Guest Blogger

Branco Broadcast for May 23,2016 with Maria Martin

We are happy to provide the archive to the Branco Broadcast for the week of May 23, 2016 via dial – in as well as through the Branco Broadcast Blind Tech Channel on Youtube. Remember, there is a different dial in access code for each broadcast. Want to listen to the archive, then :

Method1: Visit The Blind Tech Youtube channel at the following direct link for this week’s archive, don’t forget to subscribe to be notified of future show archives:

Method2: Dial- in Access
for those of you that would like to dial in to listen to the conference archive, there are only two steps

1. dial in to the number : 1-712-432-3131
2. when prompted for the access code, please enter : 23028938
For any questions, you may also subscribe at Facebook to the Branco Broadcast Archive group by going to the following link:

Thanks for listening in and for being part of the broadcast.

Bob Branco

Article on Aging for Recovering the Self Magazine

by Leonore H. Dvorkin / Copyright February 2016

Originally published July 2012 / Updated February 2016


The following article consists of my answers to several questions about aging that were sent to me in June 2012 by Ernest Dempsey, the editor-in-chief of Recovering the Self magazine. Below, I have updated all information pertaining to myself.

Three other authors also answered Ernest’s questions. Those were Patricia Wellingham-Jones (73 years old in 2012), Janet Grace Riehl (then 63), and Dave Scotese (then 42). In July of 2012, I was 66 years old. I am currently close to 70; my birthday is May 5th.

The entire article, entitled “Voices on ‘Aging and Life,'” was printed in the July 2012 issue of Recovering the Self, Vol. IV, No. 3, pp. 78-81. The theme for that issue was “Aging and Elders.” The ISBN-13 of the July 2012 issue is 978-1-61599-165-5.

This was the second article of mine to be published in Recovering the Self. The first was a 2011 article entitled “Two Terrific Blind Guys and How I Came to Be Their Friend.” It was published in the July 2011 issue, Vol. III, No. 3, pp. 78-85. The ISBN-13 of that issue is 978-1-61599-105-1. To read a shortened version of the article, go here:

That shorter version of the article, the one on my website, also needs updating, but that will have to wait for another time.

The article is about my two blind friends Reginald (“Reg”) George and Brian K. Nash. While Brian still lives in Missouri with his wife, Sue, Reg now lives in Yakima, Washington with his wife, Lisa. Brian is a prolific author, mainly of books for children. He was the first of my many blind editing clients.

Current and back issues of Recovering the Self magazine can be purchased on and from Loving Healing Press,

The questions about aging and my answers to them

“Age Is a Number, but Growing Old Is Largely an Attitude”
by Leonore H. Dvorkin

What do “old” and “young” mean to you?

Here in the U.S., where people often live into their 80s, 90s, and beyond, many people who are even well into their 70s do not think of themselves as “old.” They and their elders often remain quite active, even continuing to work for pay. That may be due to financial necessity, but often, it’s mainly because the person wishes to stay engaged with society.

I think a person is “old” when he or she

  • is decidedly old in years (or prematurely aged, due to health problems);
  • is no longer able or willing to be physically active or socially engaged;
  • looks mainly backward instead of enjoying the present and looking forward to the future;
  • is unable to accept and embrace changes in technology and society, thinking that “the old way” was always better;
  • gradually but steadily shrinks the scope of his or her interests and activities.

A person who is “young”

  • is able and willing to be physically active (if possible);
  • probably works on some regular basis, be that out of necessity or interest;
  • usually enjoys the present and looks forward to the future;
  • embraces technological advances and most changes in society as they come and works for the betterment of society;
  • socializes with family members, friends, and colleagues and takes an interest in the outside world;
  • accepts and even embraces the thought that he or she might need and want to work at several different jobs over a lifetime;
  • enjoys meeting new people and learning new things.

At almost 70, I’m no longer young in years, but I’m not yet ancient and decrepit, either. While I do notice some unpleasant physical changes that have come with advancing years, I’m still very active and busy, working as a self-employed tutor of Spanish and German, a proofreader and editor, a writer, a weight-training instructor, and sometimes a translator.

My inspiration is the fact that many of my relatives lived well into their 90s, and almost all of them remained active into their 80s and beyond, variously farming, pursuing advanced degrees, teaching, or doing other work for pay. So, barring serious future health problems, I hope and intend to follow in their footsteps.

How does aging enrich our life?

As we begin to contemplate our own mortality, I think that most of us learn to appreciate ever more all the good things in our lives and the good people around us. Aging also seems to teach us more patience with other people’s foibles and weaknesses.

