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November 2020
Volume 6; Issue 11

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Movers & Shakers
International Perspective
Reader's Feature
Exercise, does a body good
Have I Got A Story For You
Connecting the Dots
The Guide Dog Journey
Spencer’s Spotlight
APPetizers: Byte Size Tidbits to Help Master Your iDevice
A Time to Plant
Dirty Work
The Beauty Parlor
Healthy Bites
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,
Many countries are in the process of “falling back.” I hope you were fortunate enough like me to get an extra hour of sleep, I can always use that!
Be sure to check out Vicki’s debut article, it is loaded with great useful information!
I am still looking for people to interview from different countries for the International Perspective segment. Also remember, if you want to share something for our Reader’s Feature segment then, just send it to me at KarenXSantiago@msn.com

This newsletter, like most others is loaded with great information, so enough from me, read on!

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

At A Glance: Centre Screen, Interviewees, Retreat, Medicine Balls, Animals, Friends, Indians, & Link, Capitalization, Travels, Grief, Smart Speaker, Bulbs, Half the Time, Eyebrows, Virus, Stuffin, Riddle & Brain Buster!

Movers & Shakers

By Karen Santiago

I recently attended a webinar entitled All Museums for all People. Afterwards, I contacted Dan Cooper and we held a Q&A interview. Read below to learn a bit about him, and the work he does.

What is Centre Screen?
Centre Screen is a creative production company based in Manchester and London in the UK. Since 1986, we’ve worked throughout the world with visitor attractions, theme parks, major museums, and heritage sites to create digital content that inspires, educates and entertains. We have a small team, skilled in communicating a variety of subject matter from social history and sport science to contemporary art and natural history. We focus on creating captivating and compelling storytelling for every visitor.

Can you tell us your role at Centre Screen?
As the Head of Interactive, I lead all interactive projects for Centre Screen. This includes a diverse range of simple or complex interactive visitor experiences, that can play out from any screen - and sometimes even without a screen. We help museums and visitor attractions to use innovative technology to tell compelling stories, accessible to all. I lead a small team working on a variety of projects both in-house and in collaboration with partners.

I joined the company two and a half years ago. My background is in creating editorially-led, user-centered digital products and I enjoy the challenge of joining the dots between ambition, user-needs and data/research and testing. I have been leading exciting digital projects for the best part of a couple of decades, for screens and audiences of all shapes and sizes. My work has been based largely around broadcasting, brands and visitor experiences and usually has education at its heart.

I like the challenge presented by the variety of work we produce at Centre Screen. Sometimes we’re working across an entire museum, sometimes a single application. Sometimes we start with a blank canvas and sometimes we pick up fully formed ideas that need delivering.

What is the role of Centre Screen?
We make visitor experiences for a wide range of clients around the world. Not all place accessibility and inclusive design at the top of their priority list, but we always ensure that we communicate with client teams the importance of accessibility for all. Thankfully, there are always lots of things we can do through inclusive design, even in situations where additional accessibility services (with associated costs) are not possible within client budget structures.

We follow best practices and guidelines to ensure usability of software apps - whether they play from the web, an app or a real-world exhibit. We user-test as much as we can to ensure that, beyond guidelines and legal accessibility requirements, we’re able to fully understand user-needs.

Complexity can quickly ramp up on some projects, for example in a museum setting whereby our software or content needs to be housed in a fabricated structure, in a wider environment as part of a broader exhibition design. In these cases, we work collaboratively with wider teams, including architects, exhibition designers, hardware facilitators and so on to create a holistic view of accessibility and inclusivity. When we have that buy in together, we are able to all work together the same end goal.

Specifically, how did you help to create the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, which opened in July, to be accessible for all?

We recently delivered all of the interactive and linear media inside the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. A project like this tends to be two to three years in the making for Centre Screen, and takes a huge multidisciplinary team working in collaboration to create an inclusive journey.

This museum’s accessibility journey is powered by RFID. Visitors are given a pass at ticketing, which they wear with a lanyard around the museum. Their first step is registration. Using either an RFID code and a mobile registration website on their own device, or a kiosk in the lobby area, visitors can complete an onboarding experience in order to personalize their visit. This process involves some personal data - for example, we ask for name, zip code, email address - all of which are used to personalize museum screens and to populate a ‘Digital Locker’, a take-away experience of bookmarked and user-generated experiences from the museum. Additionally, we allow visitors to tailor accessibility services, for example adding audio descriptions or activating a screen reader; as well as modify settings, for example increasing font size or contrast levels. These settings follow the visitor via their RFID around the museum; their profile becomes their digital fingerprint. Each time they are in the vicinity of an RFID reader, we know who they are and what they need.

This registration process is designed to be the first independent waypoint in the museum journey. Each kiosk screen has a universal keypad. At ticketing, visitors are advised of this fact. Any visitor who activates the software using this keypad, triggers the screen reader functionality. If visitors select the audio description service, their registration process concludes with an orientation of the lobby area and an overview of how audio descriptions are delivered throughout the museum. In each gallery, orientation descriptions automatically play out from gallery introduction panels when an RFID is recognized that has selected that service.

Throughout the museum, tactile floor strips indicate positions where *something* will automatically happen using the distant RFID. This may be logging into an interactive, triggering an audio description track on a looping video or starting playback of a gallery orientation audio description.

We tried to ensure that visitors have full control of their journey as they progress through the museum. We were advised early on that blind or low vision visitors may feel isolated from the experience if audio descriptions were delivered through headphones. As such, we play them out of the core speaker system at exhibits. Whether that’s a directional speaker in a group space (denoted by a tactile floor strip) or the soundbar at a one-person experience, this facilitates audio description without taking the visitor “out of the room”. However, we were also conscious that, for some visitors, the ability to play back audio through headsets may be preferable - so this option is also available too.

