Re-blog: Back Eyes by Joe E. Pinto


This post reminds me of an incident that happened when I was in high school. I was often late to choir practice because it took me longer to get there from another building on campus. Once, I tried sneaking in when the music teacher’s back was turned, but she said, ” ah hah, I see you. I have eyes in the back of my head.” Now, I hope you enjoy this post by a blind mom who also has eyes in the back of her head.

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Back Eyes by Joe E. Pinto

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Let’s Talk about Food


Thanks to Aman Khan for this tag. I couldn’t have seen this at a better time, since I was running out of ideas for my regular Tuesday posts. Here are my answers to twenty-five questions about food.

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Q1. What’s your favorite breakfast?

A. I don’t have a favorite breakfast. From day to day, I alternate between oatmeal, bagels and cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches, and pancakes with either sausage or a ham and cheese omelet. Most of the food I eat comes from Schwan.

Q2. How do you drink your coffee?

A. I don’t. I’ve never liked the taste. It’s funny, though, because I like coffee-flavored ice cream once in a while.

Q3. What’s in your favorite sandwich?

A. I like a sandwich with lettuce, onions, mayonnaise, cheese, and either lunchmeat or tuna or chicken salad. Once in a while, I’ll eat a hamburger.

Q4. Soup or salad?

A. I like them both. In a restaurant, I often order soup with a sandwich unless they have macaroni, potato, or pasta salad. When I order an entree, I usually ask for a salad. Most restaurants serve huge portions, and soup, I think, is too much, in that case.

Q5. No more sweets or no more savories?

A. I like both sweet and savory foods, although they may not be as healthful.

Q6. What’s your favorite cuisine?

A. Again, I don’t have a favorite. I like American, Mexican, Italian, and even Chinese.

Q7. What’s your favorite food movie?

A. I don’t have a favorite movie with food in it.

Q8. What’s your most guilty pleasure?

A. Chocolate.

Q9. The tastiest food I’ve ever eaten was?

A. I’ve eaten a lot of good food in my life, but I don’t remember the tastiest.

Q10. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A. I don’t have one because I don’t cook much anymore. Even when my late husband was alive, the recipes I used came either from him or from friends. You can read more about that in My Ideal Partner.

Q11. What’s your greatest inspiration source?

A. Now that my late husband is gone, I’m not inspired to cook as often. Most of my meals come ready-made from Schwan.

Q12. Cooking at home or going out?

A. I eat most of my meals at home, but once in a while, I’ll go out to eat with friends.

Q13. High end or low profile?

A. I like major restaurant chains and local establishments.

Q14. What’s your favorite restaurant?

A. I don’t have a favorite, but there are some I don’t like. I’m not very particular, though.

Q15. I do my grocery shopping at?

A. I rarely go to the store myself. With my limited vision, this can be tricky, even with someone to help me find what I need. Instead, groceries are delivered to my home once a week from Albertson’s and once every other week from Schwan.

Q16. Coffee with Leonardo Dicaprio or Gordon Ramsey?

A. I don’t know any of these people, and I don’t drink coffee, but I wouldn’t mind having a Dr. Pepper with Alan Alda.

Q17. What should not be missing in your kitchen?

A. The refrigerator, the microwave, and the stove.

Q18. What is your favorite snack?

A. I don’t usually snack between meals, but occasionally, I’ll eat a slice or two of just plain cheese.

Q19. What’s on your pizza?

A. Everything except jalapenos, anchovies, and guacamole.

Q20. What foods do you really dislike?

A. Peanut butter and liver and onions.

Q21. What’s the one food you refuse to share?

A. Although I won’t eat anything if someone else’s mouth has been on it, I don’t refuse to share any food.

Q22. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?

A. Kale.

Q23. What’s on your food bucket list?

A. I don’t have a food bucket list.

Q24. I couldn’t live without eating?

A. Anything.

Q25. If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

A. Chocolate ice cream.

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Now it’s your turn. On your own blog or in the comments field below, answer any or all the above questions. Also, if you have additional questions about my eating habits, please feel free to leave them

below, and I’ll answer them. I look forward to hearing from you about food.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: Celebrating All Seasons


The books I’m reviewing today contain poems, song lyrics, and prose for all seasons. Some of you may remember my review of Chasing the Green Sun back in 2012. This book is worth a second look, so be sure to scroll down and read my review.

