The Consumer Vision – Jan 2017

Address: 359 Coggeshall St., New Bedford, MA 02746
Phone: 508-994-4972
Email: branco182@verizon.net
Website: http://www.consumervisionmagazine.com
Publisher: Bob Branco
Editor: Terri Winaught
Proofreader: Leonore Dvorkin

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Each article’s title will be separated from its author by three asterisks ***.

For your convenience and to make using your browser’s search feature easier, three asterisks *** will also be used between articles.

Finally, three asterisks *** will be used between recipes in Karen Crowder’s column as well as Readers’ Forum and Special Notices when those features contain more than one item.

1. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR *** by Terri Winaught

2. HEALTH MATTERS: The Benefits of Nuts *** by Leonore Dvorkin

3. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF *** by Dennis R. Sumlin

4. TECH CORNER: To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade: The big question of going to Windows 10 *** by Stephen A. Theberge

5. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH *** by James R. Campbell

6. THE MOUNT EVEREST OF EQUALITY *** by Brian Coppola

7. OPINION CORNER: Will You Do My Homework for Me? *** by Bob Branco (originally published in Word Matters, http://www.ernestdempsey.com)

8. SPECIAL NOTICES *** Submitted by Readers and Compiled by Bob Branco

9. WEATHER OR NOT *** by Steven Roberts

10. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: Living and Working with Guide Dogs *** by Ann Chiappetta

11. TURNING POINT *** by Terri Winaught

12. READERS’ FORUM *** Submitted by Readers and Compiled by Bob Branco

13. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too) *** by Penny Fleckenstein

14. RECIPE COLUMN *** by Karen Crowder

15. THE TRUTH ABOUT MULTILEVEL MARKETING, Part One *** by Jose Tamayo

16. WHILE ON DISPLAY *** by John Justice

17. THE DIFFERENCE A NICE DRESS COAT AND BRIGHT FUZZY CAP CAN MAKE *** by Ernie Jones

18. CHIMES AT CHRISTMAS *** by Karen Crowder

19. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST: Answers to December’s Question, Winners, and January’s Question *** Submitted by Bob Branco

***

1. LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Hello, Consumer Vision Readers.

Since it is still 2016 as I write this, I want to start by wishing you health of mind, body, and spirit in 2017. I also hope that the holiday tradition you celebrated in December 2016 was rich in family, fellowship, and those treasures that no amount of money can buy.

As part of wishing you all good things, I hope that none of you were in shopping malls the day after Christmas when fighting broke out—some of which, it seems, was instigated by posts on social media. Whatever caused or exacerbated this unnecessary conflict, I hope all of you are safe and well.

On a different note, Publisher Bob Branco wrote in the December issue about significant changes being made to this magazine, such as the new columns on health and self-image. Starting this month, I will introduce “Turning Point,” my column on mental health. As a person who works in the mental health field and who also has two clinical diagnoses, I will be using my first column to share my recovery story. For the longest time, the stigma around mental health—some of which still exists—was such that professionals believed that recovery was not possible, which meant that maintenance was the best outcome one could hope for. Unfortunately, that belief was very much instilled in persons with psychiatric issues. I hope that my story, and additional information that I will provide in future columns, will begin to dispel this myth and break down stigma.

If any of you want to share your story in my column, you can reach me by phone at 412-263-2022 or by email at twinaught@comcast.net. Please be assured and reassured that your story will be presented with the utmost respect, part of which includes my willingness to use a pseudonym instead of your name, or your initials rather than your name.

Finally, I want to commend everyone who has introduced a new column for taking that initiative and continuing Consumer Vision’s tradition of excellence. I also want to thank those writers who have shared their gifts with us and are continuing to do so. That appreciation is also extended to Publisher Bob Branco and Proofreader Leonore Dvorkin.

Take care. Happy New Year, and thanks for reading with me.
Sincerely,
Terri Winaught, Editor

***

2. HEALTH MATTERS

The Benefits of Nuts
by Leonore H. Dvorkin
C 2007 / Reprinted in January 2017

About 1% of the American population is allergic to tree nuts and/or peanuts, but those who do not suffer from that misfortune can benefit in numerous ways from the regular consumption of a variety of nuts.

Nuts are very high in several important nutrients. They are so high in protein that the USDA Food Guide Pyramid puts them in the meat category! Nuts are good sources of several minerals. Delicious cashews, my own favorite, are rich in copper, magnesium, and calcium. Nuts are also high in Vitamin E, fiber, and selenium.

Even though nuts are relatively high in fat calories, those fats are primarily the “good” polyunsaturated and monounsaturated kinds, which can help lower cholesterol. Nuts contain oleic acid, the same heart-healthy fat that is found in olive oil. Walnuts in particular contain high levels of ALA, an omega-3 fat. Omega-3 fats may help the body reduce inflammation that can lead to heart disease and cancer. They can also lower LDL cholesterol, the dangerous kind; almonds seem to be particularly good at lowering cholesterol. The Harvard Nurses Study found that women who eat just five ounces of nuts per week (one ounce = about 18 almonds) had a 35% lower risk of heart disease than women who seldom or never ate nuts.

Men should note that the arginine in nuts can help overcome erectile dysfuntion, lower elevated blood pressure, and boost immunity. Women should note that Brazil nuts are very high in selenium, which University of Illinois researchers determined can help prevent breast cancer. It may also help protect against lung, bowel, and prostate cancer. Nuts and other foods rich in magnesium (such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, blackstrap molasses, green leafy vegetables, and potatoes in their skins) may significantly reduce the risk of diabetes.

Many people are interested in any food that can help them with weight control. In this role, nuts are surprising stars. The good fats in nuts satisfy appetites, with the result that most people can snack on a handful of nuts a couple of times a day and then manage to cut their intake of low-nutrient snack foods. The fiber and pectin in apples has much the same effect, so a morning snack of nuts and an afternoon snack of an apple can go a long way toward satisfying “the munchies” that most of us get between meals. I also like a handful of mixed nuts on my morning cereal. The nuts increase both the density and the protein content of any cereal, making the satisfying feeling of fullness last a lot longer.

Taped to the inside of one of our kitchen cabinets is a chart comparing the nutrients and calories in nine different kinds of nuts, from almonds and Brazil nuts to pistachios and walnuts. Here are some facts from that chart. Almonds and peanuts contain the most protein. Macadamia nuts and pecans are the highest in calories. Hazelnuts (filberts) and macadamia nuts are very high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat. Walnuts and Brazil nuts are the highest in polyunsaturated fat. Almonds and hazelnuts are the standouts when it comes to Vitamin E content, and cashews and pistachios have the most iron. Macadamia nuts and peanuts have the most fiber, and almonds contain the most calcium.

