Sunday To Sunday for May 22, 2022

The readings for the sixth Sunday of Easter are Acts 16:19-15, Rev. 21:9-14, 21-27; and John 16:23-33.

God promises to gather all who hear and trust His Word into His one Church. That’s why He foretold the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, which we celebrate at Pentecost. By His grace, the Spirit brings us to faith in Jesus Christ so that we may call on His Name and freely receive eternal life. Surely, we face hardships of many kinds in our daily lives, yet our Lord who has overcome all sin and grief on the cross sustains us through these troubles, through death, and into His heavenly bliss forever.

Catching UP With Tips: Pouring Liquid and the Liquid Measurer

One of the questions we who’ve been blind for quite some time is: Where do I start when adapting my home for my blind child? My blind husband or wife? My parent who has low-vision? It’s a good question since blindness affects and is interwoven into every fabric of our lives.

One of the first areas I’d sugges is the kitchen. That’s because it’s a convenient and relatively simple space where someone can begin regaining their footing after a major wave of vision loss.

We’ve covered the use of bump dots for navigating appliances like toasters, microwaves, and crockpots. Another handy low-tech friend will be your liquid measurer. Many companies make them but the design across the board is very similar. Two little prongs stick over the edge of the cup or glass you are using and they connect to a small battery pack either exposed or inside a plastic case.

These wires sense when your coffee or soda or water gets close to the top. Some older models let out a shrill alarm while others play a more pleasant tone to let you know to stop pouring.

Now if you’re like me, it takes a bit of time to stop sticking your fingertip over the glass’s edge. Nevertheless, with this little device, you can help family members or visiting guests trust that you’ll hand them their drink without having overflowed its edges. The more you get comfortable using the liquid measurer the less you’ll find yourself needing to clean the counter top when preparing drinks for dinner.

Of course, a liquid measurer will need cleaned and then kept dry until the next time you use it. That way, its sensor will not detect even the slightest dampness when you want to measure your next drink. The first wet sensation it should get is the liquid in your glass or cup, not the remainder of the last one or water from the faucet used when cleaning the wires’ ends.

Check out a demonstration of the liquid measurer on a video about methods for pouring liquid produced by The Blind Life here.

Back From a Week’s Hiatus

Good late Saturday evening to you all. I know that it’s been a few days since a post has gone out. That’s because I have been on a brief hiatus, working on re-editing Jag and a few other matters that required my time and attention.

But, now, I’m very thankful to return to this forum to give you ongoing, up-to-date insights into the blindness community personalities, events, and trends. I am continuing to look at the podcast and improving it so that no one has to subscribe to Spotify to listen but you will be able to click a link and get the episodes.

In short, it’s continuing to be a joy raising awareness of our capabilities as blind people and the adaptations we make while among those of us who are blind giving encouragement for navigating life’s contours.

So, now that posts will be returning, check in, read, and stay tuned! Also, check the subscription field if you’d like to follow this blog.

And, as always be boldly blind or, if sighted, join us in being informed!

Sunday To Sunday for May 15, 2022

The readings for the fifth Sunday of Easter are Acts 11:1-18, Rev. 21:1-7, and John 16:12-22.

Whether it be a gift or a full-out celebration we know will be given us, anticipating it is tough. We want what’s been promised us. As Christians, we long for the Lord Jesus, risen from the dead, to return to make everything new, even changing our mortal bodies to immortal. Like the disciples, we ask when or how long “a little while” will be. By His Spirit speaking through the Word, our Lord keeps us firm in His promise, for He will return to reveal His new creation for us.

Audio Podcast On Hold For Now

Every endeavor has its set backs. And this one is no exception. I didn’t realize until today that to hear the podcasts, you had to get a Spotify subscription-free or otherwise. My hope is to rework the podcast so that when you click on the link from the article, the page displaying all uploaded episodes will appear and you can listen to them with the simple push of the “play” button.

The good thing is that if we need to change platforms, the episodes are already catalogued on my computer. So, all I would have to do is upload them to the new service I will use.

Otherwise, keep reading the articles, spread the word and always be boldly blind, navigating life’s contours.

How We Describe Ourselves

While we discussed people first language versus identity first language a few months ago in a post,, it’s important to revisit the issue when a new twist arises.

And one has. In episode 7 of the Boldly Blind podcast, we discuss how over the past few years, people who experience varying degrees of sight loss other than total blindness have begun preferring the term low-vision instead of visually impaired. That’s understandable since speaking of oneself as being impaired gets the perception of being a bad thing. Low-vision, then, becomes a nice work-around for many because it does describe the condition.

