October 22, 2020 Musical Notes

All of the kids in my family were expected to learn to read music and play an instrument. We had a piano in our home so the instrument of Choice was to learn that first and if there was an interest, then another instrument could be included in the instruction.I started my lessons with a wonderful older woman , Miss Helena Christian, who had been taught at Juilliard School of music. She was very patient with all of her students.I tried to learn to read the notes on the score but I had distortion when I tried to read the Bass cleft. I had sufficient vision to read the Treble cleft. I learned to memorize the chords while I read the melody line.My teacher realized that I would never be able to read both clefts at the same time. She bought me a music book that had the words and guitar chords above the melody line. I was able to play most of the songs in the book.She struck a bargain with me. If I learned the fundamentals of music on the piano, she would teach me to play the guitar.During this time I started to sing along with my music. She listened and put aside a part of the lesson time for singing lessons.I went from dreading the piano lessons to looking forward to each weeks lesson.With some insight and understanding my teacher was able to modified my lessons to get the best result and pleasure in playing music.I will always be grateful to that teacher, and others who took the time and allowed me to learn in my own way.



Notes with words

waiting to play aloud,

explode with joy


Copyright 10/22/20

October 20, 2020 Technology and an Old Brain

Tech versus an old brainWe live in a wonderful time when there are many assistive devises to help blind people with mobility, identifying, labeling and using computers and smart phones. All this technology can be confusing to an old brain.The other day I was using my smart phone to participate in a blind teleconference. My phone lost the phone page just as I was asked a question. I had to hang up and redial. This took several minutes. When I finally returned to the conference, I told them that I had technical difficulties . The whole group understood. We all have had difficulties with assistive devises.I have a blue tooth speaker that talks into my hearing aids. But I have found that if I an too close to my husband who is also using a blue tooth listening devise I will get a echo of his book. It sounds like gibberish because he plays his books very fast.I have used my I-pad to look up recipes and information. Usually I ask the assistive helper Siri to find the information. Many times Siri misunderstands and can’t locate the information quickly. When I finally locate the correct web page, I find that I must sign up for access to a website. I have not learned my limits. I have recently signed for a virtual eyes program, digital tags to use in the kitchen and a recording devise that will help me with locating and storing my patterns for knitting . I can just see this happening , I go to find a yarn color that has been tagged. The tag tells me the yardage, weight and material but not the color, is’t a number rather that a color. I get the recorder to find a pattern and find I must listen to several hours because I forgot to insert titles and bookmarks for each pattern. I go to get the phone to find the printed pattern in the book. The apps reads part of the pattern but starts over when it thinks that it had a better angle for the document. When it finally reads the pattern it makes little sense because the knitting abbreviations make no sense to the program. II find that would be easier to get my husband to help me. But I am determined to be independent . Technology takes a lot of time and effort I hope that this old brain of mine can handle it!



Too much to grasp

Easy for others, not for me

Could I use a cheat sheet

Hovering over the latest devise

Nothing is staying in my brain

Others use assistive devices

Lots to learn and remember

Old brain in cells are taxed

Grasping concepts with lightening speed


Copyright 10/20/20

October 15, 2020White Cane Awareness Day

I am sharing a guest post that I wrote last year for the”Handy Uncapped Pen.com” This a personal coming to terms with using a white cane. White cane evolutionI , we have a love\hate relationship with our white canes . When first given a cane to use we reject it.Yet Usually we get into a situation where we find that is better to use the cane .My incident came at a fast food restaurant . I was eating lunch with my family. During the meal I got up to use the restroom. I bumped into several tables on the way to the wall where I felt my way to the restroom. I repeated the feeling and table bumping until I was back at my own table. When we were ready to leave, I unfurled my folding cane with several loud clicks. As we were exiting the restaurant I heard one of the employees remark,””I thought she was drunk!” To be seen as drunk or blind , I would rather be blind.Eventually my orientation and mobility instructor convinced me that I would be safer with the white cane. I was a novice working the cane. When with my sighted guide I would hold the cane in a defensive position . If I became nervous I would swing the cane wildly in front of us, people would part like the Red Sea in front of Moses. I believe that they were worried about being struck by my wild antics with the cane.Eventually, I learned the two techniques of bouncing the end from to side to side or dragging the end of the cane from right to left. Both cane movements were coordinated with walking .When we traveled to Scotland I had good cane use but the novelty of a white cane user convinced the pedestrians to give us a wide berth, some people were so intent to get out of our way they jumped into doorways or off the curb .As I gained confidence and training in cane use I never left home without it. Even with a sighted guide, I still hold my white cane at the ready.When walking with my daughter I was using my cane and talking to her. Unknown to me ,she veered us directly towards four young men walking in a line. She stopped the end man and asked,”Don’t you see this lady is blind she will not get out of your way!”. He mumbled a “Sorry”? I quizzed her about the incident and she replied that they needed a lesson about others in their environment.I have made peace with using my white cane and never leave home with out one. People still want to help me cross streets or grab my elbow to propel me forward because they see the white cane , not me. With patience I explain what I can and can not do. By interacting , I help people see the person behind the cane. **********