Our audio descriptions also cover media playback, in one of three ways:
Firstly, we offer some videos that playback silently for visitors, intended as illustrative short pieces that help bring informational touchscreen exhibits to life. For example, with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame, we offer a 20-30” video clip of selected inductees, to showcase their sporting prowess. There is no narration or commentary on these videos, but for visitors who have selected the audio description service, a bespoke audio track is triggered to enable users to have some context of these videos.
Secondly, bespoke media. Where possible, we minimized the need for additional audio description tracks by inclusively scripting content to be naturally descriptive - rather than trying to squeeze visual descriptions into content designed primarily for visual users.
Finally, where we used archive content and traditional voice overs, we used traditional audio descriptions to set context. We naturally had less control over these pieces.
Our audio descriptions throughout the museum, as with all video and audio content, are presented by Olympic and Paralympic athletes. For the audio description throughout, we worked with Olympians Kathy Johnson and Rowdy Gaines, recognizable voices from broadcast media; as well as Brad Synder, a Paralympic swimmer. Brad lost both his eyes in September 2011 in, stepping on an I E D in an attempt to help victims of another bombing in Afghanistan whilst on Navy service. A year later, he won two gold and one silver medal in the pool for Team USA as a competitor in the S11 category. Four years later, in Rio, he performed the same feat. We were honored to work with Brad, as a relatively new user of audio description services, he was passionate about delivering a great experience for visitors in the museum.
The other key thing to discuss as regards the visitor journey for blind or low vision visitors, is the inclusive design of physical activities that allow participation by all. Gallery 4 is the Training Gallery, where visitors can learn and practice activities related to Olympic and Paralympic sports.
All activities are usable by all. For example, our archery activity inclusively uses an audio guide to help to direct visitors to the target, based on systems used by the Team USA Paralympic shooting team - the blind/low vision athletes use complex audio guides, based on their rifle position, to aim at the target. We simplified the sonification here to help visitors to shoot virtual archery arrows at a target. Likewise, we use a similar technique for a skeleton sled simulator.
One of our six activities in this gallery is based on Goalball. The reaction test allows visitors to test their reaction skills, when a virtual goalball is sounded from one of five positions. Movement is monitored via a skeletal tracking system. Here, for deaf or hard of hearing visitors, we offer a visual alternative too.
We worked with Team USA athletes throughout production to help to shape these experiences, inclusively. We also tested with a variety of groups and continue to monitor feedback from site to help us to develop versions 1.1 and beyond of a complex, ambitious suite of products.

What are some other projects you have done?
We’ve worked with a lot of sports museums and visitor attractions - The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, is the International Olympic Committee’s home of the Olympic Story; we’ve also worked with localized equivalents in Canada, Norway, China and Japan; as well museums for FIFA, The National Football Museum and Manchester United (soccer); Wimbledon (tennis) and Ferrari. But we don’t just love sport, we work on a lot of historical, scientific and heritage sites - from the Chopin Museum to the British Library; Hong Kong Wetlands Park to the National Maritime Museum; The Giant's Causeway to Stonehenge.

Do these places seek you out, or do you contact them?
We love hearing about new creative challenges and exciting new projects, especially those that allow us to help to raise the bar in terms of inclusive design. We tend to go through procurement processes for larger projects, however we do increasingly receive direct contact for projects too.

How can someone find more information on Centre Screen?
Our website is, www.CentreScreen.co.UK

we can be contacted via LinkedIn, @Centre-Screen

Facebook, @CentreScreen

Twitter, @CentreScreenUK, remember it’s the UK spelling of centre!

International Perspective

By Karen Santiago

No International Perspective article this month. If interested in either writing an article about life in your country, or being interviewed by me, then send me an email at my address above.

Reader's Feature

By Louis Prem

It was a smooth landing, on a summer morning as the wheels of the plane touched down on the runway of the Seattle Washington airport on August 26th 2018 ending, the long flight for the 40 > Deaf Blind individuals with their destination being Sea beck, to attend their much awaited retreat.

Soon after the airplanes screaming engine stopped, we headed for the baggage claims and then to the bus waiting area. The bus team greeted my brother Joseph and I cheerfully as we boarded the bus for the hour and a half journey to the camp site. My feeling of excitement rose when the bus traveled along the beautiful scenery of green trees, the beautiful buildings and the sea beach.

When we arrived at the Deaf Blind Retreat camp, the staff and the other deaf blind friends happily greeted each other with great joy, using sign language. Then came a volunteer named Meaghan who took us to what would be our bedroom for a week. Looking out of the bedroom, it was all surrounded by apple trees and the splendid sight of a deer quietly resting.

The one week of events at the Sea beck camp were the most thrilling activities for me to have experienced. The meals which were provided throughout the day were some of the most delicious servings that I have had and thus have thoroughly enjoyed. I had my first hearty dinner which consisted of a large serving of Salad with Tomato sauce, something that looked like Chicken Pizza and a dessert of a sweet creamy delicious pie.

Afterwards Bob, my volunteer assistant took me to the meeting hall where all of the new participants met together. I was handed an FM Microphone which would receive the announcements that were made on the main microphone by way of the telephone switch on my hearing aids. This device looked like a hand-phone which hung around my neck by a rope. There at the meeting hall, I met an American deaf blind friend named Patrick who used his special braille display to communicate with me. He asked whether this was my first time coming to the retreat of which I told him yes. Then came another deaf blind friend named Bader who is an Arabian. He used sign language and both he and Patrick ended up with great laughter while patting each other.

I was then introduced to many of the deaf blind participants including Keith, who was in charge of the retreat. Keith showed me the sign for smiles by gently sliding your finger across the shoulder.

Bob then took me out for a walk near the lagoon and the weather was quite cold. I enjoyed the walk in the cold even though I was only wearing a t-shirt. We both walked and walked and laughed as we chatted about some of our experiences. We then ended up back at my bedroom which ended my first eventful day at the retreat.

After having a hearty breakfast of Flakes with unsweetened milk, Sausage rolls, Eggs, Boiled Potatoes, Fruit juice and Coffee, we waited for the van to take us to the bike riding location. Getting there was a half an hour journey from the Sea beck camp. Our group of volunteers and the deaf blind participants were quite excited by the time that we arrived at the bike riding location. The tricycle has three wheels and the volunteer sits on the left side doing the steering while the deaf blind person sits on the right side assisting with the peddling. Ashlyn Walker who was my volunteer, rode the bike at a great speed and we both thoroughly enjoyed the bike riding event very much. After riding three rounds, I was very tired to say the least. ASHLYYN asked if I wished to continue our ride, but I decided that I'd had enough.

Our group of participants returned to the camp to continue with indoor activities. I then went into the handicraft room where an interesting thing attracted my attention. There were two containers filled with liquid in which you just needed to put your hand wrist deep for about two seconds. In the second container, you had to keep your hand in the liquid for about 8 seconds. And when taken out, the liquid started to form a mold of your fingers down to the wrist. The instructor gently removed it from your hand, and it became a solid frame of your whole hand, made from candle wax. I was given a choice to have the craft painted in my favorite color, which is blue. I brought the craft safely back home and now it is in my showcase as a souvenir.