If we are lucky, we also find the courage and emotional maturity to forgive the people who have hurt us in the past, to move beyond old anger and pain. We can try to make old pain a part of our emotional past, as well as the actual past. We can try hard to set it all aside and concentrate ever more strongly on the present and the hoped-for future.

One rather amusing benefit of aging is that we learn to care a lot less about what other people may think of us. While young people are generally very concerned with fitting in with the crowd, being fashionable, and never looking ridiculous, older people feel much freer to be themselves, to do things the way that feels right and comfortable to them, and to dress the way they like. That change is profoundly liberating.

What is the worst thing about aging that makes one dread it?

There are many things that older people commonly fear: ill health, being alone in old age, not having enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement, having one’s mind gradually grow feebler or even succumb to senile dementia or Alzheimer’s, eventually becoming “invisible” to younger people and socially irrelevant, and more.

For me, the two most frightening prospects are widowhood and ill health.

David and I have been married since 1968, and we remain each other’s best friends. Besides loving him more deeply than I have ever loved another person, I depend on him in innumerable ways. It is immensely comforting to me that his parents lived to be 90 and 103, and that he himself is in excellent physical health at 72, with no signs of mental aging. I think it is very likely that he will outlive me.

If I were to lose David, I would be inexpressibly sad and scared, but I suppose I could adjust in time as long as I had decent health. The value of good health (or at least fairly good health) cannot be overestimated. I survived a bout of breast cancer in 1998 (and later wrote a book about the experience and its lessons), but I can’t be sure that I won’t get more cancer in the future. My parents’ ailments included heart trouble, osteoporosis, arthritis, breast cancer, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and more. It is not a comforting legacy. I’m trying to take good care of my health, but it isn’t ideal, and I can’t help worrying, sometimes, about my physical future.

Comment on how our time’s media, including the entertainment industry, generally picture the elderly.

I have very mixed feelings about this issue. On the one hand, I don’t much like how often old people, at least in comedies and some TV commercials, are portrayed as out of touch and rather childish, or prone to do stupid and embarrassing things.

On the other hand, I really don’t care to see older models in clothing ads, and I most certainly don’t want to see scenes of on-screen romance between people who are middle-aged or older. Let’s face it: younger people, as long as they’re physically fit, are much more attractive and a whole lot sexier.

That is not to say that an older person can’t look really good for his or her age, and some do. Many movie actors and other entertainers are remarkably well preserved. But they are the exception, and quite unlike your average elderly person on the street or in a nursing home.

Yes, maturity can impart a wonderful look of wisdom, compassion, and even strength, especially if the person also has wealth, power, and influence. Those last three things alone can be quite sexy, particularly in men. But I find it beyond ridiculous when an actor in his 70s is being portrayed as an object of desire to an actress in her 20s or early 30s. I think they should leave the romance scenes to the younger folks and let the older actors portray other aspects of the human condition and life experience.

What is one thing we must remember when we see the first silver threads in our hair?

Well, of course the first silver threads can appear at remarkably varied ages. I’ve known people who had pure white hair before they were 50, while others, like my late father-in-law, retain some dark hair into their 90s and beyond. I started getting a few gray hairs in my late 30s, whereas my husband, who now clips his hair almost invisibly short, had almost no gray hair at all in his mid-60s.

I have to admit that I colored my hair for about a dozen years, but I stopped doing that when I got breast cancer at the age of 52. Sometimes I do miss the blond and then light brown hair of my youth, but most of the time, I really like my rapidly whitening hair, and I have received numerous compliments on how soft, shiny, and flattering it is.

If you start to go gray very young, I can understand the desire to try to hide that, with the goal of not looking too awfully different from your peers. But if you start to go gray in your 40s or 50s, why not just accept that fact and let it happen? Why be afraid to be yourself? Dyeing your hair won’t make you any younger, and as time goes by, it can look harsh and very artificial. And if you are very old, dyed hair can even look rather pitiful, as well as pointless.

To me, accepting your gray hair, be you a man or a woman, is a powerful symbol of acceptance in general: of your own chronological age, of the fact that we all age, of the changes in our bodies that occur naturally as we age, of the fact that we are joining a new social stratum. And in my opinion, gray and especially white hair can and often do impart their own special kind of beauty.

So don’t hide the gray; embrace it! It is part of you. Let it be a symbol of your courage, your self-acceptance, as you go bravely forward into the next stage of your life.

Leonore H. Dvorkin

Website: (books, editing and publishing services, language lessons, and more)



Introducing the lovely Karen Baillie as our new Guest Blogger.

K B and Crew Memories

Goat Adoption


Karen Baillie


Goat Adoption

When I was a child I loved going to all the county country fairs that many of the 4h clubs would bring to us around August and September in our region.

