Saturday, February 6, 2021

Heart Surgery!

 What an end to 2020.

I had a heart attack in early December. Not a lot of fun to have in the midst of the upsurge in the pandemic.

William in Guide dogs for the blind cap and mask


The main cause of the heart attack was an 80% blockage of the right coronary artery.  For several days I had swelling in my legs, pain in my left side of my neck and jaw before my doctor sent me into hospital.

Of course the hospital was packed with corona virus patients and we heart patients we isolated in small rooms separate from those people. But it was still a cramped situation. 

My treatment involved being prepared for one procedure, only to be cancelled on the operating table when the surgeon heard that I had been given blood thinners only a few hours before the procedure.

Four days after the first procedure, was called off. I was prepared again. This time the procedures went ahead. In the first part the surgeon attempted to implant a STENT by going through my right wrist. This attempt failed. My vein clamped shut of its own accord and would not allow the instruments to pass. So the surgeon was forced to re-attempt the procedure through my groin.

This time it all went ahead and the STENT was placed in the blockage area.

Now almost two months later. I feel much better. It is strange how one gets used to feeling ill. I hardly noticed how sick I really felt until the problem was removed. Now I can walk about again. Leif my guide dog is getting out to work again and I am now feeling well enough to come back to blogging.

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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Financial Independence For The Visually Impaired: Part Four

 It is now just over one year since I created a portfolio of stocks to try to generate some income. Allowing me to make a step towards financial independence.

Back in January I had invested just over $200 and was looking at quite a good year ahead. My general income from advertising,

A stack of U.S. Bank notes and coins

amazon affiliate links and my small side hustles like selling "Spider plants"  were ticking over and it looked like I could amass a reasonable amount over this yeTar.

That was of course before the Corona Virus and the lock downs came along. My income disappeared  over night.  I did manage to scrape together about $100 over the Summer and into September. Mostly some cash given to me to buy something for my birthday in September. I used that ti buy some Financial Exchange Traded Fund stock (XLF)  that stock was a good price in September, just $24, it pays a quarterly dividend next in December, then March, June and September.

Banks and other financial services are a little bruised and battered this year but I think this ETF will hold up. Being an ETF too, means that I am in less danger than buying an individual bank like J P Morgan or Bank of America.

XLF also has a nice perk, I get to hold some Berkshire Hathaway stock in there. The company controlled by Warren Buffwtt and Charlie Monger. Each stock of the company is selling at over a quarter of a million dollars at the present time or less powerful non voting shares change hands at around $200 regularly.

The accounts main weakness was that I bought a large initial number of oil pipeline stocks at the end of 2019. Prices and dividends looked good then. Now with the slump in oil prices all year and cuts in dividends income dropped. The portfolio is now worth just over $352, with a unrealized loss of $22.15.

Unrealized loss means that I still own stock that I purchased at a high price. If I sell now the loss would be realized. Unrealized losses vary as the underlying stock price rises and falls.

My projected dividend income for the next year has grown to $15.83. This is mostly just re-invested into the paying stock so my positions have grown slightly over the year already. 

Bar grap of portfolio showing total value between January 1 2020 and October 31 2020  Amazon affiliate link

As you can see there has been a steady increase in the portfolio value following a decline from February to March.

Most years any portfolio will grow in this way.  The upward trend from left to right is commonly called "The Snow Ball Effect". This is because it appears to grow like a rolling snowball, packing on layers of snow as it rolls along the ground. Eventually given time the low slope can rise to become a near vertical climb.

If you have been watching the news lately in the United States and listened to stock market news you might think the near 7% drop in some stock indices in the last week of October was a disaster. But looking at this graph you can see it has had little effect in the long term. The portfolio even with little extra cash inputs outside of dividends grew over the last ten months. Proof that a long term view is much easier on the mind than panicking at every news headline about crashing markets.

I hope that you have found this update useful. I will continue investing my Amazon affiliate income into this account over the next few months. I would be grateful for your support in doing so. Many of you have already supported this effort, thank you.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Dark Days Are Coming

 The dark days are coming. Can you feel them??

William Elliott in Guide Dogs for the Blind face mask and a red  GDB baseball hat.

Every year I find this week very difficult. The days between the last Saturday of October and the first Saturday of November.

Why are they hard?  Because I find myself adrift. The United Kingdom has moved off British Summer Time while here in the United States we are still using Daylight Savings Time.

Being eight hours behind normally is ok for me. I listen to the BBC radio stations a lot and so have a routine that for this one week is way out of sync. It is amazing what a difference that one hour in time difference makes.

It is not just since coming to the United States that I have found the problem.

While my wife and I were in a long distance relationship. Me living in England and her here in California, the problem was the same. All well with an eight hour time difference, chaos when we came to a seven hour time difference.

But then on Saturday night, we lose the hour. We go back to an eight hour time difference with the UK, but it will be dark shortly after 5pm.  When I was little, the closing in of the dark nights was fun. Bonfire night soon followed, then Christmas and New Year. By then in England you could tell the nights were beginning to grow shorter. Here in California the difference doesn't seem to come for a few extra weeks.