Hmm. It looks as though almonds and almond butter deserve their good reputation and popularity! But it’s also clear that peanuts (actually legumes) and pure, natural peanut butter are not only cheap and tasty, but very good for you, as well as lower in calories than many true nuts. An African recipe I like calls for the addition of a tablespoon of peanut butter and a pinch of cumin to a pot of hot tomato soup. The result is different and delicious.

When you buy pure peanut butter and nut butters, you will notice that oil separation has occurred in the jar. No problem. Just remove the cap of the jar and heat the jar in the microwave oven for about one minute. Put the jar on a couple of paper towels in case a little oil should spill out, and then stir the contents with a table knife until all the oil is blended into the nut butter. Replace the cap and refrigerate the jar. The oil will not separate out again.

Where to buy nuts? Buying them at a health food store may assure you of greater freshness and purity. Refrigerate or freeze any nuts that you don’t plan to eat up pretty quickly. Given that different nuts offer somewhat different health benefits, you may choose to buy containers of mixed nuts. The nuts at Costco are both low-priced and high in quality and taste. Their Kirkland Mixed Nuts are the best I have ever tasted. That’s a pleasing mix of cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, peanut oil, and salt. Costco also sells bags of individual nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans. We keep nuts around all the time and enjoy some every day, confident that we’re getting lots of health benefits along with all that good flavor. //

The above was originally published in a Denver magazine in 2007. To see the original article and a photograph taken by the author, go to: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/henu/benuts.php

Leonore H. Dvorkin tutors languages and teaches exercise classes (mainly weight training) in her Denver home. She and her husband, David Dvorkin, also edit books and help the authors self-publish them in e-book and print formats. Bob Branco and several of the regular contributors to this magazine are among their many clients. Leonore is also the author of four books of her own, both fiction and nonfiction, and David Dvorkin is the author of 27 published books. Full details of Leonore’s services and publications are at: http://www.leonoredvorkin.com/

***

3. THE IMAGE OF YOURSELF
by Dennis R. Sumlin

HOW EACH DAY IS JANUARY 1

Across the country and across the world, people have a wide variety of traditions when it comes to bringing in the new year. You can party, eat specific foods, set off fireworks, or stand around Times Square 12 hours ahead of time to watch a giant glowing thing fall as you listen to modern day pop singers lip-sync their way to a new year.

One of the most popular traditions is the New Year’s resolution. When you resolve to do something, you are making a commitment to yourself. You are setting a goal, and you saddle up to achieve that goal.

You may resolve to stop eating cake, break up with a partner, take a class, or dance naked to Taylor Swift songs as a way to exercise. The question is, why wait for the new year?

JANUARY 1

The symbolism of the New Year’s resolution is to begin again. Start fresh, with a clean slate, and come out better for it.

According to a 2014 University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology study, 45% of Americans usually make these top of the year declarations with another 17% doing it sometimes.

THE WISH LIST

What do people want? According to the same study, these are the top five resolutions that people make.

• Lose weight.
• Get organized.
• Spend less, save more.
• Enjoy life to the fullest.
• Stay fit and healthy.

They sound like good goals, right? I could use a little 2, and more of 3. I am sure many of us could.

WHY NOT DO THEM NOW!

As I look at these lists and numbers, I wonder, why not do them now? Why not start to save money now? Why not start to lose the weight now? Why not take control now?

If you think you should stop eating those extra five slices of cake after dinner, stop it now! If you think you should forklift yourself off your mammy’s couch and get a life, hop up now! If you are good enough to upgrade your wardrobe after the first of the year, you are good enough to do it now!

Out of the people who try and take off on the first goal, that of losing weight, 24% totally fail, and another 49% have only occasional success. That cake tastes great!

IT IS ALWAYS THE FIRST DAY

Each day you have a fresh start. Each day can be the start of your own personal January 1. Make a list of things you want to do on the first, and start phasing them in now. Take each resolution, and make a step-by-step plan of action. Many people fail at this New Year’s stuff because they do not plan. After six months, 54% of people have already slacked off on the January Jig.

Just because you did not reach a goal should not stop you from trying again, and you do not have to wait for another roll of the 365 to do it. What things do you want to improve upon right now? What things are you putting off that you could be doing now?

Dennis can be reached at Dennis@LifeThroughStrength.com.

***

4. TECH CORNER

To Upgrade or Not to Upgrade: The Big Question of Going to Windows 10
by Stephen A. Theberge

It has always been a concern of people to keep up with the latest technology, or to remain in the comfort zone of what they know. Unfortunately, a time will come when your favorite software will become obsolete. This is by design.

Most people concerned with accessibility are very happy to stay with Windows 7. I was one of those folks, but my old computer is on its last legs. My new machine came with Windows 10. I went in kicking and screaming. I want to prepare you all for the eventuality of the future. I suppose a new version of Windows will be out before many of you upgrade.

Windows 10 is, I’ve been told, more visually pleasing than was Windows 7, but this isn’t a concern with those concerned with accessibility issues. The biggest concern is being able to adapt and learn new “hunting tactics.”

Without going into too much detail, I can say that Windows 10 makes things more complicated. In general, you need more keystrokes to achieve the same tasks. Things have been moved or “hidden.” Once you commit yourself, it really isn’t very bad.

The first big issues are that you have to reinstall some of your settings, even if you’ve backed up your sacred files. Some of this redundancy is probably for security.

Movie Player and Media Player aren’t standard in Windows. I found Media Player in the search and was able to reinstall it and play my music in a manner which was more accessible and frankly more commonsense than is the case in the new version. I found that Windows 10 has a lot more advertising and wants you to look in the “WinStore.” They seem to have gone the “Apple route” in that regard. With the new touch-screen machines, one can use gestures with JAWS.

The new JAWS 18 has a lot more voices. The “Eloquence” voice sounds horrible, but the Samantha voice seems good. NVDA works well with the Edge browser, but you have more functionality with Internet Explorer 11 or Firefox. I had to reconfigure Thunderbird and needed a program to bring my old email.

I will not argue the various differences among the different screen reading programs. It is all a matter of balance. One program might be better than another in some regards. You have to weigh what features are important to you. NVDA is a great screen reader, if you can deal with the limited voice options. Sometimes it outperforms JAWS in some areas. JAWS does have a lot of functionality, which can be daunting to many.

I have heard that some computers don’t have support for playing DVDs. Mine had Cyber Link DVD, but it was not accessible in any reasonable fashion. I have heard that VLC Media Player is accessible; at least the videos online confirm this.

There is much more on the taskbar and less on the desktop. This can be configured pretty easily. Since we aren’t concerned with the look of the screen, any setup we find comfortable is fine.