The volunteers took turns in assisting all the deaf blind participants in their activities. Just across the road from the camp is the beautiful lagoon for boat riding. My brother Joseph along with the volunteer assisted me in getting in the boat. Once in the boat, the volunteer sits on the left-hand side and starts peddling and steering, while I help peddle from the right side. The volunteer cheered and helped me in waving to my brother who was standing on the shore.

Daily the stream of events continued to become more and more thrilling. my feeling of excitement increased whenever we came to a room where there were two gentlemen seated quietly engaged in an activity which was described to me as the hard of hearing activity. In this activity we discussed issues relating to hearing difficulties and the use of sign language. There we had Steven Cook and Dale Kosier who were said to be two of the leaders of the retreat camp at Sea beck.

Steven greeted me happily saying Apa Khabar. He continued to say that he had gone to Indonesia many years ago and his parents even stayed one night in Kuala Lumpur in 1963. Now at this time there was a small group who were discussing issues on deaf blind matters and sign language. They were quite concerned over the history of events which has thus far occurred, for the deaf blind in Malaysia. We talked about the population of the deaf blind in Malaysia and how they communicate with one another other than with braille. We had fun learning some sign language and getting to know each other.

Dale is a 73 year old gentleman and is one of the last few founders of the Sea beck deaf blind camp in Seattle, Washington. The camp was founded in 1978. Dale uses the Cochlear Implant, whereas Steven uses his hearing aids and both of them could communicate well. We were then served coffee and cotton candy which is like a large pomello sized round bubble of sugar stuck on a stick.

We then went on a long beach walk and an adventurous walk through the forest that surrounded the Sea beck camp. We came across some tall and really huge historical trees which were said to have been there for the last 50 years. Our walk was most enjoyable because the ambience was wonderful and the weather was pretty cool. We walked for what seemed liked miles without sweating or getting tired.

When a trip to the Lighthouse for the Blind was announced, I was one of the luckiest participants to be included in this excursion. So, a group of 20 volunteers and deaf blind participants boarded the bus for the one and a half hour long journey to the Lighthouse. It was a large beautiful building consisting of many departments. The lighthouse has a big Boeing department which makes parts for airplanes. They are equipped with marvelous technology that helps the employees do their jobs. There are also other departments which make easels. There is also a sowing department. They sometimes also offer office positions, depending on the individual’s skills. the opportunities there are endless if an individual is willing to work and have good work ethics. Furthermore, those who are deaf blind are also employed in agricultural industries such as making fruit juices. After lunch, the history of the Lighthouse was presented to us, where we were told how it was started with the deaf blind group at Sea beck. After that, all of us then boarded the bus for the ferry ride back to the Sea beck camp.

To our surprise, there were some Seals in the sea along the way. We also had a view of the city and the famous Sky Tower of Seattle. The ferry ride took about one hour before we reached Sea beck on the other side. Upon disembarking the ferry, we came to a shopping center called Kittap Mall. There, we came across many souvenirs which included displays of t-shirts, mugs, key chains, magnets, etc. We then boarded the bus for our return to Sea beck camp.

At the camp I came across many interesting things such as the American cane, Telescopic cane, Mini Travel Guide, Head vamp Bus, flash cards and many more things. There were board games like chess, draughts and bingo, which I enjoyed playing. I was also given the opportunity to play the piano which plucked the ears of all the people around the camp. One of the founders of the Sea beck camp offered me the chance to play music for a fund raising program sometime later.

The most colorful and highlighting event of the deaf blind retreat 2018 ended with the dance party. All the volunteers and the deaf blind participants enjoyed dancing together with the volume of the music machines on high, which eventually vibrated the dance floor. At that time, I thought that it was now the final countdown of the deaf blind retreat 2018, to the upcoming closing ceremony. All of us, including the founder of the Sea beck camp were chatting while teaching sign language.

We wished each other good bye while hugging each other. I will never forget these sweet memories and moments of my life which were made possible by Sharon Hooley, who was the one that let me know about this retreat. Sharon Hooley is a deaf blind lady from Seattle Washington who participated in this retreat in the year 2017. I have learnt much from this deaf blind retreat and would like to share with all my fellow deaf blind folks in Malaysia, and welcome them in their assistance in setting up a group and together aiming for our goals and dreams.

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely

Welcome back to another edition of an Exercise Does A Body Good! In this edition I discuss medicine ball training.

what are medicine balls?
They can come in small sizes like a softball, or larger ones, resembling a volleyball or beach ball.
The shell can be made from various materials, including nylon, vinyl, leather, dense rubber, or polyurethane.
The insides are often stuffed with sand, gel, or just inflated with air.
Medicine balls are usually sold from 2 to 25 pounds (1 to 11 kg). they are used effectively in ballistic training to increase explosive power in athletes in all sports, e.g. throwing the medicine ball or jumping while holding it.

Five Medicine Ball Exercises Anyone Can Do:
• MEDICINE BALL BALANCE: Hold the medicine ball overhead in both hands for 30 seconds. While continuing to balance on your right leg, move the ball over into your right hand, hold for 30 seconds, then move it overhead into your left hand, and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat the entire process while standing on your left leg.
Repeat three times on each leg.
Targets: Hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, core, & back.

• MEDICINE BALL LUNGE WITH TWIST: Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold a medicine ball in front of you with elbows bent about 90 degrees. With your right foot, step forward into a basic lunge position. As you bend your knee, be sure to keep your knee over your right foot (don't twist at the knee).
From your midsection, twist your upper body to the right. Keep your core engaged and squeeze your glutes. Reach across your right side with your arms outstretched. In a slow, controlled movement, bring your arms back to the center. Step the right foot back and return to your starting position.
Do three sets with each leg.
Targets: Quads, glutes, obliques, chest, & shoulders.

• MEDICINE BALL SQUATS: Keep weight in your heels, chest up, and knees behind toes while dropping your hips down until they're parallel with your knees. While squatting down, engage your core and press the medicine ball out in front of you. Push through the glutes and stand back up, bringing the ball back to your chest.
Do 30 seconds on, followed by 30 seconds of rest, and repeat three times.
Targets: Quads, glutes, core, & shoulders.