Plus with losing so much of my vision, dark means dark earlier and longer.

Yellow high visibility jacket (Amazon affiliate link)Next week comes out my reflective high visibility jacket.

Just like the one to the left.

When out and about in the gloom of a dark morning or growing darkness of evening, I like to feel that I can be seen.

Working with a black labrador as I do, even with his harness which reflects some light, I want to be seen. I am big, and in this bright yellow jacket, well your eyesight must be worse than mine, because even I can see me in this gear.

So I recommend that everyone get some high visibility clothing of some sort. It need not be a full blown jacket, a vest can work too, or even just cuffs and leg bands. Something that catches the eye of the motorist or truck driver.

Be sure to make sure you can be seen. 

You can see a small selection of High Visibility Clothing and safety strips by clicking on my Amazon Affiliate Link here.

I would like to thank everyone of you who have supported my blog by clicking my Amazon Affiliate Link already. You have been very gracious in your support of this blog.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

What Am I Reading in October 2020?

Red Star Rogue Cover (amazon link) Did I ever mention that I love to read?</p>

I am not one for much fiction. Generally I like more books that might make me think. I also like theoccasional  recorded course. Amazon and  Audible are great for me.

This month I chose a book which promised to have a personal element to its story. The book is   

The book is not new, published in 2005.

I found it fascinating though. The events of the book take place during the Cold War. Most of the initial action takes place on a Soviet nuclear submarine operating in the Pacific Ocean. The boat in question sailed in a hurry from its base in the far East of the USSR in March 1968. It disappeared a few days later.

The book examines how the United States quickly found remains of a submarine just a few hundred miles from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The shattered remains, showed signs of a massive internal explosion. Many of the crew were not at their posts but appeared to have been locked in the forrward section of the submarine. Prisoners in their own boat.

Over several months the U.S. set up a series of covert operations to recover the submarine.

The book details how the submarine became a pawn in the game of diplomatic chess that was played between the U.S., U.S.S.R. and Peoples Republic of China during the late 1960's and 1970's.

Finally reaching the endgame of Detante between the three powers in the late 1980's, when the submarines bell. The beating heart of any ship was handed to the Russians during high level talks in the 1980's. Proving the U.S. knew the location of and had visited the long lost Soviet vessel.

The mission of the submarine had been to launch a  nuclear missile against the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. But the members of the crew who attempted to fire the missile were not aware of all the safety devices that would destroy the submarine if the correct  protocols were not folloowed.

My personal interest in this story? Well my wife was born at Pearl Harbor naval hospital just weeks before the submarine tried to launch its deadly cargo. Her father was at the time at sea on board a U.S. navy submarine. So my now wife and her mother were just moments away from a ghastly death.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in espionage or modern naval history. The authors keep up the suspense throughout the book, never revealing all of the secrets until the last few pages when all becomes clear as to how one rogue submarine almost created a devastating nuclear war and how the failure of its rogue mission paved the way to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

You can read this book for FREE if you follow my Audible FREE Books Trial link here.

  or to  send someone the gift of Audible Membership go to Audible Gift Memberships

Youu can listen to real people reading your books to you with audible on a multitude of devices. From your cell phone, your personal tablet or a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa. With tens of thousands of books from Fiction, magazines to complete college courses you can have your whole library with you at all times and can read a book within a few seconds of purchasing it at the Audible bookstore.  (Amazon)

Friday, October 23, 2020

Do Blind People Dream?

 Do Blind People Dream?

 generally don't like answerring such wide ranging questions, since I cannot speak for all blind people, but I can happily say, Yes, I do dream and I am blind.

A colorful abstract pattern, almost like ink suspendeded in a glass of water

My dreams often consist of images. Having lost most of my vision in only the last ten years or so, I have forty something years of visual memory. I can tell you in great detail about places which I knew as a child and up until my mid forties. But I cannot tell what my home looks like today. I cannot see it. I have a mental map with which I can navigate around my home today but I never dream of my present home in visual terms as I have never seen it clearly.

I also find that I dream in color. Grass is the proper shade of green, flowers all shades. Leif my guide dog is black, in my dreams he is a blue-black since all the black lab dogs I have known seem to have an iridescent sheen to their coats.

What Do I Dream About?

Most of my dreams I forget immediately. Some are about things that I have worked on during the previous few days, so maybe this blog post will appear in a dream. Then again if I am thinking of doing something unusual it may appear in a dream. Such dreams may be vivid and detailed.

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For example, the other day I began planning a new television program at CMAC, the local community television studio where I made "Blindside Fresno". In my dream I set up the studio, created the script and briefed the crew to create the program. To see this through to fruition will take several months. But I have already rehearsed some of the process in my dreams.

So hopefully this has answered the initial question of "Do blind People dream?" Speaking for myself, yes, I dream despite being blind.

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