So, in this seventh episode of the Boldly Blind podcast, we review when we might use people first language and when we may not. As noted before in many social settings, many of us still prefer speaking more casually, e.g. the blind pianist, the blind athlete, the blind director.

Take a listen, learn and as always, leave a comment if you so choose.

Fitness Friday Night: Warming Up For Your Workout

I hope you’ve enjoyed these past few Fridays’ survey of various sports adapted for the blind and a few products that make good fitness adaptable for us who are blind or low-vision. Of course, not all of us will be a full-force fitness guru, paraolympian or even an everyday gym rat. What the next few weeks’ survey will give is an overview of a good workout, and reasons for engaging in a regular action plan. Of course, along with describing some of the steps I take, I give credit where credit’s due since many personal trainers and coaches have helped me along. In addition, since beginning to use the ReVision Fitness App which was developed by U.S. goalball standout, Tyler Merren, I’ve learned more about the benefits of good posture and exact movements in exercising.

Whether you’re an attuned athlete or just keeping toned, your workout will involve warming up, then the body of your session, and finally a cool down period. Since my big emphasis is running several miles when I’m at the gym in two or three long segments, I develop my dynamic stretching, core/mat work and weightlifting for the purpose of making myself a better runner. That means on days when I don’t go to the gym, I do stretches that will help build my endurance and stamina for when I am at my home away from home.

Today, let’s focus on the warm-up. Before getting into the physical benefits, you should be aware that it will affect your emotional drive. Doing a combination of toy soldier straight leg lifts, jogging in place, and arm circles-among other things-will get your mindset zeroed in. “It’s time to put other stresses aside and fixate on the rush of adrenaline, the rising heart rate, perspiration, and the endorphins giving your body the eagerness to be active. One lesson I had to learn over the years is that soreness is a byproduct of working various muscles groups when starting or restarting a workout regimen. It’s going to happen. Yet, as you have the goal of toning up, weight loss, and or gaining strength in mind, you will feel satisfied even though your body feels the soreness.

Another important benefit of the warm-up is injury prevention. When your muscles get moving and more flexible, the less chance you’ll have of those terrible pulled muscles, shin splints, cramping up, or muscle strains. That’s why dynamic stretching must come before a long run, sparring on a mat in wrestling or judo, or swimming laps. So even before I hit the treadmill, I do the following list of stretches-sometimes more-beginning with my head and going down to my feet. Of course, you can adapt this list to your needs and time limits.

1.Neck rotations

2.Arm circles

3.Side bends and lateral stretches/windmill toe touches

4. Waist rotations and washers

5. Full body rotations where my legs  and ankles move in circles in sync with my waist

6.Toy soldier marching where I raise one leg and the opposite arm simultaneously and fully extended, then alternating for twenty to thirty reps

7Jumping jacks

8. At this point, the blood is pumping as I jog in place for three to five minutes, increasing my speed throughout, sometimes kicking my heels toward my buttocks but mostly running stationary

Then the time comes for my first long run which usually lasts forty to forty-five minutes.

Maybe, you’ll include a couple sets of sit-ups, crunches and push-ups as well. I tend to do those after my run along with other calisthenic stretches since my muscles have warmed and are more pliable.

Negating the warm-up may result in shocking your system if you immediately run too fast or jump right into lifting heavy weights. Of course, more experienced athletes can customize their weightlifting routine to gain the aerobic and cardio benefits that doing as many reps and sets as possible will bring. But for most of us who are far from this status, building up from the basic stretches and foundations is vitally important. After all, fatigue can set in both in the case of negating several days of working out in a row or if we overdue ourselves from the get-go.

For more about the warm-up, you can set up a routine via your Alexa app or speaker or you can go to the Revision Fitness App and begin with a free two-week trial period.

Next week, we’ll cover some aspects of running.

Low-Vision, Learning, And Writing? Here’s some help.

The technology is there!

That’s one of the recurring themes we at Boldly Blind wish to convey when talking adaptations and accessibility, and the latest post from Perkins E-Learning perfectly illustrates this point. Check out how the Writing Wizard can help teachers of the visually impaired (TVI’s) and families whose children are low-vision. Putting apps like this into use will help us advocate for better mainstreaming conditions when striving to keep pace with fully sighted peers. The cost of this app also makes it attractive. While a $4.99 charge purchases the full version, a free download exposes teachers and students alike to the potential improvement they will experience in literacy. Perhaps, this factor will help quell the fears held by many teachers in the mainstream classroom and school administrators that accommodating students with print disabilities is a financially expensive venture. Whether during an IEP or meeting with an individual teacher, parents can make their case for their child’s inclusion in classroom activities by showing the ease with which adaptive software interacts with this simple writing app.