• MEDICINE BALL SQUATS WITH STRAIGHT-ARM EXTENSIONS: Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart and medicine ball in both hands down in front of your hips. Squat down, keeping chest up, and tap ball to the floor in between your feet. Push through glutes, stand back up, and simultaneously swing arms up towards the sky (keep them straight the entire time).
Do 30 seconds on, followed by 30 seconds of rest, and repeat three times.
Targets: Quads, glutes, core, & shoulders.

• MEDICINE BALL WOOD CHOP: Stand tall with the medicine ball in both hands in front of your chest. Lunge forward at an angle with your left foot, while simultaneously reaching the medicine ball towards your toes. Push off your left foot to stand back up and pivot on your toes while swinging medicine ball diagonally (it will end up over your right shoulder).
Repeat for 30 seconds on this side, then rest for 30 seconds. Perform the movements for 30 seconds on the opposite side (lunging forward with your right foot and swinging ball over your left shoulder), then rest for 30 seconds. Do three rounds.
Targets: Quads, glutes, obliques, shoulders, & back.
These are just a few exercises that you can do with a medicine ball.

Health tip:
After a good workout, your muscles can tend to become sore. I recommend using moist heat, as oppose to dry heat.
Pros: Moist heat uses water, so it does not cause dehydration unlike dry heat methods. It also penetrates deeper into your tissues, making it far more effective than dry heat. When used for the same duration, (30 minutes) moist heat therapy has a greater effect on pain reduction than dry heat therapy.

That concludes this month issue, and remember Exercise Does A Body Good!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton

Greetings Book Friends,
I was going to do a strictly Non Fiction November until The final book in my article hit the shelf over on BARD and I had to include it. I also have a book tracking website for you to explore. So, let’s get right to it!

Feral Cities; Adventures with animals in the Urban jungle
Written by Tristan Donovan
Reading time; 8 hours and 26 minutes
CELA has it in every format

We tend to think of cities as a realm apart, somehow separate from nature, but nothing could be further from the truth. In Feral Cities, Tristan Donovan digs below the urban gloss to uncover the wild creatures that we share our streets and homes with, and profiles the brave and fascinating people who try to manage them. Along the way readers will meet the wall eating snails that are invading Miami, the boars that roam Berlin, and the monkey gangs of Cape Town. From feral chickens and carpet roaming bugs to coyotes hanging out in sandwich shops and birds crashing into skyscrapers, Feral Cities takes readers on a journey through streets and neighborhoods that are far more alive than we often realize, shows how animals are adjusting to urban living, and asks what messages the wildlife in our metropolises have for us.

My comments; Fascinating, that’s all I have to say. Well, I could say a bit scary, disgusting and the thought of giant house eating snails kept me coming back for more with this one.

Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era
Written by Saul Austerlitz
Reading time; 10 hours and 48 minutes
CELA has it in every format

In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering about sex, relationships, jobs, and just about everything else. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe, and thanks to the show’s immensely talented creators, its intimate understanding of its youthful audience, and its reign during network television’s last moment of dominance, Friends has become the most influential and beloved show of its era. Friends has never gone on a break, and this is the story of how it all happened. Noted pop culture historian Saul Austerlitz utilizes exclusive interviews with creators David Crane and Marta Kauffman, executive producer Kevin Bright, director James Burrows, and many other producers, writers, and cast members to tell the story of Friends’ creation, its remarkable decade long run, and its astonishing Netflix-fueled afterlife. Listeners will learn how the show was developed and cast, written and filmed. There will b talk of trivia contests, prom videos, and trips to London, Super Bowls, lesbian weddings, wildly popular hairstyles, superstar cameos, mad dashes to the airport, and million dollar contracts. They’ll also discover surprising details that Monica and Joey were the show’s original romantic couple, how Danielle Steel probably saved Jennifer Aniston’s career, and why Friends is still so popular that if it was a new show, its over the air broadcast reruns would be the ninth highest rated program on TV.

The show that defined the 1990s has a legacy that has endured beyond wildest expectations. And in this hilarious, informative, and entertaining audiobook, listeners will now understand why.

My comments; Remember, this show began in the days before high speed computers were in each and every home. That fact alone makes this show and it’s many achievements go down in T V history. I really enjoyed reliving some of my favorite moments and the changes this show had on so much of our pop culture then and now.

I just stumbled on this one. I haven’t dug really deep into it yet, but I hear it’s pretty accessible. Looking for a great book? FictionDB is the best place to start. Here you will find simple lists of books in order by author and by series.

The Only Good Indians
Written by Stephen Graham Jones
Reading time: 8 hours and 37 minutes
CELA has it in every format

A tale of revenge, cultural identity, and the cost of breaking from tradition in this latest novel from, Stephen Graham Jones. Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

Ten years ago, four young Blackfeet men went on a prohibited elk hunt in lands reserved for the tribe's elders. As adults, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

My comments; Indigenous writers are very popular right now, and in every genre and horror is no exception. Be warned, this one is violent and graphic with hunting descriptions. I loved it. The writer is a Black Foot Indian himself. Take a walk on the wild side.

Until next time book people, take care of yourselves and be good to each other. We may not have much to give, but kindness is something within all of our capabilities.
Happy reading, Carla jo.

Connecting the Dots

By Tonya J. Drew

Welcome to the November Connecting the Dots. I hope everyone is practicing their dot numbers as we discussed in the last article. This issue, I would like to talk about capitalization.

Most Braille readers know that dot 6 is the capitalization symbol. When one feels dot 6 right before a letter, that reader knows that the next letter is capitalized.

What about, in our modern world, capitalization in the middle of a word? It is done the same way: D I S dot6 A B L E. In fact, this is a great way to emphasize something in Braille.

To capitalize a whole word, one can put 2 dot 6 before a word. A reader might find: dot 6, dot 6 ABILITY. This is also done often in braille to emphasize a word.

Sometimes, an entire passage (3 or more words) needs to be capitalized to make sure a section is noticed because of its importance in print. Braille has a character sequence for this as well: dot 6, dot 6, dot 6; and then it must be turned off by using dot 6, dot 3. In Braille, it will appear something like this: dot 6, dot 6, dot 6 THIS IS AN IMPORTANT PASSAGE. dot 6, dot 3.

Capitalization indicators should always come next to the letter or beginning or the word or passage they effect. All other punctuation and symbols must come before the capitalization. For example, dots 2,3,6 (open quote), dot 6, I am going to the store on dot 6, Tuesday dots 2,5,6, dots 3,5,6. This example simply shows that the dot 6(s) must come immediately before the letter or word they effect and all other symbols must come before the capitalization.