There are a lot of options in the search menu. Sometimes I find going to the desktop and hitting ALT + F4 brings a much more elegant way to shut down Windows 10.

An issue with the Recycle Bin, and indeed any new software in the new version, is the plethora of ribbons. These are fine for the average Joe, but a nightmare for screen reader users. Once you figure out where all your features and options are, you are usually given a shortcut key combination to make it easier in the future.

I had the devil of a time navigating the recycle. One would have thought they would have put this option near the beginning of the list.

I am still not thrilled with the Windows 10 world. Yet, I recall the “good old days.” We kicked and screamed our way into Windows 3.1, Windows 95, and so forth. I went kicking and screaming into the iDevices, which I must say are quite accessible, but they lock and freeze just as Windows does from time to time.

One big issue I had was that a lot of programs were changing focus on me. I’d navigate to one, only to have JAWS reading another screen. I found a lot of this had to do with the touchpad. The new keyboard on my computer was smaller, and the touchpad was closer to my thumbs than was my old one. I changed the sensitivity in settings and seem to have avoided much of this problem. Sometimes Windows will freeze and throw me in the wrong place. Luckily I didn’t cut my thumbs off before I made this problem better.

The lesson I’ve learned is that no technology is the answer. They all have problems. Improvements come, only to introduce new pitfalls. This conundrum is not restricted to accessibility. We must decide where we want to invest our energy and resources. If I’d written this article yesterday, I’d have been much more emotional. There is nothing wrong with basing decisions on that, as long as we are aware of the facts.

I’d recommend waiting as long as possible before upgrading to any new technology. At the same time, the longer you do so, the harder it is to catch up.

To read about and buy my book, The MetSche Message, go to:
http://www.dvorkin.com/stephentheberge/

Watch my YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQbs0c1vLDuYmb08okZSk8g/videos

Stephen Theberge

***

5. COMMENTARY AFTERMATH
by James R. Campbell

I am James R. Campbell of Odessa, Texas. I would like to welcome you to my monthly current events column, “Commentary Aftermath.” I will be covering a wide range of topics from world and national news, as well as Texas news and local stories from the Permian Basin Area.

The column is named in honor of the late Mike Waddles, a TSB classmate who died one year ago today as the result of the effects of a stroke. Mike was interested in current events, a trait we shared in high school. Mike was a lifelong Democrat and an active member of the National Federation of the Blind. As a member of NFB, he fought diligently for the welfare of, and progress for, the blind.

In 1972, one of our friends from TSB got a cassette recorder for Christmas. Beginning in January of ’72, he began recording our political discussions, which were a daily activity in the afternoons. Mike gave it a name, “Commentary Aftermath.” I can only hope that I can shoulder the burden of keeping the spirit alive, as Mike would have wanted. That being said, let us begin our journey together.

I have no doubt that most people are sick and tired of hearing about the election of 2016. As with most elections, especially since 1960, the media has worn down the public with constant coverage. This election is historical for many reasons, primarily due to the vitriol and public squabbles that have been its hallmark.

The battle began in June of 2015 when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the White House. He made a negative impression on many due to his speech in which he denounced the government of Mexico and promised to build a wall across our southern border. As the months rolled by, other disturbing comments came to light, chiefly locker room remarks with regard to his treatment of women and his continuous clashes with protesters and the press.

On the other side, Trump’s supporters wanted change. They were concerned about Obamacare, our safety at home and abroad, and Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, specifically her actions, or lack of action, in Libya.

On November 8, the voters made their choice, but even now there is conflict. Both candidates are still throwing mud at each other because of the Electoral College. Protesters have filled the streets in opposition to Trump. For my part, I never felt that we would be completely safe with him. I am vehemently opposed to building a wall to keep out the illegal immigrants. That sounds too much like the Berlin wall, and we all know where that led.

I am in favor of putting jobs on American soil, rebuilding the military, and a much tougher stand against the Islamic State. Some voters are disillusioned by the fact that Donald Trump has dialed back on some of his campaign pledges. Many want Hillary prosecuted for the Libya debacle, among other things. I don’t want Obamacare. I have been around too many nurses to know what they think of it. When your premiums go up 100%, that’s not affordable health care.

If the Electoral College votes for Hillary Clinton on December 19, it will be unprecedented in our history. I am not sure that it is even legal for them to do so. The Electoral College was created to make sure that the small states got a fair shake. Apparently, as is the case with life, you can’t please everyone.

I will be glad when December 19 is over. But I will bet that the disgruntled losers will demand a court challenge. As I see it, neither candidate was worth my vote, but Dear has told me that Trump is the lesser of two evils. As this point, if he will take a stronger stand against ISIS, rebuild our military, and keep jobs at home, that is the best we can ask for.

As always, thanks for your time.
With Loving Kindness,
James R. Campbell
J.campbell@grandecom.netp

***

6. THE MOUNT EVEREST OF EQUALITY
by Brian Coppola

Dear Lainey,

Thank you very much for the opportunity to see you at Harvard Law School on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, when you promoted your Structured Negotiation book to us, including law students at Harvard. It was also such an honor and a privilege to be able to pose for a photo with you that night. Yeah, insurance companies are part of the problem. I have tried for years, now, to get legislation passed that would mandate that health insurance companies that have prescription drug coverage in their plans to cover the cost of medically necessary devices that would read aloud to those who are blind or visually impaired, so they would be able to read labeling contained on small-print-only prescription and medication labeling. The effort to do this in Massachusetts was spearheaded by me and former state senator Steven A. Baddour of Methuen, Massachusetts. The measure was reported out favorably and has been proven to be cost effective; however, when it went to the committee on healthcare financing, it was reported favorably and not brought to pass.

Prior to it being reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Financial Services, it was stuck there until the 2007-2008 biennial legislative session.

Prior to any action taken on the federal level, there was me and another man named John from Connecticut who had actually invented such a device, called the Talking RX, because he, as a pharmacist, had seen cases of blind people not following medication regimens due to not being able to read the labeling, which is small print only.

This prompted us to spearhead efforts to initiate legislative efforts to mandate that health insurance cover the costs of such devices, including the now on-loan ScripTalk patient reader for blind users. The pharmacy that has the equipment prints prescription labeling onto an embedded microchip label that is placed on the prescription’s box or vial.The ScripTalk device reads this information aloud.

More to come on this issue in the February 2017 issue of Consumer Vision.

Yours truly,
Brian J. Coppola

***

7. OPINION CORNER
by Bob Branco

Will You Do My Homework for Me?
(Originally published in Word Matters, http://www.ernestdempsey.com)

When you were a student in high school or college, did you ever ask someone to write your homework assignments for you? I believe that this practice is much more common than we realize. For some reason, many students need this type of assistance.

