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Sight Loss Monthly December 2023

December 2023 Newsletter

December 2023

The Hull Foundation

Monthly Sight Loss News

“The publishing of this newsletter is a service of The Hull Foundation and Learning Center Inc. It is not an endorsement of any of its contents. All products, items and other information may be used at the sole discretion of the reader.”

Editors, Hull Foundation Staff


Mission Statement …p. 3

Top 12 Ways to Handle Tense Family Gatherings…p. 4

Calling all Artist…p. 8

Reading in the Dark Book Club…p. 9

Hearing Aid Tip of the Month…p. 12

USH Connections Conference …p. 13

Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Mousse…p. 15

A Speckled Sky…P. 19

Hull Foundation Events and Seminars…p. 21
Hull Foundation Presents Zoom Meetings…p. 22

Jokes to Keep you Laughing or Groaning…p. 23

Contact Us…p. 24

Our Mission Statement:

The mission of the Hull Foundation and Learning Center is to provide programs, facilities and services including social, educational, and recreational activities for people with blindness and sight loss.

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Top 12 Ways to Handle Tense Family Gatherings

-Teresa Christian, Sight Loss Instructor and Life Coach

Let’s face it, family gatherings are not always roses and cotton candy. For some families, they’re masked balls, with everyone straining to maintain a facade of harmony. For others, they’re Wild West shootouts.

Try some of these tips.

1. Make a pro-and-con list. Clear your head, find a calm moment, and decide whether it is best for you to go.

2. Consider smaller portions. Plan to visit only for appetizers or dessert.

3. Educate yourself, seek information on the issues or dynamics that tend to come up in your family.

4. Dig deeper, how may you inadvertently contribute to the tension? Can you adjust your understanding of other points of view?

5. Seek to understand, get to the heart of things by asking questions in a relaxed, open, non-defensive way. Read Sharon Ellison’s Taking the War Out of Our Words or Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

6. Be prepared, holiday-related emotions may arrive early. Recognizing the source can help you deal with them more effectively.

7. If things are a bit stressful, tense or you are simply peopled out, take a little five-to-ten-minute break by going into another room, the bathroom or outside. Do some deep breathing, relax your shoulders, and enjoy the quiet for a couple of minutes.

8. Take care of yourself, if the atmosphere isn’t safe, leave.

9. Try an alternative activity such as gathering with friends, doing volunteer work, or pampering yourself.

10. Call a friend, debrief after the visit with someone you trust.

11. Be patient, real change—in you and in your family—takes time.

12. Be gracious, aim for maturity and compassion in dealing with family situations. Try to put yourself in others’ position, why they might feel the way they do.

On a personal note. I lost both my mother and my twenty-two-year-old granddaughter this year and while I already knew, it made me even more keenly aware of focusing on the important and good parts and putting less energy towards the things I find disagreeable about someone.

Do your best to stick to the basics, keep it simple, look for things to be grateful for, even tiny things count and enjoy all the moments you can.

Calling All Artists! 

-Danielle Miller
Are you an artist interested in supporting WTBBL’s mission “That All May Read?” We are inviting patrons, volunteers, donors, and other friends of the library to create art works for our upcoming silent auction, Opening Windows to the World: A Silent Art Auction and Reception to Benefit the Washington Talking Book & Braille Library. All proceeds from the sale of the art will benefit WTBBL by supporting library programming, books and materials, and equipment and technology for training, local book production, and podcasting.

If you would like to participate, please contact the Hull Foundation and Learning Center office to get more information. Our phone number is 503.668.6195

Reading in the Dark Book Club

– Marja Byers, Sight Loss Instructor

Our books for November were “The Rosie Project” by Graeme Simsion, DB78150, and “When Elephants Weep: the emotional lives of animals” by Jeffery Moussaieff Masson, DB41191.

Our planned book for December is:

12/12 “The Samurai’s Garden” by Gail Tsukiyama, DB54565, 8:27. “A 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen is sent to his family’s summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout of tuberculosis. He is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper, and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Steven learns Matsu’s secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight.”