With a little practice, capitalizing letters, words, or passages is simple to do and to read.

Thank you for joining me in learning capitalization. Join me next time for punctuation. As always, I am available for questions and help at the e-mail address above.

The Guide Dog Journey

By Tammy Lynn

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

Welcome back to the Guide Dog Journey.
As the weather changes and the world begins opening up again after Covid, you may be thinking of traveling once again. Traveling with your dog can be an extremely rewarding experience. In this article, I will share with you some tips and suggestions for helping your travels with your dog to go more smoothly and hopefully be a little easier.

In case of needing to travel last minute, it would be a great idea to keep a small travel bag ready containing a travel bowl, a tie-down, pre-portioned food, bags for clean-up, a dose of heartworm and flea preventative, grooming supplies, a Nyla bone and a favorite toy and a copy of the dog’s vaccination record.

If at all possible when traveling, it is often helpful to bring water from your home for the dog to drink as a shift in water can sometimes cause an upset tummy in a dog.

When traveling out-of-state or internationally, it is good to know the laws about service animals for the location you are traveling too. Some locations do have quarantine laws which service animals may need to abide by. Another thing to consider with air travel is any assistance you may need and plenty of room on the floor, so request bulk head seating on a plane and secure sighted assistance before you go. There should never be additional charges to accommodate your dog on public transportation or in hotels.

When traveling, is also important to keep the same relieving schedule if possible, bearing in mind time zone changes. If this is not possible add in additional relieving times. Consistency is security for a dog and it also helps to reduce the chances of an accident. Additional attention and time spent playing with your dog and relie e some of the inevitable stress of traveling.

Learning as much as you can ahead of time about the layout of the places you are traveling to can help you feel more oriented when you arrive. Talking with people at your destinations ahead of time to get an idea of the environment can be very useful.

Undoubtedly, traveling with a dog will come with a lot of attention from the public. This often times becomes a chance to encourage the dog’s focus on his work, to educate people about why it is important to not interfere with a guide team and to also enjoy sharing your experiences with others when appropriate.

Traveling with a guide dog is very rewarding because your dog may love new environments and some challenges. It also builds your confidence in your dog and can strengthen your working relationship. After all, greater independence is why most of us elect to obtain a guide dog, so travel is a great opportunity to utilize the work skills you and your dog share.

Happy travels and until next time, enjoy the journey!

Spencer's Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer

This month’s spotlight is focusing on the devastation and loss the pandemic has caused. This year has been filled with grief for people all over the world. I personally, have not lost anyone from the pandemic but just recently, one of my best friends, a dearly beloved uncle, and now facing the impending surreal death of my sister.

Sometimes, we need a wake up call to make us realize what the important matters inn life revolves around. It is nothing you can buy from Amazon, it's nothing you can watch on television, or anything you can buy from any store. The most important and valuable asset you can have in this life is time.

Time is free, and all you have to do is spend it on the people in your life that mean the most. Don't miss an opportunity to reach out to them and let them know how much you love and appreciate them for all the kindnesses and thoughtful and considerate things they have done for you.

For those of you struggling with the loss of a dear one, I would like to share the five stages of grief in hopes that it will give some measure of peace and comfort. The five stages of grief are:

Does grief always follow the same order of stages?
Not everyone will experience all five stages, and you may not go through them in this order. Grief is different for every person, so you may begin coping with loss in the bargaining stage and find yourself in anger or denial next. You may remain for months in one of the five stages but skip others entirely.

The five stages of grief may be the most widely known, but it’s far from the only popular stages of grief theory. Several others exist as well, including ones with seven stages and ones with just two.

Unfortunately, death is a part of life and something all of us will experience at one time or another. I will end with a poignant line from a book by William Kent Kreuger, “The dead are always with us; they are in our hearts and on our minds. In the end, the only thing that separates us from them is a single breath, one final puff of air.”

APPetizers: Byte Size Tidbits to Help Master Your iDevice

By Darrin cheney

An Assistant to, "Do Thy Bidding!"

My wife bought me an Amazon Echo Dot 3.0 Smart Speaker on a special sale. For the last few weeks, I’ve spent some time learning how to use it and how to control my iDevice with only my voice. In this installment, I’ll share what I’ve learned about Dictation, Personal Assistants, and Voice Control.

Getting Started:
The ability to control technology with your voice has been around for years. Now, new tools and advanced software make it easier to use your voice to command and to control your iDevice or Smart Speaker. You can ask your iDevice or Smart Speaker for a weather forecast, a news summary, or sport score; create appointments, set timers and alarms, create mail and text messages; make calls, listen to books and podcasts; and play games. An iDevice running iOS 13 or higher has built-in Dictation, a Personal Assistant called Siri, and Voice Control which is part of VoiceOver (VO). An Amazon Echo Smart Speaker has a built-in Personal Assistant called Alexa. You can interact and configure Alexa with an iOS app.

iOS Dictation:
When you Tap on the Mic icon on your iOS on-screen keyboard, you can dictate or edit text. Dictation needs to learn your voice. You need to learn the voice commands to create and edit your text. Using Dictation will require time and patience.

Personal Digital Assistant:
Using a Personal Assistant requires Internet access. A Siri request is recorded and sent to Apple for processing. Your query or action is returned to you and activated on your iDevice. A query on an Echo Smart Speaker is recorded and stored on an Amazon server so Alexa will learn, adapt, and evolve as you use it.

Siri and Alexa have their own language and command structure. Combine tasks or skills to build a custom Apple Siri Shortcut or an Alexa Routine. For example, I could create a Siri shortcut that will send a message to my wife letting her know I am ready for pick-up after my appointment. Likewise, I can create an Alexa Routine called “Good Morning” where Alexa tells me the weather forecast, road conditions, a news summary, and then starts a fun playlist.

Voice Control:
Using Voice Control in iOS allows you to navigate your iDevice with VoiceOver (VO). Voice Control does not require Internet access. You activate Voice Control under Accessibility and speak a command or gesture to navigate a screen or to activate a screen element. VO will announce where you are on the screen. The Voice Control app has several standard commands and you can create your own custom commands.

Be Safe Out There!
Decide what information you are willing to share on the Internet. You can always delete your Siri or Alexa history. Keep your iDevice locked when not in use. An expensive iDevice in a busy office or on the bus may be a target for thieves. Use Siri or Voice control with a wireless ear bud and keep your phone safe in your pocket or back-pack. Create a voice command to unlock your iPhone when you need to use it and lock it afterwards.