I have my theories, but first, let me just say that I don’t think it’s necessary or moral to have someone do your homework for you. You should be able to do it yourself, or ask the teacher to guide you. This is why we go to school. Some kids even go so far as to put ads on Craigslist looking for people to do the work for them. I think this is absolutely crazy. If I am in the same English class with my friend, and we’re both learning about the same writing techniques, why should he ask me to do his homework for him? What makes me better than him? He and I are learning the same things, so he should be able to write his own work, shouldn’t he?

I think part of the problem is procrastination. A lot of kids wait until the last minute before realizing that it’s time to do the work. They don’t think they can finish it, so they panic and ask other students to bail them out. Another reason why this happens is because a percentage of students, especially those in college, believe that sports and extracurricular activities are more important than their studies. As a result, they manage their time by delegating more important responsibilities. A third theory I have is that of a learning obstacle. A student may feel he isn’t smart enough or didn’t learn the lesson as well as the guy being asked to do the homework. Perhaps this type of student has low self-esteem, or maybe he has a learning disability. In that case, he should ask the teacher for help. It’s not embarrassing. In the long run, the student will be better off, and his work ethic will improve.

My solution to the problem in question is very simple—realize your goal. In other words, why are you in the classroom? You’re not there to delegate authority. You are there to learn. If you have a learning disability or can’t grasp the material for other reasons, there is assistance available.

At the university I attended, there is a major tutoring department for students who have difficulties in English, math, and science. Instructors are on hand to work with the kids one-on-one. All the student needs to do is motivate herself to at least attempt to get the help. If you always depend on others to do your assignments, where will it leave you down the road? How proactive will you be? How much of your lessons will you apply in real life, no matter what you decide to do with it?

Though it may be tough at times, we all need to learn to take the bull by the horns and just do what we have to do.

***

8. SPECIAL NOTICES

Books Edited and Produced by Leonore and David Dvorkin in 2016

Note: These are just some of the books we produced this year. All are in e-book and print formats from Amazon, Smashwords, and other online sellers. Details of our comprehensive services are at: http://www.dvorkin.com/epubhelp/

1. My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, by Abbie Johnson Taylor. The visually impaired author tells how she cared for her blind and partially paralyzed husband for seven years before his death in 2012. An inspiring story of love and devotion. Details: http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

2. Austin Bound, by Shelley McMullen. The author recounts the darkest and most challenging four years of her life, then tells how her decision to let go and go with God, allowing Him to steer her course, changed her attitude and eventually her life for the better. Details: http://www.dvorkin.com/smcmullen/

3. The Christmas Carriage and Other Writings of the Holiday Season, by Alice Jane-Marie Massa. A heartwarming collection of holiday memoirs (many from the author’s Indiana childhood in the 1950s and 1960s), short stories, and poetry. Includes photos of her beloved guide dogs. Details: http://www.dvorkin.com/alicemassa/

4. The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse, by Susan Bourrie. For children 5 to 9. Older children will enjoy reading this to younger ones. Enjoy the lively adventures and misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse and his friends Molly Dolly and an express reindeer as they work to make terrible Christmases terrific, tackling every new challenge with energy and imagination. Details: http://www.dvorkin.com/susanbourrie/

5. The Same Kind of Human: Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited Through Eyes of Grace, by Christine “Clarity” McDonald (author of Cry Purple). Using primarily lived experiences and Scripture, Ms. McDonald advocates for and then offers compassionate, practical advice on how to approach and help the most marginalized among us: prostitutes, drug addicts, and the homeless. (Note: As is stated in the Acknowledgements, the primary editor of this book was Britney Hamm.) Details: http://www.dvorkin.com/cmcdonald/

***

9. WEATHER OR NOT
by Steven P. Roberts

The Great Snows of 2017: Brought to you by the Dynamic, Volatile Era

Weather forecasters are calling for a cold and snowy winter in the eastern United States. If their forecasts are verified, we may have the Dynamic, Volatile Era to thank or blame.

What is the Dynamic, Volatile Era? It is an era of extreme weather caused by human-induced climate change. Over the last decade, our weather has become increasingly dynamic and volatile.

When it rains, it rains hard; storms have become much stronger. Hurricane intensity has increased in all hurricane-spawning regions. These are all elements of dynamics.

When the stock market goes up and down like a yo-yo, those markets are said to be volatile. Likewise, our weather is all over the place, as we have cold air in one place and warm air in another place. Our weather maps feature massive highs and comparably massive lows. We are also seeing an increase in the severity of drought and deluge. These temperature, pressure, and precipitation polarities are all elements of volatility.

Over the last decade, there has been considerable warming and sea ice loss in the Arctic. As the Arctic has warmed, there has been a great increase in the depth and geographic coverage in Siberian snow pack. When it is snowy in Siberia in October, the upcoming winter will be cold and snowy in the eastern United States.

The snow up in Siberia cools the overlying atmosphere, which causes Arctic blasts to overspread the eastern U.S. The Arctic blasts that come into North America from Asia are called cross-polar Arctic air masses, because that Arctic air has to cross the North Pole to come to our side of the globe.

The great snows in Siberia also bring great snows to those of us in the eastern United States. The cold air that becomes established in the eastern United States helps to carve out a huge trough. This trough helps to develop big storms down in the Gulf states, or in the Gulf of Mexico itself.

These storms will ride up the Eastern Seaboard as huge nor’easters that dump a foot or more of snow.

If current forecasts are verified, then we may be faced with many huge snowstorms this winter. I would not be the least bit surprised to see a couple of blizzards this year. As bad as this winter is predicted to be, I do not see a repeat of 2015. Let us all hope that this latter forecast is verified.

Steve’s author website is: http://www.dvorkin.com/stevenproberts/
He is the author of two books: The Whys and Whats of Weather (nonfiction, C 2014, 404 pages) and the novel The Great Winter Hurricane (C 2015, 261 pages).

***

10. THE HANDLER’S CORNER: LIVING AND WORKING WITH GUIDE DOGS
by Ann Chiappetta

Happy New Year to all of you and your two- and four-footed family members. Since this is the first article I am writing for Consumer Vision, I am excited about being here, and want to thank Bob for agreeing to give me a byline.

A little bit about me: In 2009 I was matched with my first guide dog, Verona, a black Labrador retriever from Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Yorktown Heights, N.Y. Back then, my vision was deteriorating from retinitis pigmentosa and I began feeling less and less confident using a white cane. This was a life-changing experience for me.