Thank-You Thursday Night: Audio Describers

If you watch much TV, you no doubt have run across the option for SAP (Secondary Audio Programming). Pushing the button or icon for this track, you will hear the program you are watching described. While this service has been available now for a couple decades, it is no less amazing to witness in action. Today, we say, “Thank you” to those describers who write and read the scripts that bring the scenes of a police drama like Blue Bloods or Bosch alive for us who cannot see.

Take a recent job overview from the Descriptive Video Service as an example of someone who provides their expertise in making scenes come to life for us. “Under the supervision of the DVS Operations Manager, the Describer is responsible for the development of written descriptions of the visual elements of dramatic, historic and family-oriented programs from selected public and broadcast network television series, feature films and environmental installations.  Descriptions will be created to fit within pauses in program narration and dialogue, or to describe the environment of physical spaces and the experiences found therein. Schedule flexibility will be necessary to accommodate workflow.”

As we have had our favorite voices narrate talking books for us over the years, we grow fond of certain voices who narrate our favorite movies or TV shows. Sometimes, the person’s voice tone matches the tenor of the setting. In a police drama like Bosch, you want someone who’s got a knack for concise, pithy description that conveys urgency. After all, the protagonist, Harry Bosch is himself a very serious, focused and driven person. Since many of the scenes in the show conveyed a sense of edginess, a more soothing voice describing the action would not do. On the other hand, if you’re watching a PBS documentary on nature, you expect the describer to convey the picturesque view of a forest, mountains, or tropical scenery.

Those who undertake the task of adding their voice to a TV show or movie fit their narration in the gaps where no pertinent dialogue is present. Sometimes, this happens at the time when opening credits roll across the screen. In the movie, Top Gun, the narrator describes the aircraft carrier with the F14 Tomcat ready to fly. During the roll of credits for Bosch, the skyline of Los Angeles comes into view, then zeros in on the action. The describer brings that into view for us who can’t see both in what he or she says but the inflection with which she or she speaks.

In the case of an action scene like a gunfight or car chase, sounds of shooting or the ebb and flow of music underlies the narration. This requires describers having a cadence that melds the important details for capturing the action while allowing for the gap between characters’ dialogue to dictate the time within which they can speak. Sometimes, that’s ten to twenty seconds or longer if scenes change without a word being spoken.

Often the workload for audiodescribers depends on the amount of shows being produced and which companies are requesting their work. CBS has taken quite the ambitious role in bringing audio description to us who are blind, most evening programming on their main network as well as Paramount Plus is now available to us who can’t see. That requires a lot of hours’ writing scripts and working in the narration for the secondary audio programming.

As for knowing which programs on TV and which movies may be audiodescribed, check out the American Council of the Blind’s audio description project.

So those who write the scripts and who describe them for us, we say, “Thank you.” You make our viewing that much more pleasurable.

Tuesday Night Tips: Give Tech A Chance.

I love browsing reviews of the latest and greatest techie stuff in the blindness community. Apps, hardware, software, low-tech gadgets-it all fascinates me. Occasionally, I’ll save up and buy something to improve accessibility.

Like you, I get excited when the money’s there or the authorization from the VR powers-that-be give the go-ahead for acquiring the item. I let the hype’s wave rush sweep me up and, to be honest, sometimes let me down just as fast. That’s because my expectations rise with the advertisements’ promises. They get dashed or diminished sometimes when a bug or glitch interferes with learning the ropes.

Now that I’ve had the Seeing AI app on my phone, the hype has dissipated a bit and I’ve had to step back in order to learn how best to hold my iPhone when reading a recipe or identifying the color on my shirt. It takes practice and a lot of patience. Contrast that to the wave I’m still riding after purchasing the ReVision Fitness App. Being a calisthenics nerd, I’m always ducking in and out of the classrooms and virtual studios designed to give me the best workout .

The key with technology is to give it a chance. The learning curve for us who are blind or low-vision may be steeper since we can’t readily see the layout of a screen or distinguish the sidebar icons at first glance. If learning new software takes perusing the chapters of a manual, that process will take some time along with traversing the menus, commands, and gestures involved in making that new gismo work.

Sometimes the hyped up promos build our anticipation for how easy a new braille display or notetaker may be to use. Then we hit the tech lists or gather in our user groups and tell others how easy or totally difficult the learning curve may be. That puts added pressure on those of us who may be less tech savvy. If a product doesn’t work for us at first touch or trial, it’s tempting to throw up our hands, and tell others how it doesn’t meet our needs after all.