It is my companion

my friend

folded in my purse 

to be unfurled

at a moment

ready to guide me

where I need to go long or short

fiberglass or wood

you serve me well

if others 

would pay heed

to the white cane

Sent from my iPad

Daddy Bruce October 7, 2020

Today would have been my Father’s 101 birthday. He was known by many names. Dad, Bruce, Mr. Turnbull and Mr Northville. But my favorite title was coined by my Brazilian sister Adelia,”Daddy Bruce.” He answered to all of them but his favorite was the use of Dad. He was delighted when my husband chose to call him Dad. John said it was a term of respect and love.Dad loved parties especially when they involved his birthday. Large celebrations were held on his 90th and 95th birthday. At the 95th, he made a toast hoping all would be present for his 100th celebration.Though he was not here physically, I feel his spirit and love of life every day.I look at my brothers, nieces and nephews noting a love of growing plants, telling jokes, and enjoying friends and family.Personally, he taught me to be generous with my time and gifts. Dad nurtured a strong faith in the Lord and Creator. He blended Baptist, Methodist and Catholic doctrines into his personal belief system.On one of the last visits with Dad before he passed. He said,”I don’t know how you do it… getting around blind!” “I tried and ran into the wall and couldn’t find the bathroom.” He went on to say, ”But you are always smiling,keep that joy.” I could have said the same about him . He was always full of joy and life.For my part, I will keep the joy of you as my Dad in my heart. Thanks, And Happy Birthday Daddy Bruce

Old GrowthOld Growth is precious.Densely packed withrings of knowledge.End of a line,But not quite…Though the old tree. is gone,The seeds remain.Not exact copies,but having the strength of core.
They grow strong and tall.Encircling the memory of the stump.

Carol Farnsworth

copyright 10-7-20

Slippage October 6, 2020

My husband had a medical issue with a piece of calcium that lodged in his brain after his aorta valve split. This caused issues with his memory. Consequently, he is my eyes and I am his memory. John will ask me if I remember this or know where an item is kept. When he loses an item in his workshop, he will buy another. This sometimes results in more that one item.I was confident in my memory until last week. I was looking for the steam iron. I was sure that it was on the high shelf between the washer and dryer. I hadn’t use it for many months but I went down to retrieve it.I looked. There was no iron. I searched all the shelves in the basement including the storage boxes on the shelves. No iron.I enlisted my husband’s aid as we searched the whole house. No iron. Finally, I had to have an iron so I opened Amazon to look for a replacement. I found that I had 20 dollars credit and the iron I wanted was 18 dollars. I ordered it and it arrived on the weekend.Yesterday morning, I was putting away bath towels and found the pile had fallen over. Picking up the towels to replace then on the pile, I discovered the old iron on the shelf. I have no memory of putting it there or bringing it up to the main floor. Do you wonder what I will do with two irons? Taking a clue from my husband, I will keep then both, at least for awhile. One upstairs and one in the basement. As we age we all have a little slippage now and then.

I remember my deceased parents birthdays,

But I can’t remember my daughter’s birthday.
I remember to take a list to grocery shop,

Then I leave it in the car.
I remember to call in for a group conference.

But I forget the correct number
As a senior citizen,I should expect a bit of slippage.
Copyright October 6, 2020

Sent from my iPad

Meet the Blind Month October 1, 2020

October 15th is white cane day . This is my attempt to entertain and educate my readers while raising awareness of the blind and their canes.Stick WorkI have a habit of referring to my white cane as my stick, using the cane is stick work and people that use a white cane are stick people. This has given people overhearing my conversations with my husband a chuckle.I love to go out to the mailbox in a fresh layer of snow. The sounds are muffled and there is a small resistance against the tip of the cane. In addition my husband smiles, watching the snakelike path form on the driveway.I have found that the cane is a great way to find my husband when he tries to speed up while shopping or at church. He will often do this behavior when he has an audience watching . They laugh while I reach forward sweeping with my cane to find him.I use the white cane as a walking stick when traveling rough terrains. I have traveled up Mt.Hood, over rapids on a log bridge and through rainforests. I give people we meet pause when they realize the stick is a white cane and the person using it is a blind person in a place they don’t expect.This was brought home when my family was walking on a horse trail in the Sierra Mt. Range. My daughter and husband wanted to climb a large rock formation to get a view of the river. I stayed on the narrow trail to wait their return. We had not seen any travelers in 3 miles , so I was surprised to hear a group approaching. I called to them to go around and I stood on the edge of the trail. The walking stopped but I didn’t hear any voices until my husband yelled, ”She is blind don’t you see the white cane?”. The group that I heard approaching was a small group of horses and their riders following a guide. The guide was motioning for me to get off the trail. The guide did a double take when my husband called to her. He helped to get me safely get off the trail and as she passed she said ,”Welcome to Wyoming “.I love broadening people’s expectations of what a blind traveler can accomplish !

