Everyday Gear Gifts

Easy-to-Use, One-Handed, Spice Dispenser

Image of a Spice DispenserIt doesn’t seem quite fair that right around the time that taste buds may become challenged, dexterity may, too. If the finicky process of measuring small amounts of herbs and spices means you’re using fewer when you cook, this gadget might be just the thing you need to make dinner more flavorful again.

It’s called the SpiceShot. You hold it in one hand while pressing down with your thumb, and it dispenses one-quarter teaspoon of spice at a time. Four clicks, and you’ve added a teaspoon to your recipe. No batteries required, and not much pressure, either.

It’s lightweight and easy to grasp; five colors are available to code your favorite spices, or to create visual art for your countertop. (Is that cayenne contrasting so beautifully with the lime green SpiceShot in the picture above? Whoo-hoo!)

If you love to over-herb your pizza once it’s on the table, this container will look right at home with your modern salt and pepper shakers.

Made by Chef’n; also available from Chef’s Resource, which has better pictures (like the one above, for example). Available in black, silver, cherry, avocado and apricot.

At Home Everyday Gear Gifts

Soap Without Stress

Image of a Soap Dispenser with an Automatic SensorIn its catalog blurb, the company selling this stainless steel soap dispenser touts the way it avoids cross-contamination in the kitchen. Since you don’t have to touch the dispenser, there’s no chance of getting chicken bacteria all over the pump and sharing the bugs later with the vegetables.

But what I love about this is that it’s effortless. Place your fingers under the nozzle, and the sensor dollops the soap onto your hand. No slippery bar to fuss with; no lightweight pump to go flying; and no coordination required at all.

You might want several — it works for lotion, too.

It’s powered by three double A batteries, and pricey at $45.00 (USD) — but not nearly as pricey as actually installing a sensor into your existing plumbing. The 18 ounce capacity means you won’t be refilling it too often, either.

Sensor Soap/Lotion Dispenser from Williams-Sonoma

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Medical Practice

Make A Medical Record Book, Part 3 – Tips and Tricks

In Make a Medical Record Book, Part 1, I described the parts of a medical record book, and in Make a Medical Record Book, Part 2, how to use it at a medical office. Here are some additional tips and tricks for making your medical notebook as useful as possible.

Everyday Gear

Extra-Large Easy-to-Hold Pill Organizer

Image of a Large Pill OrganizerIt’s amazing what helpful things turn up in unexpected places. Witness this pill organizer 7-compartment craft organizer sold by Craft Mates. It’s large enough for almost any number of giant pills, has a compartment for every day in the week, and easy-open, easy-close lids for each section.

Its size (about six inches in diameter by about one-and-one-quarter inches high) and the handy hole in the middle make it easy to grasp, too. Although the label doesn’t mention it, it just happens that the first letter for each day of the week is inscribed on the box in Braille.

Image of a Large Pill Organizer with Retail Label IntactDon’t go looking for this one at the pharmacy, though — I saw it in the crafts section at a WalMart store for under three dollars. (You can see how it’s packaged at the right.)

If you could find it at a pharmacy — because, guess what, the small print on the label says it’s made by Apothecary Products, Inc. — I’ll bet you’d pay close to three times as much. Or more. Because you know the rule — if it’s medical equipment, it’s gotta be hugely expensive.

Before going that route, check out the bead section of any craft store for this organizer and other, similar, options. You might be pleasantly surprised.

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Medical Practice

Make A Medical Record Book, Part 2 – How to Use It

In a previous post, I described the components of the medical notebooks I use for my dad and family. The notebook comes along on every medical appointment, and this is how I use it.

Before each appointment, I fill out a form I made on my computer and printed up in advance. It’s my Medical Appointment Record form, which goes in Section 2. I’ve typed in cues on the page (date, doctor’s name, current symptoms, any questions or concerns). Before we go, I fill in the blanks. This ensures that we have a clear idea of what we want to know and that we’re organized and able to use the appointment time effectively.

At Home Everyday Gear

A Simple Cell Phone

Image of a Jitterbug PhoneAfter one of my dad’s early back surgeries, part of his rehabilitation program was to walk in the neighborhood. Because he was prone to falling, and under doctor’s orders not to get up on his own if he took a tumble, we got him a cell phone to take on his meanderings. He carried it around for a while after I left the west coast, and then turned it back in. He just didn’t get the concept, and thought the phone was a pain to use. The keys were too small and unreadable; the icons impossible to interpret; it did so many distracting things that he could hardly figure out how to dial 911.

Books Everyday Gear Games/Recreation

Electronic Book for One-Handed Page Turning

Image of a Sony Electronic ReaderThe Sony Reader is an electronic ‘book’ that eliminates the need for two-handed page turning. According to a recent review at Cool Tools, it’s got a screen that’s visible even in sunlight. If the screen is as easy to read as Sony and the review claim, it could be a convenient solution for one-handed reading, either out-and-about, on an across-the-bed table, or just around the house.

At 7 by 4 inches, it’s about the size of a small paperback, and fairly light at only 9 ounces. It recharges in about 4 hours, and each charge is good for about 7,500 page “turns” — according to the review, the approximate equivalent of about 7 book’s worth of page-turning.

‘Books’ can be purchased at the Sony Connect store. For you those of you who speak the lingo, the Reader uses BBeB as well as PDF, TXT and RTF formats.

Quite pricey at $350 (USD), but maybe just the tool for the right avid reader who has difficulty turning pages and holding conventional books.

Read the whole, information-packed review on Cool Tools.

Available on the Sony website, and at Best Buy.

Update: Maybe the Reader’s available at a brick-and-mortar Best Buy somewhere, but not in the Mid-Atlantic states right now; none in stores, and none in “the warehouse”. I stopped by yesterday (5/18/07) hoping to see one, and an employee checked BB’s internal inventory system, with that rather dismal result.

Everyday Gear

Gripping Mesh for Mealtime and More

Image of a Roll of Grippy Shelf LinerThe physical therapy department at my dad’s nursing home added a grippy mesh to the seat of his wheelchair recently to keep him from slipping forward. I’m sure it came from a medical supply house, and I’ll bet it cost a fortune. I’ve got a secret, though — there’s a cheap, readily-available household product that might have worked just as well.

At Home Books Everyday Gear

Another Book of Homemade Adaptations

Image of the book Adapt My WorldAdapt My World is a book born of love and creativity. The author’s daughter had medical problems from birth; the disabilities she has had to grapple with inspired the “homemade adaptations” her mother writes about.

I wish I could say that I loved the book. In spirit, it’s much like what GearAbility is about — fixes, adaptations and work-arounds for everyday life. As a book, though, it’s quite a disappointment.

Clothing Everyday Gear

Easy-to-Hold Zipper Pulls

Image of a Ring-Shaped Zipper Pull with a HookZippers are the smoothest fasteners around, and they’re the quickest to do up. But they’re no fun if you can’t hold onto the tabs. Herewith, a few tools to make zippers glide with minimal fuss. Clothing is an obvious use for these, but any of them should work just as well on bags, pouches, and even shoes.