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Julie Andrews Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year
Compiled by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
Copyright 2012.

The poems and song lyrics in this collection are divided into sections by month and season. At the end, there’s a section on other celebrations such as birthdays and welcoming newborns. Besides Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, other poets featured here include Emily Dickinson and John Updike, to name only a couple. The book includes illustrations and an index.

I enjoyed reading the poems in this collection. I knew most of the songs and ended up singing along, as I was reading the lyrics. I especially liked the Christmas section, which contains, among other things, Christina Rosetti’s poem that was the basis for “In the Bleak Mid-Winter,” a song I’ve sung a few times. I wish they’d included “Twas the Night before Christmas.” This book is fun for all ages, so if you have kids, I suggest reading them the poems and singing the songs with them, especially during the time of year for which the poems and songs are written.

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Chasing the Green Sun
By Marilyn Brandt Smith
Copyright 2012

This is a collection of stories, poems, and essays written mostly by Marilyn. She collaborated on a few of them with her husband and other authors. The book is divided into twelve sections, each corresponding consecutively with the months of the year. Some of the pieces are seasonal. Others were originally published in the Behind Our Eyes anthologies and Magnets and Ladders. The title comes from an essay in which Marilyn describes how her son, born blind, perceived the moon when he was a child.

I met Marilyn years ago when I joined Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities, of which she is now president. It was fun losing myself in her writing. I wondered what would become of a woman in a hospital on New Year’s Eve, a victim of domestic violence. I laughed when a blind man told a policeman why he couldn’t move his van. I found her stories about her volunteer work in the Peace Corps fascinating. This is another book that can be read over and over again the whole year through.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Thursday Book Feature: The Poetry of Billy Collins

In celebration of National Poetry Month, I’m reviewing two collections by one of my favorite poets, Billy Collins. . Some of you may remember that I reviewed The Rain in Portugal last year, but I’ve since read it again, and it’s worth a second look.

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Aimless Love: A Selection of Poems
Copyright 2012.

The poems in this collection provide slice-of-life and often humorous reflections on such topics as nature, religion, and other poets. In “The Revenant,” a deceased dog talks to his owner from the grave. In “The Lanyard,” the author describes how he made a lanyard for his mother, who did a lot more for him. In “Suggestion Box,” he considers writing a poem about all the people who give him poem ideas. The title poem is about unconditional love. Some poems here are previously published while others are new.

If you’re a poet, Billy Collins might inspire you. After reading “The Revenant,” I wrote a poem in which one of our cats speaks to my father from her grave. “Istanbul,” in which the poet shares his experience with a Turkish bath, inspired me to write about a similar experience I had in a California spa run by Koreans. Even if you’re not a fan of poetry, you might enjoy Billy Collins’ work, since most of it reads more like prose, although it looks like poetry on the page.

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The Rain in Portugal: Poems
Copyright 2016.

In the author’s usual humorous style, poems in this collection reflect on jazz, writing poetry, and other subjects. In “Lucky Cat,” Collins suggests betting with other humans on the actions of felines. In “Only Child,” he longs for a sister to help care for his aging parents. In “The Bard in Flight,” he imagines what Shakespeare would do on an airplane. The collection’s title comes from the poem “On Rhyme,” in which he reflects on such common sayings as “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain.”

I heard about this latest collection when he appeared on A Prairie Home Companion. . Of course he read a few of his poems, and I was hooked. Needless to say, I downloaded the book and spent a delightful evening reading the poems aloud to myself.

According to an author’s note at the beginning, the electronic version of this book is designed so that formatting isn’t affected when the font size of the type is changed. Words at the ends of lines that are moved down when text is enlarged are indented to indicate they’re part of the same line. This didn’t make any difference to me, since I read the book in Braille, but I’m glad those with low vision can enjoy the poems the way they were written. These poems are meant to be recited, preferably by
Billy Collins, but I enjoyed reading them aloud.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Saturday Song: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins

It’s a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious day here in sunny Florida, and to show you just how great this day is, here’s a song from one of my favorite movies. I triple dog dare you to say, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” three times fast. Enjoy, and have a great Saturday.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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To Dylan at Twenty-One

Greetings again from sunny Florida, where we celebrated my nephew’s twenty-first birthday yesterday. Below is a poem I wrote for this occasion. Happy birthday, Dylan.