Stick work
Not a dance,coordinated moves left to right and back again.Steps move opposite of the cane.I walk forward with safe confidence
copyright October 1, 2020

Hearing Without Listening September 29,2020

This past weekend, I was at a social event when both of my hearing aid batteries died. To my chagrin , I didn’t have any replacements with me. I was forced to concentrate on the speaker, asking questions and paraphrasing other’s words to understand their meaning.It was hard work but I found that working at listening to others without thinking of an argument or answering remark helped to understand others.In the sermon this week Father Len talked about a priest that he lived with and discussed points of view. This older priest would remark ”Could you put more words around that statement?” This way he was showing interest in another’s point of view and showing he wanted to understand. It also gave the speaker time to explain a point and dispel negative feelings.On my ride home, I thought about the lesson of hearing and listening to others. We as a people and as individuals could learn to listen with our whole being to other’s point of view. Questions for clarification and paraphrasing others to understand their message. Hearing without listening leads to complacency. When I entered my home, I first found and changed my hearing aid batteries. What a relief to hear easily again! I will try to remember the lesson of working to hear others with my mind and heart wide open.********************

I can hear the wind in the trees.But, I can’t hear a call for justice.I listen to my favorite tunes.But I fain to listen to the chants in the street.My baby cries and I respond.But the soft cries of strangers I choose not to hear.Selective deafness pulls apart our nation.Remove the plugs of complacency.Listen with our hearts.

Copyright September 29, 2020

The Intrigue of Politics September 24 2020In this election year, politics has simmered to a boil. As I listen to the rhetoric on both sides, I try to discern the kernels of truth amount the chaff. I wonder why people run for an office. I have to look at my own family for part of the answer.My Dad was interested in his home town. He became involved in the planning commission and the Northville city counsel. he wanted to help make the city a better place for it’s citizens.Near the end of his life, Dad encouraged my younger brother Brian to run for mayor of Northville. He wanted to help with the planning for the growth of his city. Three months into his term the Corona Virus hit the counties of Wayne and Oakland hard. Mayor Turnbull and the city counsel had to shut down the businesses, implement safety measures and keep the citizens informed by townhall virtual meetings. He was right person , for this time in history.As I listen to the candidates, I can’t find a clear shoice. Both candidates are caught in playing the political game while looking after their party’s agendas. Where is the concern for helping the citizens?Our country has now passed the 200,000 number of lives loss to the virus . No moment of silence or morning for each of those citizens. They were Mothers, Fathers, and children. They were part of us.Now We have an opening on the Supreme Court. President Trump wants to nominate and confirm a new judge before his term ends. He has the Constitutional right to do so. I wonder about the moral right to install a judge during an election where voting has started. The agenda is more important than the wishes of the people.My brother won his position with more than 70% of the vote. Why can’t our president do the same.I hope as I write to my House and Senate representatives that they try to put the party’s agendas aside to vote for the people’s wishes.********************
Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg has left the stage.

This small woman with a quiet voice,

has commanded our attention,

on and off the bench.

She has said,”Fight with all your strength,

but do it in a way that others can join you.”

She remarked,” hatred, jealousy and envy are useless emotions to get a task done.”

The quote that I loved was,”sometimes it is good to be deaf, not just with your spouse, but also with your colleagues .”

At 87, Ruth has bowed and left the stage.

Her final request is to wait to replace her.