I retired Verona in late 2014 and resumed traveling with the white cane until March 2015, when I met Bailey, my second dog, a large yellow Labrador retriever, also from Guiding Eyes. Additionally, Verona has just earned her animal-assisted therapy dog certificate from The Good Dog Foundation, and we will soon be visiting folks in hospitals, nursing homes, and other pet- assisted therapy programs. I plan to share these events with you all as they come.

During the first five years of being a guide dog handler, or guide dog user, as some folks might say, I also became more involved in advocating for the rights of guide dog teams. Discrimination and ignorance towards people who are blind and guide dog handlers is still common; I’m sure any guide dog handler can tell stories about being refused access or feeling a bit tired of answering questions from strangers regarding his or her disability or dog. When I experienced the ignorance and access refusals, after dealing with the situation, I remained so upset, I made it a personal goal to learn how to advocate and do my part to change things to benefit access rights for guide dog users in the U.S. and internationally, if possible. Over the years, I worked with a few advocacy groups, volunteered on a national guide dog organization board of directors for five years, made presentations, and helped out other guide dog handlers who graduated from Guiding Eyes, while being a member of the graduate council.

I also continue to serve on the board of our local guide dog users’ group, focused on upholding the rights of guide dog handlers in my home state of New York. I participate in monthly presentations at elementary schools, among other activities focused on educating the public about blindness and guide dogs.

Moreover, Verona opened up a world of independence I did not experience with my cane, and as I became more confident, my friends and family realized how much a guide dog could enhance my life. When she retired, our family felt it, not just me. This is proof that our four-footed partners are just as valued as any human family member. Now that Bailey is guiding me, we have opened our hearts to another dog and the unconditional regard he provides us, and I feel extremely fortunate to have his dogginess and canine loyalty as a partner while working and traveling.

I hope to share the journey of this path of independence with all of you, our readers, and welcome comments and questions. Being able to share this journey is an honor and I hope you enjoy it. As we say in guide dog land, “Forward!”

Note: Ann Chiappetta is the author of Upwelling: Poems (C 2016).The book is available in e-book and print formats. Details and buying links: http://www.dvorkin.com/annchiappetta/
Ann has also been a guest on Branco Broadcast.

***

11. TURNING POINT
by Terri Winaught

Although much is being done to debunk mental health myths and separate fact from stigma, there is still more to be achieved.

One long-perpetuated falsehood, for example, is that recovery from mental illness is impossible. To cement the holes in that misperception with the facts of truth, I am using this column’s first segment to share my recovery story. What follows is a slightly modified version of what was initially published in The Pulse, the monthly newsletter which Pittsburgh Mercy employees receive.

In retrospect, and with hindsight being 20-20, I believe that my mental illness started when I was a child. I say that because of the extreme anxiety I experienced, especially when I was in large crowds. If I went shopping, for example, I felt so overwhelmed when in crowds that I couldn’t wait to get home.

After I experienced a variety of traumatic events, such as my husband at the time leaving me when I was eight months pregnant, and finding out that my son’s father was molesting my daughter, my mental illness became its worst. During the 1980s, my illness manifested itself in repeated, lengthy hospitalizations, suicide attempts, and suicidal thoughts.

The turning point for me was when a psychiatrist told me that I could either be discharged from Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, a Pittsburgh-based facility, and participate in intensive outpatient therapy, or voluntarily commit myself to Mayview. Not wanting any part of being in a state hospital, I felt that I had to “get myself together.”

Learning in the early 2000s that recovery from severe mental illness was possible and developing strategies for a recovery toolbox are what started me on my journey.

Of the many things that have helped me, it’s the strength that I get from faith in Jesus that helps me the most. Without the spiritual underpinnings of faith, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

If you are in recovery or know someone who is, be uplifted by the assurance that with 25% of Americans experiencing a mental health crisis at some point in their lives, and with 90% of individuals in the behavioral health system having experienced significant trauma—especially in early childhood—you’re not alone! Where there is hope, there’s a life worth living; and where there’s the resilience to work hard at a difficult process, that life worth living is a successful journey on the road to recovery!

Note: The statistics cited above come from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, http://www.samhsa.gov).

***

12. READERS’ FORUM

Hi, Bob and all Consumer Vision Staff and Readers!

Patty and Campbell here, to say we’ve just finished reading this month’s edition of Consumer Vision. We enjoyed it much. I do have a couple of comments.

First off, all the tech articles are great, and were well done. Secondly, to James and his article about Braille—BRAVO! I have just heard of a conference call that takes place, thanks to someone at Hadly School for the Blind, concerning Braille and the continuation of it, and I plan to attend. I will provide all details later. I don’t like to put my name on anything till I know of it.

To the article written by John Justice concerning beauty, I agree: Sometimes, too much pride and time go into appearance. I have to tell you, though: Most women do not go through all you describe anymore. Many of us do not wear hose, and our dresses are such that they do not require undergarments anymore. Also, with the advent of good quality and supportive bras, even we women over 40 can enjoy good, firm breasts without worry. Shaving has gotten easier as well, as has hair style.

Thanks to you, Leonore, for getting the correct info on the couple of articles you provided comment for. It is nice to see that.

All in all, your magazine was great, and I’m happy to include it on my blog this month. You can see it, The Blind Perspective, and my own The Neighborhood News, plus much more, at https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/

Thanks and have a great day.
Patty L. Fletcher
Note: My autobiographical book is Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life (C 2014). Full details are at: http://www.dvorkin.com/pattyfletcher/

***
Bob, this is not in response to anything that was published in The Consumer Vision. Instead, it’s in response to the discussion about New Year’s resolutions (or intentions) that we had on December 19th on Branco Broadcast, with Lynda Lambert. What she and the others said got me thinking, and this is what I came up with. – Leonore Dvorkin ( leonore@leonoredvorkin.com )
New Year’s Resolutions Made Easy
Written December 2016
1) Make a list of the bad habits you would like to change. (You know what they are!)
2) Make a list of the good changes you would like to implement, either new habits or one-time actions. (You know what they are!)
3) At the beginning of each month in 2017 and beyond, pick one from each category and write it down.
4) In that month, make those changes: ending something bad and starting something good. It does not matter how major or minor the change is.
5) If, at the end of the month, you find that you have made the change, reward yourself in some way.
6) If you have not succeeded in making the change, but still wish to implement it, just carry it over into the next month. Don’t be down on yourself. Keep trying.
7) Share your intentions and successes with others or not, as you like. But sharing any positive changes that you have actually made will probably make you feel all the better about yourself. And who knows? You might inspire others!
The result? A changed and improved life. At least that’s going to be my approach.
In addition, here is an odd but effective technique I read about some time ago, a technique for boosting motivation. That is, merely wash your hands with soap and cold water. No matter the season, the water has to be cold. I do this before tackling any task for which I have low enthusiasm. It’s amazing how well it works.
I wish all of you a happy, healthy, and productive 2017!
***
Hello, Bob,

Thanks for your article on texting and driving. Yes, I think that texting becomes a problem and it is a distraction. Auto manufacturers already have technologies to connect your phone to your car via Bluetooth. Apple iPhones have this feature called Hey SIRI in which the person can say: “Hey, SIRI, please text my brother.” Then it asks, “What would you like to say to your brother?” Then you can tell it what to say.