We will also share some of our favorite holiday reads, come prepared with your favorites, catalog numbers for Talking Books appreciated!

The group will decide if we want to gather on the 26th, our regular meeting day, or wait until January to meet again. If we choose to meet, we’ll also agree on a book.

In February we will be starting a Ted Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, month, in honor of March 2nd which would be his 120th birthday. We’ll start the month by reading one of the biographies about his life. For the second book club will read and be ready to talk about perspectives on his books that have been banned. There will not be a January Sight Loss Monthly Newsletter different so here is the NLS catalog information for February’s book club.

2/13/2024 “Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: a biography” by Judith Morgan, DB41116, 10:51.

2/27/2024 “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street”, DB32160, 7 minutes.

“If I Ran the Zoo” DB34725, 11 minutes.

“McElligot’s Pool” DB34060, 8 minutes.

“Scrambled Eggs Super!” DB35120, 11 minutes.

“The Cat’s Quizzer” and “Beyond Zebra” are not available on Talking Books, if you have a chance to read them, we will be including them in our discussion.

We welcome anyone who is interested in joining our book club calls, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve read the book or not, you may still have some interesting insights to share.

This Zoom call is not listed on the ACB Community Call list, you can call the office for the link at 503-668-6195.

Happy holiday reading!

Hearing Aid Tip of the Month

-Meagan Moore, Sight Loss Instructor

Hearing aid tip:  It can become tedious to remind people or explain that you are hard of hearing. Try coming up with simple, short phrases to be ready for these situations, it’s helpful to have prepared statements for many reasons.  You will appear more confident, less rude, less emotional and you will feel less stressed and anxious. Here are some examples, “I didn’t catch what you said, can you repeat?”, “I am hard of hearing I need you to speak more directly to me”, or “I am hard of hearing, I will let you know if I need anything.” It is helpful to have different responses for different situations. 

USH Connections Conference: Usher Syndrome Coalition USH2024

WHO: All individuals of all types of Usher syndrome, including adults, parents, children, partners, siblings, etc., and professionals serving those with USH and/or the deaf blind.


WHAT: At the USH Connections Conference, you will connect with hundreds of people who “get it” while discovering valuable resources and learning the latest from leading Usher syndrome researchers on developing treatments. 


WHEN:      Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, 2024



DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Rochester 
1111 Jefferson Road
Rochester, NY 14623

HOW:        Register by April 1st for reduced in-person early bird pricing

In-person tickets are all-inclusive. Limited scholarships are available. 

Call the office for the registration link to be sent to you!

Recipe of the Month: Pumpkin Mousse

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 0 mins.

Total Time: 15 mins

Servings: 4


Hand Mixer or Whisk


8 ounces cream cheese softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

15 ounces pure 100% pumpkin puree

Whipped Cream Topping:

1 pint whipping cream

1/4 cup white sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla

Optional Toppings:

Mini chocolate chips


candied pecans

Desirée’s Note: When I serve this, I mix all the ingredients together except the heavy whipping cream. It looks wet but trust the process. Whip the heavy whipping cream into stiff peaks. Then in three batches fold in the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture. Then I serve it like I would chips and dip with my favorite ginger snaps.


In a medium size bowl, whip together the cream cheese, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice until light and fluffy and completely blended.

Mix cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and brown sugar in a bowl.

Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.

Combine cream cheese and pumpkin in a bowl

In a separate glass bowl, whip together the whipped topping ingredients until it becomes thick and stiff peaks form.

In a metal mixing bowl fold together about ¾ of the whipped topping with the pumpkin cheesecake mixture until completely mixed in. This is the pumpkin mousse.

Spoon the mousse into individual cups. Use the remaining ¼ of the whipped topping to top the mousse. Then sprinkle on chocolate chips, cinnamon, or candied pecans.