Perhaps, some of you remember the debates over which screen reader was best: JAWS or Windoweyes prior to the latter being bought out by Freedom Scientific. We who were loyal to one brand swore that our choice was the better product. And I’ll admit that switching over to JAWS for work was tougher than I’d hoped. I was as Windoweyes loyal as one could be and let myself be swayed into listening to only those articles and presenters that shined the best light on Windoweyes…until I stumbled upon the downloadable, free 40-minute mode for JAWS. At the time, I was considering the possibility of attending a program for being an assistive technology instructor. So learning Jaws was a must.

What happened? As I gave JAWS a chance, it grew on me. The more I gave myself time to learn its uniqueness, the more I did the tasks on it that I’d done with Windoweyes, so when I had to switch permanently, the transition went smoother than I thought it would.

The same goes today for comparing JAWS software and the NVDA free screen reader. Both have their loyalists. The same goes for the iPhone versus Android. We ask ourselves whether Voice Over or Talks or some other speech application serves us best. Do we really have to choose? Each app, software or hardware device has its strengths and weaknesses. Believe me, we will find them and let the world know.

When we give tech a chance among ourselves, we will bridge the acceptance gap much easier when blind and sighted talk adaptations. What most people in the mainstream want to know is whether a program or app can improve our livelihood. Some folks want to see that improvement happen overnight while others are more patient, realizing that whatever assistive technology we get will take time to learn.

Giving a new device, app or program a chance is like the bonding process with a new guide dog. The learning curve will take a little while. Bonding with a dog takes six months to a year. The user and dog make mistakes just like we who learn to navigate a new techie adaptation make mistakes when learning its capabilities.

Yes, new gadgets get hyped with the promise of working “right out of the box. Developers advertise their apps as “instantaneously” making life better.

Thank goodness for those who offer that free two week trial period or  that downloadable free forty minute mode. We can give technology a chance when learning the contours that will benefit us in the long run.

The key with technology is to give it a chance. The learning curve for us who are blind or low-vision may be steeper since we can’t readily see the layout of a screen or distinguish the sidebar icons at first glance. If learning new software takes perusing the chapters of a manual, that process will take some time along with traversing the menus, commands, and gestures involved in making that new gismo work.

Sometimes the hyped up promos build our anticipation for how easy a new braille display or notetaker may be to use. Then we hit the tech lists or gather in our user groups and tell others how easy or totally difficult the learning curve may be. That puts added pressure on those of us who may be less tech savvy. If a product doesn’t work for us at first touch or trial, it’s tempting to throw up our hands, and talk about how it doesn’t meet our needs after all.

Perhaps, some of you remember the debates over which screen reader was best: JAWS or Windoweyes prior to the latter being bought out by Freedom Scientific. We who were loyal to one brand swore that our choice was the better product. And I’ll admit that switching over to JAWS for work was tougher than I’d hoped. I was as Windoweyes loayl as one could be and let myself be swayed into listening to only those articles and presenters that shined the best light on Windoweyes…until I stumbled upon the downloadable, free 40-minute mode for JAWS. At the time, I was considering the possibility of attending a program for being an assistive technology instructor. So learning Jaws was a must.

What happened? As I gave JAWS a chance, it grew on me. The more I gave myself time to learn its uniqueness, the more I did the tasks on it that I’d done with Windoweyes, so when I had to switch permanently, the transition went smoother than I thought it would.

The same goes today for comparing JAWS software and the NVDA free screen reader. Both have their loyalists. The same goes for the iPhone versus Android. We ask ourselves whether Voice Over or Talks or some other speech application serves us best. Do we really have to choose? Each app, software or hardware device has its strengths and weaknesses. Believe me, we will find them and let the world know.

When we give tech a chance among ourselves, we will find bridging the acceptance gap much easier when blind and sighted talk adaptations. What most people in the mainstream want to know is whether a program or app can improve our livelihood. Some folks want to see that improvement happen overnight while others are more patient, realizing that whatever assistive technology we get will take time to learn.

In that way, giving a new device, app or program a chance is like the bonding process with a new guide dog. The learning curve will take a little while. Bonding with a dog takes six months to a year. The user and dog make mistakes just like we who learn to navigate a new techie adaptation make mistakes when learning its capabilities.

Yes, new gadgets get hyped with the promise of working “right out of the box. Developers advertise their apps as “instantaneously” making life better.

Thank goodness for those who offer that free two week trial period or  that downloadable free forty minute mode. We can give technology a chance when learning the contours that will benefit us in the long run.