But she will never be replaced

Copyright 9-24-2020

Sent from my iPad

September 22, 2020 baby Memories

Warning Graphic descriptionsLast week, the Extended Turnbull clan welcomed a new baby into the family. Cole William Turnbull weight in over 8 pounds and 22 inches in. length. The eleventh Turnbull of this generation.When I think of a newborn, I recall my own daughter’s birth.I was old for being a first time mother. I was 37 and a career woman. Many of the women my age at work were taking fertility drugs to conceive. I thought ,”Well, if it is that hard to get pregnant, I guess I don’t have any worries.” How wrong I was.I was dating a friend of my brother. He was not thrilled but we talked, discussed and decided to marry in a small ceremony. For the first five months of marriage, I stayed and worked ninety miles away from my husband John. We saw each other on weekends. He was amazed at the changes I underwent week by week.Half way through the pregnancy, he teased saying ”You aren’t pregnant, , you’re just fat.” The baby started to move her butt from the left to the right pushing a bump along the way. I looked at him and replied “Fat doesn’t do that!”We were signed up to take lamaze classes. John found a kindred male soul who was a veterinarian of large animals. John was a dairy farmer. They started to recall calf birthing when the calf had to be physically turned before birth. Other couples were getting anxious and the teacher had to ask the guys to keep their birthing stories to themselves .In the ninth month, I retired from my job and moved to the west side of Michigan. The nursery was not even started. I wanted it done. I reasoned,”That baby could come at any time. John papered , painted and put together all the furniture. He watched as I hung up outfits and selected the one to take to the hospital with me. Later he mentioned that I reminded of a hen nesting as I sat crosslegged in the middle of the nursery.We had several false labor alarms. I was told that I wasn’t ready and I was given some juice and sent home. We finally had a doctor appointment and she reported that I was in labor.We went to a different hospital due to a perceived problem with the baby. the rooms were filled so I was to wait on another floor. John read me ”All Things Great and Small.” The next day we were given a pre-labor room. John was to time my contractions and coach my breathing.I fell asleep between sets of contractions. At one point I was holding my breath and John told me to breath.Finally, It was time and we were wheeled to the real labor room. There were two doctors, and three nurses, John and myself. When the head crowned,I spoke,”I want to feel the head!” All activity stopped.”I can’t see the mirror I am visually impaired” A nurse found a surgical glove and put on my right hand. I was thinking,”The head is covered with mucus so why cover my hand.Ruth was born at 11:59 pm. ,she was 7 and one half pounds and 17 inches long. They started to clean me and I noted the water was cold. You can feel that? Yes! I reminded that I was having natural childbirth.John went to the motel and I was given a semi private room to catch a few hours of sleep before the real parenting began.******************** 
Who will you become?So. small and delicate.But you showed your angerAs you scooted away from a needle.Your large eyes were mirrors to your soul.Your head was haloed by an inch of black hair.You are a beauty!copyright September 22, 2020

Sent from my iPad

Lets try again

Sisterhood September 17, 2020A sister can be defined by a blood relation or a close female friend with common ground. I have no blood sisters but I consider two friends as my sisters . Adellia is one of those friends.Adelia Inagaki, an exchange student from Brazil. She was brought up on a rice farm in the interior of the country. She arrived in January of 1974 to begin a six month stay in my hometown of Northville.She was hosted by a family that had younger children. The local parish put an request in the bulletin that an exchange student needed a ride to mass. My parents answered the request and met a 16 year old girl of japanese heritage. Slight with long black hair and glasses that magnified her large brown eyes, she displayed a calm, shy demeanor.My parents fell in love with Adelia and found she had experience very little of the country except going to high school and babysitting for her host family. My parents picked her up on weekends and took her places to visit. Niagara’sFalls, Mackinaw Island, Greenfield village and museum, and Bell Isle in Detroit . They wanted her to have as many experiences that a normal teen would have.This is were I stepped in. When I met Adelia, we were close from the start. She confided that she would like to have a date with an American boy, but there was little chance for that happening at school She was placed in classes that were advanced so she was not with boys her own age.I had a boy friend in the Ann Arbor area and I enlisted his help. He had a friend age 19 that was 5 foot 2’’. He had not dated much so he was happy to be a date for a beautiful Brazilian girl.I don’t remember if the boys picked us or I drove to Ann Arbor. I do remember that we played pinball, walked around Unversity of Michigan’s campus. We ended the day at a restaurant named Bicycle Jims. There we had lunch and shared a pitcher of beer. I didn’t even think of Adelia being underage for drinking in this country.Adelia got her first date and I think her first kiss.Over the passing years we wrote letters to each other with the news and events in our lives. Adelia has returned to visit three more times. Once, she brought her Mother to stay with my parents. Another time She and her husband Todd, stopped ,taking a detour from a longer trip to visit and introduce her husband to my parents. The third trip was to Florida to see my Dad in Tampa. My husband and I went down and drove Adelia and her friend John to where ever they wanted to go. Since my husband was also named John we called Adelia’s friend Brazilian John. We visit the Dali museum, the beach, restaurants and shopping. We picked up several other friends from Brazil from the airport and took them to their hotel. We treated the group to lunch and Brazilian John found thet he loved pancakes. He ordered this every chance he got.Over the years, we have written fewer letters due to the slowness of the mail service in Brazil. We now email more with news and events in our lives. Adelia also posts photos on Facebook ,that my husband shares with me.Tomorrow is Adelia’s birthday. I won’t tell you her age but we have been sisters for over 45 years. So to my Brazilian Sister,” feliz AniversárioSisterhoodMore that blood,dearer that life,We bridged language, cultureTo become more than friendsbut sisters,To my South American sisterBlessings,your North American sisterLove you!copyright 9-17-2020