of long-cuffed rubber gloves, a few disposable scouring sponges, several cotton rags, and absorbent micro-fiber towels.
Stainless steel cleaner if your grill has stainless steel exterior surfaces.

Burn It:
To clean a gas grill, start by firing up the grill, closing the hood, and letting it come to full temperature.
Wait at least 30 minutes for the extreme temperature to singe any stuck-on food or grease. Next, dip the wire brush into a bucket of warm, soapy water and scrub off all the carbon from the grates.
Then turn off the gas, and disconnect and remove the propane tank.
Let the grill cool completely.

For charcoal grills, simply dump the old charcoal briquettes into a metal container. Then, scrape away any caked-on charcoal dust and debris with a putty knife.
Warning: If youíre not absolutely positive that the briquettes are completely cold and dead, set them into a bucket of water.

Soak It:
Once the grill is cool, remove all the grates and totally submerge them into a tub of warm, soapy water. Let them soak for at least 30 minutes.
Remove anything else from the grill that you can easily take off, such as burner-control knobs, and grease trays. The burner tubes on most gas grills are removable. Look for a single screw or cotter pin on one end of each tube. Stripping down the grill in this way will make it much easier to clean.

With the grill grates removed, the inside of the firebox is exposed and ready to be cleaned. Start by putting an empty bucket underneath the firebox, directly below the grease tray opening, to catch the soapy water and flushed out debris.
Use a plastic putty knife to scrape off any caked-on gunk from inside the firebox.
Scrub the inside clean, and rinse with a garden hose.

Scrub A DubDub:
After the grates and panels have soaked, take them out and scrub them with the wire brush.
For really stubborn gunk, mix a paste of white vinegar and baking soda and apply it directly to the worst caked-on food bits. Take a large piece of aluminum foil, crumple it up into a ball and then use it to scrub cooking grates clean of baked-on food particles.
Rinse all surfaces clean, making sure to thoroughly dry cast-iron grates to avoid rusting.

Inspect your burners for signs of corrosion or for anything blocking the row of flame-emitting holes. Burner tubes are inviting spots for spiders to lay eggs if your grill goes unused for a while. Take a wire brush and brush back and forth across the row of holes. Then use a wire bottle brush to clean out the inside of each tube.

Wash and Wipe:
Empty the bucket of dirty water, then refill it with clean water and a few squirts of dish soap. Scrub down the entire outside of the grill using a large kitchen sponge.
After washing the outside of the grill, use super absorbent micro-fiber towels to wipe down and dry all surfaces.

Final Touches:
Stainless steel cleaner works great as a final touch, but it shouldn't be used to remove heavy buildup or baked-on gunk. Spray on the cleaner, wait a few minutes, then wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth.
If you donít have stainless steel cleaner, try using undiluted white vinegar; itís also effective for cleaning stainless steel surfaces.

Once the grill is sparkling clean and thoroughly dry, reassemble all the parts you removed, taking care to fix the burner tubes back into place in proper position with cotter pins or screws. And rub cast-iron grill grates with a light coating of vegetable oil.

Finally, reconnect the propane tank, close the hood and fire up the grill; let it heat for at least 15 minutes, then turn it off. This initial firing will help burn off any cleaning residue, season the cast-iron grates, and serve as confirmation that you reassembled everything properly. The only thing left to do is make Maxineís steak kabobs and invite over a few friends!

The Beauty Parlor

By Christy Ray

Nailed it

Nails are always growing and breaking. I feel like for many of us who like to be independent and take care of our own grooming even though we cannot see, it is important. Donít get me wrong, a nice manicure and/ or pedicure is nice to treat yourself to every now and then, but to take care of it on your own feels good.

There are many nail styles; rounded off, squared off, long, mid length, and short nails. The best method I have found that works for me is, starting with the cuticle tool (sharp pointed tool) go around the nail where the nail and the skin (cuticle) meet, pushing gently all the way around the nail.

If you feel the nail is too long or you have a broken/hang nail, use small clippers, as these are made for fingernails. The larger clippers are made to groom toenails. Trim just a little at a time and file the rest to keep it from going in the quick. Because as we all know, that is OUCH! Painful.

Then go on one side of your nail and begin filing. Once you have made it to the other side, start over where you began, continuing going the same direction. If you prefer a square nail, start from one side at the top and go across until it is to your liking. On each side once you have the flat nail across, you can then file the sides smooth too.

Now the fun part! We can add color if we wish. I never realized how many shades of color there are out there, it blew me away! I am still working on a good method to paint my own nails. But for now, I have someone to assist me or I do the best I can. I use nail polish remover to fix the mess ups.

Another thought on nails, I also have to think about my young son. He, of course has nails too! And, if not properly taken care of he can scratch someone or himself. Learning to cut a small childís nails can be very tedious. This is a scary task, but it has to be done. Many times, just grooming his nails regularly will Prevent them from getting long or ragged. To do this, use a wooden file and go in the same direction on each nail continuously in a rounding off motion.

Keep safe and busy!

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine

What have you been cooking up on your grill lately? Below is a list of grilling tips and techniques. Also, there are tips for grilling vegetables, and some kabob recipes.