Technologies will adapt and people will be able to do their texting hands free.

Thanks again.

***

13. TIPS FOR VIPS (Because Visually Impaired People Are Important, Too)
by Penny Fleckenstein
who blogs at: http://notyouraveragesinglemom.com

Happy New Year, everyone! A new beginning comes around again. Again, I’m doing my end-of- the-year evaluation and considering my resolutions for the next year. I’m impressed with what I’ve already accomplished, but am always making more goals, bettering my intentions, and reaching for the stars. I want to do EVERYTHING. However, I must recognize my humanness and make small changes a little at a time. Whether you make resolutions or not, I hope this will be helpful to you.

I recently took a trip to Cleveland for an overnight stay. I took a friend who uses an electric wheelchair. When I made my online reservation, I didn’t specify that I needed an early check-in. We won’t make that mistake again. Neither did I check on an accessible taxicab, nor the public transportation system. It has taught me that I need to be more prepared for my next trip, especially to an unfamiliar city.

Tomorrow is like an unfamiliar city. There are so many tomorrows in a lifetime, and we have no idea how many tomorrows there will be for us. I feel I’ve spent a lot of my lifetime feeling sorry for myself, immersed in my depression. In just the past few years, I’ve determined to become more positive, practice gratitude, and be a happier person. With the help of Rori Raye at
http://havetherelationshipyouwant.com, where I purchased a $400 complete collection of programs, I learned to fully experience my emotions, face them, and release them. I have been able to find great empowerment in the choices I make. It helped me to go through with my bike trip from Pittsburgh to Cumberland, MD. That was worth every penny I spent.

I also have been reading Joel Osteen books, volunteering for World Vision at his Night of Hope, and reading Katie and Gay Hendricks’ books, as well as Marni Battista material. I have immersed myself in the past three years in my Penny Renovation and have been loving it. I have been able to accomplish all this learning here at home and by beoming more active in my community.

I have hope and faith for my future, feel great joy, and have peace in my heart. When things around me are turbulent, I have been able to use the freeing techniques I’ve learned from the Chopra Center. I don’t have to make decisions based on what my religion says. As Martha Beck has stated, I can make decisions which are kind to others and freeing to my spirit. I can unequivocally feel free to be me. How exhilarating this has all been.

So, if you’re determined not to make New Year’s resolutions, I want to encourage you to set goals for yourself. Either way, have faith for the positive, receive blessing even if you don’t believe in God, and be kind to yourself and others. I wish you the very best in 2017.

If you’d like to correspond with me about anything I’ve mentioned or have tips to contribute, please write to me at: goodthaimom@gmail.com. Also, check out my blog. Let’s forge new friendships and have great adventures.

***

14. RECIPE COLUMN
by Karen Crowder

As I revise this column on December 27th, snow threatens Massachusetts and Connecticut on Thursday, December 29th. When you read this, it will be January 2017.

If you have guests on New Year’s Day, delicious brunch dishes are appropriate. The smell of omelets, French toast, and piping hot coffee will perk up late risers.

I also have recipes for cinnamon toast and hot cocoa.

Contents
A. Crabmeat and Mushroom Omelets
B. New Year’s Day French Toast
C. Cinnamon Toast
D. Simple Hot Cocoa

A. Crabmeat and Mushroom Omelets

My friend Jenny has often spent the Christmas holidays with me. One thing she has requested on New Year’s Day is my delicious crabmeat omelets.

Ingredients:
Four large eggs
One-half cup milk
Two tablespoons butter
Four large whole mushrooms
One six-ounce can crabmeat.

Preparation:

In a large 10-12 inch cast-iron or metal skillet, melt butter for five minutes. Add broken-up mushrooms and sauté for10 minutes.
Then add crabmeat to the mushroom mixture and sauté for five minutes. While mushrooms and crabmeat are cooking, in a small mixing bowl, beat eggs for a minute with a whisk. Add milk, beating for another minute. Add egg and milk mixture to mushrooms and crabmeat. Stir ingredients with a slotted spoon. Allow omelet to cook on low heat for 20 minutes. If the top is becoming dry, turn off heat. Lift up omelet with the turner, and slide it onto a large dinner plate. Divide omelet into two pieces. It will serve two people. If you have more guests, just double the recipe. If your guests have a shellfish allergy, substitute small onions and slices of American or cheddar cheese.

Note: Anytime you are baking or cooking with eggs, they should be at room temperature. Put them in a bowl of warm water five minutes before they are to be used.

***

B. New Year’s Day French Toast

My friend Jenny and I were snowed in right after New Year’s Day 2014. A brunch of French toast, fruit, and coffee brightened up this cold, snowy day.

Ingredients:
Four slices white, whole wheat, or scali bread
(Scali bread is a type of Italian bread made mainly in the Boston area. It is a braided loaf covered with sesame seeds.)
One-half cup milk
Four large eggs
One-half teaspoon cinnamon
Four tablespoons butter or margarine
Real maple syrup.

Preparation:

In a 10-12 inch cast-iron skillet, melt butter or margarine. In a small mixing bowl, beat eggs with milk and cinnamon. Immerse the bread into the egg/milk/cinnamon mixture.

Put bread into the skillet. Cook each side of the bread for five to seven minutes on low/medium heat. Put onto large plates and serve with maple syrup. With fruit and hot coffee, this is an inviting brunch on a cold, snowy winter day.

Note: if you have egg/milk/cinnamon mixture left over, put it in an airtight plastic container and use it within five days.

***

C. Cinnamon Toast

I first had this for breakfast in elementary school. I liked it so much, my mom created a shaker with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. This makes a delicious snack on a cold night. It also makes a delicious accompaniment to scrambled eggs, fruit, and morning coffee.

Ingredients:
Two slices raisin, white, or whole wheat bread
One-tablespoon butter or margarine
Four shakes of a cinnamon/sugar mixture.

In a toaster oven, put bread and spread with butter or margarine. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for five to seven minutes. Serve toast with tea, coffee, or hot cocoa.