Smart Speaker
I really like my Amazon Echo dot 3.0 Smart Speaker. It is connected to my WiFi network and the Internet. Alexa is only a simple voice command away. I say, “Alexa” and a command to get a query, set an alarm, or play a game. Alexa can roll dice and even give "Twister" commands. I’ve configured Alexa to play my Apple Music, my Apple Podcasts, NPR One, and my favorite radio stations. It’s handy to ask Alexa to read a recipe, set a cooking timer, get a weather report, tell a good joke, or look up a phone number. When I write, I can ask Alexa to provide a word spelling, definition, or synonym without interrupting the writing process. The new Echo platform is now available and the older versions like 3.0 are super cheap and will make a fun stocking stuffer for you or a loved one.

Final Thoughts:
Your Voice is a powerful tool. You can use it to dictate and to edit text, to control your iDevice or Smart Speaker, and to get answers to your questions. Use Siri or Alexa to learn one skill or task. Then, create a Siri Shortcut or Alexa Routine. Once you get proficient, share the Siri Shortcut or Alexa Routine with a friend. Let Siri or Alexa, "Do Thy Bidding!" Good Luck!

Learning Resources:
Apple has several support articles describing how you can use Siri and Voice Control on your iOS Device. Apple has a free iOS or iPadOS Guide in Apple Books. Amazon has online resources and help support through their app. AppleVis.com has some good resources, comments, and podcasts. Here are a few web articles to explore.
Voice Dictation:
Voice Dictation

Siri Shortcuts:
Siri Shortcuts

Alexa Routines:
Alexa Routines

Voice Control:
Voice Control

Voice Basics

A Time to Plant

By Sue Brazel

When decorating for the holidays, consider having some blooming plants as part of the décor.

All year long, plants grown from bulbs can bloom at times other than their typical flowering time. The process of growing these bulbs is called “forcing” because the typical growing conditions are manipulated to be at a different time.

Many bulbs must be chilled to form a bud. The chill time varies from 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the variety of flower. Other bulbs, such as narcissus (paper whites) and amaryllis, don’t require a cold temperature period. When purchasing, choose firm bulbs with no blemishes.

Between September and mid December, you can chill your own bulbs for their required time. Many people purchase pre-chilled bulbs. Once chilled, keep them in a cold location until the time you want to start growing them. Bulbs can be refrigerated for an even temperature, but storage near an ethylene-emitting fruit or vegetable such as apples, avocados or tomatoes, could be detrimental..

There are two basic ways to force bulbs to bloom. Plant them in soil or have their roots in water.
For the soil method, fill a container that has a drain hole about three-fourths full of moist but not soggy potting mix. Place bulbs with the pointed end up an inch apart into the soil, burying each bulb so that one-third to one-half of the bulb is in the potting mix. If you can’t tell the top from the bottom of a bulb, lay it on it’s side; it will know which way to grow. Bulbs could rot if they are totally covered with soil that is kept moist.

One way to force bulbs using the water method is to place them with the pointed end up on gravel, pebbles or marbles. Cover bulbs with about half their height in the medium you use. Fill the container with water so that the bottom fourth of the bulb is in water, making sure that the level is maintained daily.

Another water method uses a special vase with a short, narrow neck and a wide mouth. These bulb forcing vases work best for hyacinths and paper whites. Unpredictable results happen for tulips, daffodils and crocus. A bulb sits on the vase’s mouth, while the roots reach into the vase for their water supply, but the bulb itself should never touch water.

Plant your bulbs 2 to 4 weeks in advance of wanting flowers. Once planted, keep the starts in a 50 to 60 degree area away from direct light for about a week, while roots and sprouts are forming. Transition to a warm, bright area after about 2 inches of growth has occurred.

Amaryllis bulbs are big, but their container for forced growth should only be 1” to 2” wider than the bulb. Place potting mix in the bottom of the container, then place the bulb in, pointed end up. Fill with more soil until the top one-third of the bulb is showing. A stake can be placed beside the bulb to aid in supporting the tall stem during it’s growth.

To have fresh flowers blooming for a while, plant more bulbs in succession throughout your cold season. Many people enjoy the scent and the appearance of these plants.

It is now “thyme” for me to plant more of these beautiful bulbs.

Dirty Work

by Manny Morales

Cleaning house is a chore most of us don’t like to do, but it has to be done. I have 12 tips to help you cut your cleaning time in half.

1 You need to have a System.
cleaning the house in the same order every time: Working one room at a time, starting and finishing at the same spot in a room so that you don't waste time running back and forth. You need to be consistent and maintain a routine.

2 Clean Top to Bottom, and Left to Right.
Don't start a room by wiping the coffee table, then clean the blinds, and seeing the dust from the blinds coat your newly clean coffee table. Start at the top of the room, such as dusting a ceiling fan, and work down to the floor to eliminate redundant work. Likewise, cleaning left to right ensures that you cover the entire room instead of darting from place to place.

3 Squeegee Windows for a Streak-Free Finish.
Place a drop of dish soap in a gallon of water, wipe it generously on the window with a cloth, then squeegee it off. Go top to bottom and wipe the blade each time at the bottom.
If you don't want to use a squeegee, then use a glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. When wiping with the cloth, use horizontal strokes and move from top to bottom. Don't clean a window by rubbing in circles, which can leave streaks, and avoid wiping the glass with newspaper or paper towels, which leave a residue.

4 Keep Proper supplies at the Ready.
Having all the tools and cleaning products you need at arm's-reach means you won't waste time walking back and forth to the cabinet under the sink. Why not try wearing an apron or a carpenter's tool belt, and filling the pockets. You can purchase small spray bottles and fill them up with cleaners, and then they will fit into the pockets. You could also use a small caddy to carry your cleaning supplies.

5 Get Proactive.
The best way to keep a clean home is to stop some problems before they begin. For example, use a shower cleaner to prevent grime and scum buildup in the bath. Every time you take a shower, spray it on to prevent having a dirty shower. Spray it on, rinse, and walk away.

6 Dust Without Spraying.
Feather dusters work great for cleaning blinds, pictures, nooks, and other areas. Purchase a high-quality feather duster that will fit in your back pocket. The duster works well for routine dusting, but for heavy buildup, you'll need to vacuum or use a cloth, then use the duster every two weeks or so after that.

