Thoughts for the New Year December 30, 2121

Many people reflect on changes to make in the new year. Since this is a blog about the experience of a blind individual, I will put forth curtersy rules when interacting with the blind.

People don’t have conversations often with a blind person. When they do, they may need some guidelines of what to do and not do. The braille group I belong to thought the curtersy rules from the Federation For The Blind a good starting point to open a line of communication.

These few rules will go a long way to accepting differences in each other without invading another’s personal space.We can all use a little help from our friends.

Speaking of friends, I would like to take this time to thank my regular readersof this blog. Your comments and likes make me write a better blog for you.

I would like to thank the readers who fly occasional with me. I hope to see you as a regular reader soon.

Finally, I wish to thank my family and friends that drop in and offer encouragment and corrections. Special thanks to my husband, John who cuts, paste and reads my blog before publishing. You make my day.




Big thoughts,

long to be heard,

open conversations with each other,

good exchange of thoughts and ideas.



copyright 12/30/2121

Call a Friend Day December 28,2021

There are two informal holidays that interest me today. The first is call a friend day. I imagine that many of you have done this in the past several weeks. But what about that email or card that appeared from someone that you haven’t thought of for months or years?

I have several old friends and relatives that have reached out to me this season but I haven’t return the favor. I hate to make cold calls out of the blue. I even put off calls to apple support until I have tried every solution I can think of.

The reason I don’t enjoy calls is my hearing, or lack of it. If I am honest with myself, I know that I can use a speaker phone or my blue tooth that talks directly into my hearing aids. So why am I so hesitant?

What can I say to people that I no longer know? I need to change my mind set. Calling to say hello is not about me. It is about the person that reached out to me. They may want a sounding board, a connection with the past or a confirmation that I am still alive.

So I will look through my contacts to place a long overdue call. I may find that I may even enjoy it.

The second informal holiday is play a card game day. Though I could play solitare with my braille cards, maybe I could invite a couple to come and play cards. Playing a game is a good way to have conversation about the game and what is going on in each other’s lives.

So today, I will call friends, to make a date to visit. Yes, I will bring a deck or two of cards. Deal!



Let Your Fingers do the Walking

Let your fingers do the walking through the contacts.

they will run down the list.

To find a long lost friend. Let the fingers do the dialing.

To touch another with a friendly hello.

Even if you get voice mail, you have touched them.

You may be surprized with the results.

Happy calling.

copyright 12/28/21

Christmas protocol December 23, 2021

We are making up for the shut down and sheltering in place of Christmas 2020. We are determine to celebrate as usual but at what cost?

Recently, my husband and I went to the grocery store to pick up several needed items. There were many empty shelves of items that are normally available.

There were no jars of Chicken gravy to be seen. This was that case in several stores. Karo syrup was in short supply. Evaporated milk filled the shelves but no dry or condense milk was seen.

Others odd missing holiday items was the absence of peppermint candy canes. The peppermint crop was affected by a fungus. There was not enough of the herb to make the tradition candy treat. No peppermint candy ice cream was manufactured for this Christmas.

A friend that adores peppermint candy ice cream took matters into her own hands. She found some candy canes and vallina custard ice cream. Crushing the candy, she blended them into the ice cream to make her own concoction.

Tinsel was also not to be seen for purchase. While visiting a friend, I noted that she had tinsel adorning her Christmas tree. When asked where she got it, she confessed that she kept the tinsel from year to year.

Supplies are not the only changes in the shopping experience. People have forgotten social distancing while hurrying to grab that last bag of stuffing. Most people are not masked and not covering their mouths when they cough.

A small child in a basket, grabbed a box of cerieal and sneezed on the box. The adult took the box and put it back on the shelf.

Only 10% of custoners are using masks comparied to most of the workers. Just because vaccines and boosters are readily avalible, doesn’t mean that people are using them.

There has been a sharp increase in purchasing and the use of home Corona tests. Some have waited over three hours to received a test.

Even in our houses of worship, people are crowded into pews, standing close to others in lines and not covering their nose and mouth when coughing. Believe in God’s goodness should not be confused with using vaccines and masks.

Finally, my daughter and her husband decided to take their Christmas cruise. The cruise was canceled last year. They chose a cruise that didn’t cater to families with small children. In every photo from the ship, they are the only ones in view. When questioned, they admitted that the ship is only 30% full.

This Christmas, families will meet, celebrate and be together. The usual number of flu and virus germs will be spread around. Hoping that none of the germs or viruses are deadly! Keep your guard up and your mask on in large crowds.



Santa is down with the flu

O you better watch out,

you better not sneeze.

Turn away from the coughing breeze,

Santa Clause is down with the flu!

He made a list and gave it to me.

to deliver toys,

to good girls and boys.

Santa Clause is down with the flu.

He’s sneezing in the morning,

he’s coughing in the eve.

He has a box of tissue,

sitting on his knee.

Cookies and milk, complete with a mask.

Helping Santa is a needed task.