***

D. Simple Hot Cocoa

I began learning how to make hot cocoa when I was 18. We had no mix, so my mom and I made it with ingredients we had in our kitchen. This cocoa tastes delicious, and everyone who has tried my hot cocoa likes it.

Ingredients:
Two cups whole or low-fat milk
Four regular spoonfuls of Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa
A pinch of salt
Four spoonfuls of granulated sugar (If you are using other sweetener, use only one to two packets.)
Optional drops of vanilla
One tablespoon water.

Preparation:

In a 3-quart saucepan, measure out water, cocoa, sweetener, and salt. Stir with a spoon. Add milk and stir again. Let cocoa cook on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring infrequently. With a half measuring cup, pour hot cocoa into mugs. The wait is worth it. You can actually taste the chocolate, not the sugar in the cocoa.

I hope this holiday season has brought all Consumer Vision readers joy. Let this New Year bring all Americans blessings and a peaceful country and world.

***

15. THE TRUTH ABOUT MULTI-LEVEL MARKETING, Part One

by Jose Tamayo

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a topic that has generated quite a bit of controversy. In this first article in a series, I will work on uncovering the real truth behind the concept of network marketing or multi-level marketing. You will be shocked to learn some truths about this method of personal income. While many people have been touting multi-level marketing as a scam, others have become financially independent utilizing this vehicle as a way of life rather than a job. So, what is so compelling and controversial about multi-level marketing?

A Historical Perspective

Wikipedia provides an introduction to network marketing as follows:
“Network marketing and multi-level marketing have been described by author Dominique Xardel as being synonymous, and as methods of direct selling. Other terms that are sometimes used to describe multi-level marketing include ‘word-of-mouth marketing,’ ‘interactive distribution,’ and ‘relationship marketing.’ Critics have argued that the use of different terms and buzzwords is an effort to distinguish multi-levelmarketing from illegal Ponzi schemes, chain letters, and consumer fraud scams. Some sources classify multi-level marketing as a form of direct selling rather than being direct selling.”

The concept of network marketing can be traced back to two very interesting companies: the California Vitamin Company and the California Perfume Company, later named Nutrilite and Avon, respectively. Many argue that network marketing is not a viable source of income, but this article will attempt to allow you to be your own judge of the concept. While many people do not make money in network marketing, others have become vastly successful in making network marketing a good source of income. This article attempts to provide a significant amount of information to allow you to decide for yourself and not allow a friend or family member to determine whether this concept is good for you or not.

So, what about pyramid schemes? Are these businesses pyramid schemes?

Many pyramid schemes will attempt to present themselves as legitimate MLM businesses. However, the FTC clearly warns against these illegal schemes by providing some guidelines. One of the very important things to know about pyramid schemes is that they are illegal. Another important point to look for is that you will know if a multi-level business is a pyramid when associates get paid for recruiting people. No legal multi-level marketing business will pay you for recruiting members into the business. So, this is one good way to know if a multi-level business is illegal. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission says the following: “Steer clear of multilevel marketing plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors. They’re illegal pyramid schemes.” Wikipedia states: “Why is pyramiding dangerous? Because plans that pay commissions for recruiting new distributors inevitably collapse when no new distributors can be recruited. And when a plan collapses, most people—except perhaps those at the very top of the pyramid—end up empty-handed.”

Here is another tip from the FTC. In a 2004 Staff Advisory letter to the Direct Selling Association, the FTC states: “Much has been made of the personal, or internal, consumption issue in recent years. In fact, the amount of internal consumption in any multi-level compensation business does not determine whether the FTC will consider the plan a pyramid scheme. The critical question for the FTC is whether the revenues that primarily support the commissions paid to all participants are generated from purchases of goods and services that are not simply incidental to the purchase of the right to participate in a money-making venture.”

The Federal Trade Commission warns: “Not all multilevel marketing plans are legitimate. Some are pyramid schemes. It’s best not to get involved in plans where the money you make is based primarily on the number of distributors you recruit and your sales to them, rather than on your sales to people outside the plan who intend to use the products.”

So, what next, how to get involved?

When the question of network marketing comes up, just be informed and not afraid. Ask questions and do your research. If you are being promised millions of dollars for no effort, truly this is not a legitimate business. If you are told that the compensation plan will make you rich in no time without work, be aware that the truth is that network marketing requires work. You are building a force of people who, between sales and personal consumption, are moving merchandise. The big deal with network marketing is that you can build a team of people who can duplicate a simple concept to build an organization. An organization is built on people.

In next month’s article, we will discuss how experts regard network marketing or multi-level marketing. When looking at network marketing, just know that it is a legitimate business and there are some good sources to research which will aid you in deciding.

On December 26, 2016, Jose Tamayo appeared on Branco Broadcast to discuss this concept and to review market leaders nationally and globally. Stay tuned for more information.

***

16. WHILE ON DISPLAY
by John Justice

As a fully functional blind person working in the public, have you ever felt like an animal in a zoo and that the people come and watch you just to see what you’ll do next? It’s like that commercial where the naturalist is watching the Gecko lizard and all the little guy is doing is trying to have a cup of tea. Sometimes, if you let it, this ridiculous situation will drive you up a wall.

When we were first married, Linda and I lived in a large apartment complex. Our patio was right out in front, and everyone could easily see us. When I used the grill for the first time, one guy ran his car up on the lawn because he was watching me instead of where he was driving. The fact is that in the beginning, I wasn’t very good with the grill. It was never dangerous, but trying to manipulate a gas grill when you’re blind does take some experience. I was making ribs at the time, and this was one of those old barbecue grills with the lava rocks beneath the cooking grate. Ribs tend to be a bit oily at times, and when you add the sauce, you get what is called a “flare-up.” That is a good description. Some oil or sauce will collect on the rocks and then catch fire. The best thing to do is to move the ribs away from the flame and then let it burn out by itself. That may take a minute or so, but in the meantime, smoke comes out of the grill and it can look a bit scary.

This guy was ready to get his fire extinguisher. I was very concerned, to say the least, but I wasn’t about to let a sighted neighbor get the idea that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. Can you imagine the long-range effect of that? The next thing you know, we’d be getting a note from the management saying we couldn’t use our grill because we’re blind. Don’t laugh, friends. It could happen. Anyway, by some miracle, or perhaps a healthy dose of common sense, I did the right thing. I used a long-handled spatula and slid the ribs to another part of the grill that wasn’t flaring at the time. In a minute or two, the oil burned away and the flames subsided. With a sighted person, that wouldn’t have been a problem. No one would have noticed, or if they did, they would have made a brief comment about stupid, careless people and moved on. But because I am blind, it became the greatest show on earth.