7 Cut Through Kitchen Grease.
Grease inevitably ends up on kitchen cabinets, especially those above or next to the range. You can buy a cleaner with orange oil to wipe off the grease, or you can use a standard grease-cutting dishwashing detergent. The detergent will cut through the grease on the cabinets just like it does with dishes.
Mix one tablespoon of liquid detergent with a gallon of warm water. Test the solution in an inconspicuous area, wiping it on with a clean sponge or cloth, to make sure it won't damage or discolor the finish. Then rinse it off with a different sponge and clear, warm water.
For tough stains or buildup that won't come off with detergent, mix baking soda with water and lightly scrub the problem area with a cloth.

8 Battle Bathroom Mold.
Mold haunts bathrooms that aren't well-ventilated because water remains on the walls after bathing. Use hydrogen peroxide in a trigger-spray bottle to battle mold and mildew. Spray it on, let it sit 3 to 5 minutes, and it will kill the fungus.
To keep mold from coming back, use a fan when showering. When you're done, take a couple of minutes to squeegee the water off the tile walls and shower door.

9 Defeat Mineral Deposits.
If mineral deposits from hard water have stained your plumbing fixtures, don't clean them with bristle brushes or pads. They can scratch the faucet. Instead, use white vinegar. Pour some on a clean cloth and wipe the faucets. It doesn't take much effort to make them sparkle.

10 Clean the Microwave Like a Champ.
The inside of your microwave probably looks like a war zone, and baked-on food, especially if it has been sitting for days or longer, can be tough to remove. The trick: Have the microwave help you. Put a coffee cup full of water in the microwave and heat it up until it's boiling hot. "This creates moisture that loosens up anything on the top, sides, or bottom of the microwave. Then take a damp cloth and wipe the surfaces clean.

11 Vacuum in Rows.
The secret to effective and efficient vacuuming is to Do the entire length of the room in a straight row, then move over and start again at the front of the room. Vacuum high-traffic areas once a week.

12 Speed-Clean Regularly.
If you really want to cut down your cleaning time, then you really need to clean more often. Once you've deep-cleaned your house, give it a once-over every couple of weeks. It'll keep the place looking nice and spare you the long, agonizing job of doing several months' worth of cleaning at once.

Try these out and let me know if it helps you cut your cleaning time in half. If you have any cleaning tips or techniques send me an email at the address above. And, as always, remember dirty work is clean fun!

The Beauty Parlor

By Christy Ray


With the craziness that this year has brought comes wild eyebrows, for some. We have gotten use to going out and getting them done, well that has not been possible lately. What can you do? There are things you can try at home or with a friend.

Get a at home wax set. Find a stencil that fits the eyebrow look you want and make it happen. I know that can be scary to do on your own though. There are little brow trimmers you can get, and at least trim them down some to keep them from being out of control. And, to be completely old fashion, get a set of tweezers. Then, slowly make your way through both sides going the same way as the hair is facing, which will take away some of the discomfort. Trying to gage and make them close to the same can be hard, but it is possible. A good thing to remember, your eyebrows are sisters not twins. They do not have to be identical.

I have also seen the eye brow tattoo as an option.

Below is an eyebrow shape and size guide that may be helpful, enjoy!
The style that fits the face.
Oval face shape: soft angled that goes straight up and then gently curves round at the top down.
Round face shape: High arched eyebrow shape makes the face appear less rounded by making the face appear longer.
Long face shape: A flat brow shape makes a long face appear shorter.
Square face shape: Angled eyebrows with thicker stronger color and curved shape balances or softens your heavier jaw line.
Heart face shape: Rounded low arch curve brow shape makes the heart shape face soft, feminine and attractive.
Diamond face shape: Curves or a round brow stencil will both soften your look and make the widest portion of your face look slimmer.

Healthy Bites

By Vicki Wherry

Feed A Virus? Starve A Virus?

As we enter the fall and winter seasons, boosting our immune system becomes more important, especially this season. Viruses are floating throughout the air, catching each of us unaware and often wondering exactly which virus is hidden in our tissues – cold, flu, covid-19 or something else. What exactly is a virus anyway? We can start with what it isn’t. It isn’t a bacterium. It’s a much tinier organism, one that technically is not a living organism as is a bacterium. It cannot produce energy, reproduce, eat or perform other actions as does a living molecule. It is a package that carries a small amount of genetic content, DNA or RNA, material, usually between three to six genes. We are surrounded by billions of viruses inside and outside our bodies, above, below, in the water, in the air and in the soil. Without them, we, and our planet, would not exist. When we produce antibodies to a virus, they are not produced by the virus, but by a protein created by the genetic information within the virus. Under normal conditions, viruses will not make us ill. Our cells are designed to receive and duplicate a specific number of viruses, and it is when that number exceeds its limit, that the cell dies, opening up to release the viruses within, which will then repeat the process with other cells.

For example, if a cell is designed to hold six viruses, but it contains more than six, that cell, will die, burst open and each of those viruses will invade more cells, causing the new infected cells to exceed their limit, die, burst and repeat the process again and again. Before you know it, those viruses are making you ill.

Not all cells in our body are the same. Cells within the lungs will hold a specific number of viruses, while cells within the liver may hold a different number. If the virus attacks the liver, our symptoms will be different than if the virus attacks the lungs. Thus, different people can be infected with the same virus but have varying symptoms.

While inflammation from a viral infection is normal, sometimes a virus will cause such a severe immune response, called a cytokine reaction that it leads to wide-spread inflammation, stressing our immune system beyond control. With Covid-19, the cytokine storm causes cells in the airway to develop excessive inflammation, swell and die, resulting in respiratory difficulty. Who is at risk for Covid-19? Everyone, but those over 65 and smokers, as well as individuals who are affected with obesity, hypertension, diabetes, lung and cardiac disease, cancer and autoimmune diseases are at greater risk.

The most common symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell and taste, fever, muscle ache and gastrointestinal distress. Sepsis can also occur, a widespread infection which can cause death. One of the best ways to lower our risk of catching a virus or decreasing its severity if we should contract it, is to build up our immune system and to lower our risk. From a dietary perspective, here are some suggestions.
Decrease your intake of carbohydrates and processed foods. High carbohydrate intake will spike insulin and can cause insulin resistance. These can result in diabetes and obesity which affect the immune system. The Covid-19 virus enters the cell through a doorway called ACE2. Obesity increases the number of ACE2 doorways by increasing the number of fat cells, thus giving the virus an open invitation. Replace those processed foods with fruits and vegetables, and please, eat them, don’t drink them!