Santa Clause is down with the flu.

copyright 12/23/2021.

Natal Luz, December 21, 2021

Natel Luz or Christmas festival of light is held in Fermata Brazil from November 12 to January 13, Making it the longest and largest Christmas festival in Brazil.

It started in 1986 with a concert and a Christmas light show. It is now the largest Christmas festival in Brazil. Earning Fernatta the name Christmas capital of Brazil.. There are many activities during the festival. One of the most popular is walking into a ninety nine foot Christmas tree. You feel a part of the decorations. There are 3500 ornaments , 2500 strings of lights, 1000 strobe lights and a snow making machine.

Other events are tree decorating contests, concerts, reindeer and a dramatic readings of traditional Christmas stories.

One of the most anticipated events is a floating parade with singers and music on lighted barges. The show has five sections. They depicts the history of man from Adam and Eve, through the birth of Christ ending with the last days. Over one million five hundred thousand people visit Fermata from November to January each year.

Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on December 24th. This is when families and friends gather to greet the coming of Christmas.

I dedicate this article to my special Brazilian sister, Adelia, She was telling me that this year the festivities are being limited because of the virus.



A Brazilian Christmas

The warm breezes flow over the start of flowers blooming.

A cool sea wind pushes waves to lap at the shore.

Men and women dress in colorful flowered shirts and dresses.

One can see the snow on the mountain caps in a distance.

This is Christmas in San Paulo Brazil .

copyright 12/21/20211

Wrap It Up, December 16, 2021

Tis time for the final step in getting the presents under the tree and labeled with the recipient’s name. This is a joy and challenge for a blind person.

When buying rolls of wrapping paper, I would look for paper that had a texture or foil on one side. Without the texture clues, I wrap the paper with the white side out. When wrapping large packages, I will wrap the item on a bed. Some heavy items are stapled together. When I wrapped an advent beer calendar. The staple hit a can of beer and created a leak when the carton was unwrapped.

Some of the texture paper was so heavy, it was diffucult to crease. I used the stapler with caution.

I notice that the newer rolls of paper were thinner and rip easily when trying to use them. I have to cut much more than I needed to get enough for a box to be wrapped.

Finally I give up with odd shaped presents and find a gift bag to put the item in. Then I surround the gift with tissue paper. I use white so I don’t have to worried about matching colors.

I have the same matching problem with colors of ribbon and bows. I have abandoned the use of ribbons, except to hang Christmas cards on. I will select a bow based on it’s size in relation to the package and stick it on. Even if it is a different color, I consider it an accent.

The hardest task is the labeling of each present with the name of the person to receive it. I start with a braille name on a label. This is attached to the outside of the present. later, I will go back and print the name of the recipient with a thick Magic marker. Since there is braille on the label, the person knows that the present is from me.

I love gathering all the gifts to give away around the bottom of the tree. They add a festive touch to the tree display.

Our holoday was early this year. So I am ready to store the wrappings in the basement for next year. I have wrapped it up!



Ribbons and bows

Ribbons, bows, I see

On festive bags

under my tree.

What does a baby see?

She grabs a red bow,

as she cries with glee.

No presents, but an empty box

to play hide and seek.

copyright 12/16/21

Peonies In Winter December 14, 2021

On a cold drizzling day, I listened to this book by Sally Rosenthal. Her poetic memories, take the reader from an English cottage to a small village in Pennsylvania. Along the way we are introduced to Sally’s grandparents, parents and her husband Samual. Her family’s circle was complete with three guide dogs and the seven cats that adopted her.

With a cup of coffee, I listened as Sally shared her losses, grief and endurance.

I felt the underlying joy with rememberences. The scent of peonies sprayed on the wrist, a gift from her deceased husband. The talents contributed to her in her grandparents DNA. The felted ears and furry head nuzzled by her animals made moments of joy, knowing she was loved.

The book helped me to consider loss as a part of living and the lost are not forgotten, but kept alive in these stories.

After reading “Peonies in Winter,” I was left with hope and comfort that love, once experienced, is never diminished.

You can order this book from Amazon as an ebook or as a print edition. All proceeds will be donated to Guiding Eyes for the Blind in Huntington New York.



The Scent of Remembrance

On a warm Spring day, the scent of violets profuse the air.

Mild in small clusters, the field of blue assults my senses.

I am taken back to a little girl,

wanting to bring every flower as a love offering to her Mother.

She is allowed to pick all the violets she wanted.

They will be encouraged to bloom more.

Her gift is accepted and placed in a clean jelly jar.

copyright 12/14/2021

Peanut Brittle and aging December 9, 2021

Before I get into the peanut brittle story let me offer you a MP3 to listen to of an interview at my local library. They have a podcast studio and asked me to come and talk about my poetry book, “Leaf Memories.” I read four of my poems. The recording is about a half an hour.

Now to the Peanut brittle and aging. My Husband John has made several types of brittle for family and neighbors. He has it down to a science. I assist with the prep, and breaking and packaging of the tasty treats.