I think that some people expect you to have an accident every minute if you happen to be blind. One day, I realized that the antenna cable for my CB radio had gone bad. I wasn’t getting good reception, and my signal strength had gone way down. So I bought a 50-foot cable and was getting ready to replace it. That involved using a 10-foot ladder, climbing up to where the cable was connected, removing the old cable, and replacing it. The ladder was set securely and I wasn’t in any danger. But judging by the response of the neighbors, I was committing the crime of the century by going up there as a blind man. I had at least three offers of assistance after I was already up on the ladder and doing the work. Thanks, but no thanks, gentlemen. The new cable was installed in less than 15 minutes.

What do these people expect us to do? I suppose we’re going to have to wait until some sighted person comes along. The silly part of this is that the person might or might not be very handy. Maybe he might fall off the ladder, and then it would be lawsuit time. I just can’t figure it out, not even after 71 years. Yet when you really need help, like going to the drugstore for a prescription or picking up a carton of milk, nobody is there. I guess the key to this is that you have to be visible, doing something your sighted neighbors might think is dangerous. Their imagination does the rest. They get images in their head of burning buildings or people flying off ladders, and they are compelled to act. But when you need something mundane, like driving to the drugstore, there’s no fun, blood, or fire in it, so they aren’t interested.

What can be done about this? Not a darned thing. I guess we just go on and do what we can, zoo or no zoo. But God help the blind man who makes a mistake. That will turn him from a hero to a liability in no time at all.

Personal email of John and Linda Justice: john_justice@verizon.net
For full information about John Justice’s two published books, which are It’s Still Christmas and The Paddy Stories, Book One, go to: http://www.dvorkin.com/johnjustice/

***

17. THE DIFFERENCE A NICE DRESS COAT AND BRIGHT FUZZY CAP CAN MAKE
by Ernie Jones

With a few flicks of his scoop shovel, Arthur had the mouth to their driveway cleared. That day, the snowplow driver had actually backed up the grader, curved in, and scooped out almost all the heavy snow he had filled the mouth of their driveway with. He had even cleared the snow away from in front of the mailbox so the postal route mail carrier could deliver their mail. The bank of snow left by the grader stood four feet tall along the road and over five feet high on both sides of the driveway. Smiling as he worked, Arthur completed in 10 minutes the task that other days would have taken a full hour.

This morning, Ellen had been out shoveling in the driveway. Actually, they both were, but Arthur had just stepped into the house for a minute when the snowplow came back on its last pass. The driver started to wave but then he stopped the grader. Backing up the road about 15 feet, he turned towards their place, clearing away the snow from in front of the mailbox and then removing almost all the snow he had shoved into their driveway. Then, with a wave and smile, he was on his way.

Returning, Arthur surveyed the scene and was delighted to find his hardest work already done. “What happened? he asked.

“I don’t know,” Ellen replied. “The driver just stopped; then, with a smile and a wave, he scooped out all that mess before heading down the road.”

After every snowstorm, Arthur would shovel the driveway, which was 75 feet long and wide enough for two cars, and would usually just finish when the plow would roll up the hill. Actually, the snowplow was usually a road grader used in winter to move snow and in summer to smooth the gravel roads. Occasionally it would be a large truck with a blade out in front and the large dump truck filled with sand, spreading sand and fine rock over the icy roads.

Arthur didn’t mind shoveling snow. It was invigorating exercise. Besides this driveway, he had to clear the path to the coop, another trail about 100 feet long to the barn, plus clear the front deck and the boardwalks to the wood shed and fruit shed. He also had to clear the walk and bridge leading up to where he parked their vehicle. What he didn’t like was moving that heavy snowpack left by the snowplow.

A few weeks later, after another snowstorm, Arthur was out shoveling when the snowplow passed. With a smile, the driver gave a wave and continued on down the road, once again leaving Arthur the task of opening up their driveway.

After the next snow, Ellen was out with the shovel, wearing her old work coat, and again the snowplow driver smiled and waved as he continued down the road. Once again Arthur had to clear away that heavy, packed snow that filled 15 feet of their driveway entrance.

There was one more late winter snowstorm, and again Ellen was out with the shovel, this time wearing her best heavy coat and a bright fuzzy cap over her head. Once again, on his last pass, the snowplow driver scooped out the mess of snow from the driveway, and with a smile and wave he was gone.

The light began to shine into Arthur’s brain as he stepped up to finish the shoveling. “I know now,” he said as he completed the work. But they had to wait until another winter came to prove his theory.

The next winter they had the answer. If he was out shoveling, or if Ellen was out shoveling but wearing her old work coat and hat, the snowplow driver would smile and wave, but continue on down the road.

But if Arthur stayed out of sight and Ellen was out with the shovel, dressed in her nice dressy coat and beautiful fuzzy cap, the snowplow driver would clear out the mouth of the driveway. Then, smiling and giving a wave, he would continue on.

You may be sure that after that, whenever the snowplow was coming, Arthur would stay completely out of sight, and Ellen, wearing her dress coat and pretty cap, would be out looking like she was shoveling the driveway alone. No longer did Arthur have to clear out the head of their driveway.

Why had it taken them four years to learn this? Well, Arthur was thankful that they they had gained some wisdom at last. Some learning may be slow at coming.

***

18. CHIMES AT CHRISTMAS
by Karen Crowder

Melodious chimes rang on the Perkins campus,
Every day playing Christmas carols as December rolled along,
Who were these admirable bell ringers?
Going to the Perkins tower on cold mornings,
We smiled listening to the music of the chimes,
While walking to chapel on December mornings.
We loved their clarion call.
The joyful music made ordinary December mornings festive,
These talented gentlemen played different carols each day,
We never gave a thought,
Of how cold their hands were on brisk mornings,
Entranced by the sound of familiar Christmas carols,
For moments, students and staff
Forgot school day worries.
Their joyful sound ceased,
The night of the last Christmas concert,
Students, staff and their parents,
Rushing home for another Christmas vacation.

***

19. CONSUMER VISION TRIVIA CONTEST

Here is the answer to the trivia question submitted in the December Consumer Vision. The age ranges of those being offered a simple prayer in the song “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” are from 1 to 92. Congratulations to the following winners.

Jan Colby of Brockton, Massachusetts
Susan Jones of Indianapolis, Indiana
Abbie Taylor of Sheridan, Wyoming
Jo Smith of West Dennis, Massachusetts
Mark Blier of Sierra Vista, Arizona
Jessie McCracken of Salem, South Carolina
Roanna Bacchus of Orlando, Florida
Terri Winaught of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Henry Achin of Lowell, Massachusetts

And now, here is your trivia question for the January Consumer Vision. On television, who did Lurch work for? If you know the answer, please email branco182@verizon.net or call 508-994-4972.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s