Focus on high quality protein. If you are a vegan, this will be more difficult. Legumes and grains, when combined correctly, can provide the complete protein you need, but still, the highest quality protein is found in animal products such as eggs, pastured poultry, grass-fed beef, seafood and fish, as well as pastured pork. Dairy products are another excellent source.

Eat fat! Fat is not the enemy. It provides warmth for your body, as well as protection for your organs and cells. Fat also helps you digest protein. Focus on monounsaturated fats such as olive oil and avocado oil. Coconut oil, grass-fed butter and ghee are also good choices.

Get your vitamin C! Not only is it found in immune cells, but it can enhance immune cell production. It aids in reducing inflammation. Cooking can destroy up to 25% of the vitamin C in food, so be careful not to over-cook vitamin C containing food. The highest amounts are found in berries, guava, citrus fruits, broccoli, kiwi and Bell peppers. When supplements are used, 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams are generally safe, however, some individuals may experience some gastrointestinal discomfort.

Vitamin D may be one of the most important vitamins for the immune system. It not only has the potential as an anti-inflammatory, but may also help destroy bacteria and viruses. When supplementing, be sure to use the D3 form. It is most affective when taken in conjunction with vitamin K2. Suggested dosages vary from person to person and some people may have a genetic issue with absorbing the vitamin. Suggested amounts are 2,000 to 5,000 International Units with 50 to 90 micrograms of vitamin K2. The amount of vitamin D3 you take, not only depends on your genetic disposition, but your age (the older you are, the more you may need), where you live (living in a northern area requires more supplementation), whether or not you use sun screen, and how much body fat you have. When looking for a vitamin D3 supplement, try to purchase one with an olive oil base.

Don’t forget the zinc! This little mineral is an antimicrobial and helps prevent viral replication. When used as a supplement, it’s best taken on an empty stomach in conjunction with vitamin C. The suggested dosage is 50 milligrams. If gastrointestinal distress occurs, take it with food. Zinc is necessary for insulin production and helps protect pancreatic cells. It is found in dark chocolate, shellfish (especially oysters), red meat, nuts (especially Brazil nuts), pumpkin and sesame seeds, dark poultry meat, salmon, liver and egg yolks. Blackstrap molasses is another good source. Combine it with a little fat and it’s even better.

Glutathione is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and may have some prophylactic effect against viral illness. It protects our cells against oxidative damage and aids in are red blood cell formation. It is found in sulfur containing foods such as onions, garlic, cauliflower, cabbage, cumin, asparagus, turmeric, broccoli and avocadoes. If used as a supplement, take 500 milligrams 45 to 60 minutes before eating or drinking on an empty stomach. You can slowly increase the dosage to 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams. The liposomal form is better absorbed. You should avoid taking it with other supplements.

Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will suppress the immune system. It can also deplete the body of other nutrients that may aid with maintaining a healthy immunity against bacterial and viral infections.

Include probiotic foods in your diet. They act as an anti-inflammatory and boost the immune system. You may want to avoid probiotic dairy choices during a viral or bacterial infection as they can produce mucus. Probiotic containing foods include Greek yogurt, sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha, pickled and fermented vegetables and kefir. You can supplement with a probiotic capsule as well.

Other supplements and nutrients providing immune system support include curcumin (found in turmeric), vitamin A, and magnesium and bone broth. When using turmeric, be sure to use a little black pepper with it. Bone broth acts as an expectorant, as well as a nutrition-packed food. Supplementing with a multivitamin may be helpful, especially during the fall and winter seasons. When purchasing a multivitamin, look for one with chelated minerals and methylated B vitamins. Herbs such as oregano, lemon balm, sage and thyme are also helpful in reducing illness.

While nutrition is important for immune support, don’t forget fresh air, exercise, and meditation and sleep (seven to nine hours each night).

Although we can’t avoid exposure to germs, we can do our best to minimize their effect on our health. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of nutrient-dense foods, avoiding empty calories, especially sugar, highly processed foods and alcohol, and practicing proper hygiene and other lifestyle habits will make our flu and cold season a little less complicated. Stay safe and healthy, and if you have any questions, contact me via my email at the top of this article.

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

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine

In the northern hemisphere many of us will be, hopefully, gathering with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. One dish that I just can’t wait for is my mom’s stuffing. It is pretty basic, but oh so good. Hope you try it out!

What is the difference between stuffing and dressing?
Traditionally stuffing is cooked inside the turkey or chicken, while dressing is cooked in a baking dish in the oven.

What kind of bread should you use?
This is up to your personal preference, but there are many different types of bread you can use in stuffing. I personally like to use bakery sliced bread, French bread, or sourdough bread. But other options may include sandwich bread, baguettes, rustic artisan loaves, and rye.

Classic Stuffing recipe
12 cups bread cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme (sticks discarded)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
2 large eggs
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

Preparing Bread Cubes:
Method 1; Place your bread cubes in a large bowl and let them sit on the counter covered for 1-2 days to dry out. Stir the bread cubes every once in a while.
Method 2; If you don't have time to air-dry your bread, you can toast them. Lay bread cubes on baking sheets in a single layer and toast at 250 degrees for 45-60 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Transfer bread cubes to a large bowl.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a skillet, melt the butter and add the onion and celery. Sautee until vegetables are soft.
Pour mixture into the bowl with the bread. Add the parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir together.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the chicken broth and whisk together.
Pour mixture over bread cubes and mix well.
Pour into prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes until top is golden brown and middle is set.

Note: there are many other ingredients you can add to stuffing such as sausage, bacon, jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, apples, cranberries, and nuts.

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart


What goes up but never comes down?

Answer to October’s riddle:
How do you spell candy with just two letters?

C and Y.

Brain Buster

all About U
That is about the letter U. See how many of these U-related questions you can answer.

What are the names of two state capitals that end in the letter U?
the word you, Y-O-U, 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?
What common four-letter word contains a silent U in the third position? Hint in the question.
What common household item has a double, U in its name?
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?

Answers to October’s brain buster:
Grin plus W. Wring
Togs plus H. Ghost
Fine plus K. Knife
Tens plus C. Scent
Hans plus G. Gnash
Bride plus S. Debris
Nomad plus L. Almond
Retint plus W. Written
No shame plus D. Handsome

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