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TO MY NEPHEW AT TWENTY-One

Born on St. Patrick’s Day,
named after Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas,
you were Grandma Gummy’s little dilly bar.
During your first twelve months of life,
I held your eight-pound body,
sang “Three Little Ducks,”

Then you were two.
Grandpa Grumpy’s truck fascinated you.
Being told “no” did not.
At four, you played soccer,
wanted to be big–Now you are.

Life wasn’t always kind
but now, the possibilities are endless.
With your own band,
you could create a record label,
write and record hundreds of songs,
give thousands of performances across the country,
or you could be a teacher like your dad
or a writer like me.
You could inspire millions.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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Let’s Talk

Here are twenty-five fun questions I picked up from blogger Amaan Khan. I triple dog dare you to answer these, either on your own blog or in the comments field. My answers are below.

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Q1: Do you have any pets?

A: No, although I like cats and dogs, after being my late husband Bill’s caregiver for six years, I’m still not ready to care for another living thing, even though it’s been five years since he died.

Q2: Name three things that are close to you.

A: My computer, my Braille tablet, which I’m using as a display at the moment, and my closed-circuit television reading system.
Q3: What’s the weather like right now”

A: Here in Sheridan, Wyoming, it’s sunny with a blue sky and 47 degrees Fahrenheit. The multitude of snow we’ve accumulated in the past couple of months is melting.

Q4: Do you drive? If so, have you crashed?

A: No, I don’t drive because of my visual impairment. If I did, I would crash.

Q5: What time did you wake up this morning?

A: About six thirty.

Q6: When was the last time you showered?

A: This morning.

Q7: Do you participate in any sports?

A: No, for the same reason I don’t drive, but I work out regularly.

Q8: What does your last text message say?

A: That I don’t remember since I haven’t received a text message in a couple of days.

Q9: What is your ring tone?

A: It’s simply called “harp.” It’s one of about twenty that were already on my phone when I got it.

Q10: Have you ever been out of your country or traveled by plane?

A: Yes, I traveled to Mexico with my father when I was twelve. We were living in Tucson, Arizona, at the time and studying Spanish and thought it would be fun to go there and practice what we’d learned. I came home with a bad case of Montezuma’s revenge. I’ve also made many trips by plane.

Q11: Do you like sushi?

A: I’ve never had it, but I’m sure I wouldn’t like it. It sounds disgusting.

Q12: Do you have a desktop or a laptop?

A: I have a desktop computer, but I also use a braille tablet.

Q13: How old will you be turning on your next birthday?

A: I’ll be fifty-seven.

Q14: Do you wear glasses or contacts?

A: No, they don’t do anything to correct my limited vision.

Q15: What is your favorite pizza topping?

A: I like everything on a pizza. My late husband Bill, on the other hand, only liked meat and mushrooms and a little cheese. WhenEver we ordered a pizza, we always got half and half. Because of my limited vision, after I served each of us a slice, Bill often took a bite and said, “Oooh, this is your half.”

Q16: Flight or invisibility?

A: I’m not sure I’m a fan of either.

Q17: Which is your favorite book of all time?

A: I don’t have any favorite books.

Q18: Are you married?

A: Not anymore. I was married in 2005. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. After six months of recuperation in a nursing home, I cared for him for six years until he passed in 2012. You can learn more about that by reading My Ideal Partner.
Q19: What is your favorite drink?

A: Dr. Pepper.

Q20: What was your favorite subject in school?

A: English.

Q21: What’s your favorite movie?

A: The Wizard of Oz.

Q22: How do I bring you to your knees?

A: Chocolate ice cream.

Q23: What is your favorite color?

A: Blue.

Q24: Did you graduate from high school?

A: Yes, in 1980.

Q25: What is the last thing you bought?

A: An iGoku Bluetooth speaker.

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Now, you know almost everything there is to know about me. As I said before, I encourage you to answer any or all of these questions, either in the comments field or on your own blog. If you answer the questions on your blog, please include a link to this post. I look forward to reading your answers.

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Abbie Johnson Taylor
We Shall Overcome
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems
My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds
Like Me on Facebook.

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