Tips & Techniques:
Preheat the grill to a constant temperature before placing your skewers on it, usually 375 is great.
Cut your meats and veggies in similar shape and size so they cook evenly.
Cut your meats and veggies bigger than the space between the grills, so they donít fall through.
Be sure to soak your wooden skewers in cold water for at least 30 minutes beforehand to prevent burning them.
Brush your kabob pieces with olive or vegetable oil before placing them on the grill.
Since you are turning your meats and vegetables, remember to leave the skewers about the same time on the grill for each side.
Cooking times: meats will take 12-15 minutes total, fish about 10 and veggies about 8-10 depending on thickness.

Grilling Vegetables:
Corn on the cob: soak corn husks for at least 30minutes and place the whole thing on the grill, husks and all.

Eggplant: cut eggplant lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch wedges. Brush them with olive oil and seasonings like basil, thyme, or oregano. Place on grill cut side down and grill over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes until they are golden brown. Flip over to the other side for an additional 5-6 minutes.

Bell peppers: use all the different colors (green, red, yellow, & orange) as they all have a taste of their own. Slice lengthwise, in quarters, discard the stems and seeds, and wash. In medium bowl, toss peppers with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Place peppers, skin side up, on hot grill rack. Cover grill and cook peppers 4 to 5 minutes or until beginning to soften. Turn peppers over; cover and cook 3 to 4 minutes longer or until slightly charred. As peppers are done, return to same bowl. Add parsley and toss to coat.

Portobello mushrooms: Marinate them in your favorite wine for at least an hour or brush them with olive oil prior to grilling. Grill mushrooms gill sides (that is the textured side) up over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes and flip over for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Asparagus: Marinate asparagus in lemon juice for at least 1 hour prior to grilling for added flavor. If you donít have one of those veggie mesh cages, you can lay them perpendicular to the grate or use a skewer to poke your asparagus through. This way, they wonít fall between the grates. Grill for about 9 minutes flipping half way through.

Onions: cut onions in 1/2 to 3/8-inch-thick slices. You can brush with olive or vegetable oil if desired. Poke through with a skewer and grill each onion skewer for about 15 minutes. Flip and cook through for a final 2-3 minutes.

Zucchini & squash: cut them in fourths, brush them with olive oil and your favorite seasoning and grill for about 6-8 minutes.

Potatoes: you have to cook potatoes before grilling them, otherwise they will take about an hour on the grill. Cook small potatoes until tender, rinse and set aside. Poke skewers through them, brush them with olive oil salt, pepper, and try either paprika or dill. Grill for about 10 minutes.

Brussel Sprouts: clean sprouts by cutting off the stem and removing the loose outer leaves. Marinate overnight in lemon juice. Wrap them in heavy duty foil, in a single layer. Grill for 20 minutes, until fork tender.

Homemade BBQ Rub:
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sweet paprika
3 tablespoons black pepper
3 tablespoons coarse salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoon celery seeds or powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to mix. Break any brown sugar lumps with your fingers and make sure you wash your hands right after, the cayenne pepper is spicy.

Store the rub in an airtight jar away from heat or light; it will keep for at least 6 months.

To make into a marinade:
Mix 1 Tablespoon seasoning with 1/3 cup olive oil.
Brush on to meat (or veggies) or place inside a zip bag in the fridge to marinade for a few hours.

Steak Kabobs
Above marinade
2 pounds sirloin steak cut into 1-inch cubes
Fresh vegetables: mushrooms, bell peppers, & onions; cleaned and cut into chunks
Garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

Place cut up steak pieces in a Ziploc bag and add enough marinade to cover them.
Refrigerate for 3 to 6 hours, no longer.
Make sure grill is clean (see the Dirty Work article).
Preheat grill on medium high heat, to about 425 degrees.
Sprinkle veggies evenly with garlic powder and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle vegetables with oil and lightly toss to coat.

Layer steak and veggies onto skewers in desired order, work to fit 4 steak pieces onto each kabob.
Cook kebabs on lightly oiled grill grates.
Place kebabs on grill and turn occasionally.
grill until center of steak registers about 140 Ė 145 degrees for medium doneness, about 8 to 9 minutes.

Use other vegetables such as zucchini, squash, cherry tomatoes or parboiled potatoes.

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart


Why is Europe like a frying pan?
Answer to July's riddle:
What is it that given one, you'll have either two or none?
A choice

Brain Buster

Two Consonants
Every answer is a word, name or phrase in which the only consonants are L and T, repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels. For example, if I gave you the clue, add up, you would say total.

opposite of big.
Coffee made with hot, steamed milk.
A lavatory.
Name, as of a book or movie.
to dole out.
A place to insert an electric plug.
A sweepstake game.
A for-rent sign, two-word answer.
No holds barred; give oneís maximum effort.
Means prevaricate or to fib, three-word answer.
a snitch.

Answers to Julyís brain buster:
name the make and model of a popular car. Change the first and last letters of the make to name an animal, and change the first and fourth letters of the model to name another animal.
Toyota corolla to coyote gorilla.

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