Pumpkin mousse cups topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips on top

Save time by making the base of the mixture ahead of time and wait until just before serving to mix in the whipped topping.

This dessert is gluten free! No crust makes it a very easy recipe to make for any of your GF guests.

To make it dairy free, you can easily substitute the whipped topping for whipped coconut milk. All you need is a can of coconut milk, that has been refrigerated so it is nice and cold. Then whip the coconut milk with sugar and vanilla from the recipe until it becomes thick and stiff peaks form.

For a lighter version, use light cream cheese instead of regular, and light whipped topping in place of heavy cream. If you are making it with coconut milk, you can also find light coconut milk.

A Speckled Sky

-Tina Christian, Sight Loss Instructor

December is upon us and I’m feeling nostalgic yet hopeful at the same time. Maybe it’s the Nog’ talking or all the shopping on prime? Have you ever given thought to how connected we are? Not by the internet or by car but just by the fact we all are under a sky scattered with stars. It doesn’t matter that you gave Sam a space toy or a doll at six. The moment you live for is not in the thing itself but what is around us all. The smile you see in a voice of joy or the exuberant excitement in a hug. Those are the moments we can’t seem to shove off with a shrug. Even years later. Maybe it’s not the Nog’ or the shopping. Perhaps, it’s the hope. The tiny bit of random love you receive from someone small or tall with a thousand-watt smile and a pinky wave or an impromptu visit from the person in the picture on the wall. The gesture of unexpected kindness in a stranger opening a door to giving you a coffee just because is impressionable. This is the thoughtful mindfulness I’ve been blessed to see recently, not what’s under the tree. The moments of joy, big or small, I’m holding each one close and dear. Perhaps, it’s really what connects us all. This year I wish for you all a glitter speckled sky full of memories you’ve gathered and smile often this season and beyond.

Hull Foundation Events and Seminars:

Check out all the upcoming events!

– December 8th at 3pm Board Member Meeting

– December 12th – 15th Winter Holiday Getaway

– December 16th– January 2nd Office CLOSED

Any calls to the office will be returned on January 3rd.

– January 3rd – February 3rd Membership Drive

Stay tuned to our website, for more information.

– January 12th at 3pm Quarterly Membership Meeting to Discuss Park Improvements

– January 18th-20th Intro to Sight Loss Seminar

– January 23rd One Day Fun Day to OMSI Aira

– January 27th at 10am Annual Board Meeting

– February 5th-11th Winter Retreat

Join us at the Hull Foundation and Learning Center facilities for a weeklong stay where you’ll have great food and a lot of adventure, including XC Skiing, snow shoeing, tubing, a Blazers basketball game and more!

If you are interested in any of our social getaways, one day fun day events, seminars, and recreational retreats, please contact our office and get signed up! Spots fill up very quickly, so jump in with both feet, save your spot and come out to Hull Park!

Hull Foundation Presents Zoom Meetings:

Beginning in January 2024 we will be hosting a NEW zoom class for the spouses, caregivers and any loved ones who have someone in their life that has sight impairment or blindness.

Current zoom meetings will include topics on tech, cooking, crafting, book club and a class on forgetfulness that has been a favorite. Bring a friend or spouse, sighted or not!! If you would like to sign up to receive a weekly email with the weekly zoom schedule and links to the meetings, please email the office at or call us at 503-668-6195. If you are not an email user, then you can call us on Mondays to receive that week’s classes and the call-in number and meeting ID number for meetings you are interested in attending via phone.

Jokes to Keep you Laughing…or Groaning!

Q. How many letters are in the Christmas alphabet?

A. 25, there’s Noel.

Q. Why is the Grinch such a good gardener?

A. He has a green thumb!

Q. What’s Tarzan’s favorite Christmas song?

A. Jungle bells

Q. Where do mistletoe go to become famous?

A. Holly-wood!

Stay well, stay safe, and stay happy!

Contact Us:

The Hull Foundation Family
Phone: 503-668-6195



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