My mother had always loved cows, so from the age of six she took me through all the cow barns and all the other animal barns. I had a lot of stuffed animal toys at home, and was more interested in them and the real thing than I ever was in dolls. While the dolls got pushed into the corner of my closet, the stuffed animals were always out by me, or on shelves in my room or on the floor.

But, I loved being around all animals like our beautiful collie dog, and any animals I met at relatives’ homes like  my aunts’ houses where they had lots of cats.

However, I developed, as many eleven-year olds do, a fascination for horses. But my parents didn’t have room for horses, and they were originally city folks.  My grandfathers were the farmers. My father’s Dad, my grandfather, before I was born kept a farm next to ours, and had chickens and cows my parents told me. He had dogs too, and the cow who had one calf that followed him all over the farm.

But by the time I was born, they left us to settle in California, so I don’t recall any of this.

My mother’s dad loved farm animals, but his wife refused to live in the country so he raised rabbits in his city garage. Grandpa on mother’s side was the kindest of men, and knew loads about both farm animals and wild creatures. His cat followed him to the store every day. He raised a fox and other wild creatures too.

He used to sit with me, when I was seven telling me animal stories I wish I could recall now.

So when my parents decided to really use our land that my grandfather on Dad’s side gave us for our house after WWII, as a real farm I was crazy to get going on that project. We saw ads in the local papers about farms that were further south of us, where we often went for rides in our car. The towns below us were all country towns where small farmers still had their farms with all sorts of animals.

We went into the country to buy cider in the fall, and  wood for our fireplace. So it was one day when I was about thirteen years old, that we suddenly took a ride. Mom had two  places to go that day. One was to a farm where we talked to some farmers who belonged to the 4h about goats of all things. I still didn’t get it, didn’t understand why we were there.

The next place was with a lady who was a teacher during the day, and she had a barn  filled with goats. The mothers there had babies, and I was allowed to pat and look at all the goats including sitting on a stoop and had two lovely male fawn-colored babies crawl into my lap for patting, but they said females were better adoptable, and so then I was shown two  baby goats. One was a tiny female doe, and the other was her brother a   larger buck. The lady wanted to sell them together, because it’s well-known that goats will not tolerate being alone, and in fact, will die if they don’t have company.

So we took the little guys home with us.

The doe mom named Heidi after the story Heidi, and somewhere she conjured up the name Henri for our  buck.

Heidi and Henri were so tiny they fought for attention from us climbing into our laps for  loving.

This wasn’t unusual since the breed they were was well-known for being very affectionate. They were half  breeds though, so didn’t look conventional for their breed. The breed was half  Totenberg, a chocolate colored breed with tiny white pointy ears and tail. The other half was Nubian, which are black and brown with ears that look like a retriever pointing downwards and the same shape as that type of dog. Thus  our goats had ears that stuck out sideways and they looked, as mom said, like tiny deer rushing up and down our field.

We stood at the bottom of our field and whistled for them to come to us. Soon we would hear tiny hooves pounding the ground rushing our way. They were so joyful to come to us that way like tiny dogs that love you .

The goats were so small they had to be fed by use of a bottle. This required a special milk mix that Mom cooked on the stove, then the bottles were capped by huge nipples that we got from our farm store.

The goats loved their bottles and gulped them down for three months when my  parents found out they must now be weaned from those bottles to molasses grain.

Henri was always the smarter of the two we thought, since he always tried things first, then his sister would learn after he did. So it went with the weaning process. He finally decided to try the grain, and my mother said he looked angry that he didn’t have his bottle any more, and went into a corner to sulk.

He was also the more affectionate of the two, and loved sitting at my feet like a big dog especially when he discovered he was now much too big to be in my lap. My doe however still could sit there, and she did until she too was too large. She loved taking her nap in my lap while I stroked her beautiful coat.

She was more  flighty though, with a bit of a wild personality, and she loved to be chased teasing me all over our yard.

She was definitely difficult to catch. He was becoming more muscled, and couldn’t run as fast as she could. But what he lacked in speed he made up for with stubbornness about coming back to our barn. The great thing was he could be bribed to do so with his grain in my hands.

We decided that Heidi was much too flighty to think about becoming a mom, so we just kept them as pets.

Henri was what is known as a wether, which means he was neutered. So he grew and grew to an enormous size. It was a good thing he was so calm, and like my big dog since he weighed 350 pounds when measured as an adult.

We had them for  several years then when I went to college my parents gave them away much to my sadness, and loads of tears at age seventeen. I missed them until I got my first guide dog at age 19. The days of sitting in our meadow with the peace of watching my goats play, and reading a book are some of the best memories I have of this time period.

Note: wether is the correct spelling for this term, and refers to the goat as stated being neutered and they grow much larger after this process.