On the days he makes the candy, the house has a sugary smell that you can almost taste. It hangs in the air for hours.

This year, the process didn’t go as smoothly. John’s cooked candy was dark and tasted burnt. He tried several batches with the same results. He decided that he had bought an off brand of Karo syrup and that must be the reason for the ruined candy.

He was able to produce several batches of peanut, cashew and pumpkin seed brittle with some success.

When we went to buy more syrup, the shelves were bare. When we saw the syrup in a small store, we grabbed it!

Having two bags of peanuts and one of cashews, John decided to attempt the peanut brittle again. During this cooking, the two glass thermometer were fogged and were difficult to read the temperature of the candy mixture. Again even with three thermometers, the candy was still overdone.

Again, John looked at the Karo syrup, but it was the name brand and was what he had used in the successful batches of brittle.

As a last resort, he rechecked the recipe closely. In all the years of making the brittle, he had put the vanilla, water and baking soda mixture in just before done at 300 degrees.

He had forgot the correct time to put in this mixture and was adding it at a much lower temperature, causing the candy to burn.

Following the recepe, the cashew and peanut brittle came out perfectly.

As we age, our memory may tell us incorrect information or think we can do a task without checking. We had four batches of ruined brittle to prove that this is not a good idea.

I find that I have started to check and re-check directions even if I am sure I remember. Sometimes I am correct and sometimes I am wrong. This is Just a price of aging. I called it muddled thinking.



Breaking Brittle

a large round brittle piece,

When cool, breaks into small tasty sections,

loose peanuts left for squirrels.

copyright 12/9/2021

Pearl Harbor Remembered, December 7, 2021

In 1976, my parents took a trip to Hawaii with the Knights of Columbus group. They paid for me as a graduation gift from college. I spent a week exploring the island of Oahu. One of the memorable moments was accompanying my Dad, a WWII veteran to the memorial in Pearl Harbor.

We took a short boat ride from the docks to the floating memorial that straddles the hulk of rthe sunken Arizona. The crowd grew quiet as we drew near and debarked on the platform.

The radio tower in mid-ship could be seen above the waterline. On the starboard side of the submerged ship, bubbles of gas and fuel continued to reach the surface.

The Arizona was hit mid ship with a large bomb and went down with more that 1000 sailors aboard.

As we gazed over the Harbor, quiet music played in the background. It was easy to see how so many ships were sunk or damaged. The ships were docked in a line and back to bow of the next ship. The harbor has been changed to give more room and distance between ship docking.

I looked over at my Dad. He was looking off at a distance. He had tears in his eyes. He had been on a ship in the Pacific but did not see active combat. I wondered if he remembered friends and companions that had not come back from the war.

The Uss Missouri, one of the last battle ships built, was decommision and placed as a museum in 1999. It was not there when we visited .

All the ships except the Arizona were raised and put back into commision during WWII.

I was glad to share this moment with my Dad. It brought home the reality of the war and the impack it had on my parents generation.

So take a moment to remember all the cost of wars and conflicts and pray for peace.



Flag over Water

A flag waves lazily over the water of the harbor.

Attached to the sunken ship below by the mast.

At half staff, for the sailors that repose below.

The cost of war is so great,it should deter us.

From such distruction and lost of life.

We hope and pray.

copyright 12-7-21

Christmas Cards, December 2, 2021

A second tradition of the holiday season is the writing and sending of Holiday cards.

As a blind individual, I start early writing braille greetings to my braille group. I found some three dimensional cards in a dollar store. They had paper inserts, making the brailling easy. At a dollar a card, they beat Hallmark’s price of four to five dollars a card.

With Hanukkah arriving early, I found tactile cards at the same place and brailled a message. The added perk was they were Hallmark cards.

In each braille card, I put a felted sheep head on a large paper clip. They will be perfect to mark a place in a regular or braille book. I made and sent out thirty of these markers before December 1st.

Now the team work of John and I sending greetings to friends and family starts. I produce a Christmas letter with events of the year and photos of our holiday decorating for Halloween and Christmas. This year we made a Toys for Tots train. Large dolls are dressed in red outdoor clothes. They are making donations then going to feed the lit deer in a pen,(see below for a photo.

We start with a list of people we sent cards to last year. Dividing the work , we complete about a dozen each day. I fold the letter and put a stamp and a return sticker on each enevlope. John writes the address and we both think of the personal greeting to add to the card. It takes us about a week to complete the task.

Then we sit back and wait for the fruits of our labors.

We keep some cards in reserve for unexpected greetings and service people such as the garbage men and Postal person. We never get back as many cards as we send out but it is good to keep some contact with friends and family who live far away. So I will lick my envelope closed and hope you are a recipient, if not, enjoy the short poem below.



Holiday Cards

select cards,

gather pens, labels, stamps,

select card and envelope, write a greeting,

Slide it all into the envelope, with our love.

copyright 12/22 /2021