Monthly Archives of: August 2015

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Look at me, hands-free

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This summer a new Hands-Free law came into effect in New Hampshire:

No use of hand-held electronic devices capable of providing voice or data communication while driving or temporarily halted in traffic for a stop sign or traffic signal or other momentary delays This includes cell phones, GPS, tablets, iPods, iPads or other devices that require data entry.

Lucky for me, my car came with a Bluetooth system allowing me to take calls and make calls without touching my phone.  Though I did need something to keep my cell high up on the dash so that I can easily follow directions Siri is giving me and other quick-glance necessities.  My vents go up and down instead of horizontal, so the model that Christopher has wouldn’t work for me. I stalled, putting off the research to find the perfect model at a bargain price, and what do you know – the company 1byone sent me one! (complimentary)

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Luckily it turned out to be a great fit for my needs.  Here’s the high points:

*It adheres to the stand via a small magnet you put in your phone case, so during errands it pops off and on SO easily.  Other models where you have to wrestle the case in and out of two restrictive edges are REALLY frustrating when you’re in and out of the car a lot.

*The stand rotates so if Christopher was driving, the phone could be facing me in the passenger seat, helping to narrate directions and maps.

*It’s sleek and not bulky or obvious.

*Although the stand connects with the dashboard via the CD player, you can still listen to CDs while the stand is in use.

I made a 1min 12sec  long demonstration video – check it out here:

At first I did have one concern, seeing’s how we’ve always heard cautionary tales about magnets ruining hard drives (or we’ve seen that Breaking Bad episode).  I looked into it and learned that magnets only ruin the old kind of technology that held our computer’s hard drives.  Today’s electronics use technology such as flash drives which are not affected by magnets.

[A *very* strong magnet could possibly affect the compass (NOT the GPS) on one’s smartphone.  This little magnet, however, does not affect my compass.]

In short, I don’t think we need to be concerned about this little magnet. 

Second Note: The packaging the stand comes in is used for several different models, (see photos below).  So don’t panic when it arrives in the mail and the picture on the box does not match your requested model:

A photo gallery demonstrating this handy stand in use:

I see here that the current going price on Amazon.com for this lovely little gadget is $14.99.  If (knock on wood) I lost this little guy, I would definitely pay the $14.99 for the second one.  Great price for the product you’re getting.  And hallelujah amen that it’s now officially illegal to text while driving.  I always set out with intent not to text but sadly it took the fear of a $100 ticket to actually fix my ways.  Drive safe.

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Living Incurably On A Budget: #YardSaleNinja

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After I recently started following the blog/Instagram account Fun Cheap or Free – Where Frugal Gets a Facelift, I’m feeling less embarassment about my constant quest for low-cost goods.  Christopher’s daughter is always amazed that I can remember all the prices in our local grocery store and am constantly comparing them to other stores/sale prices.  My brain is just built for that kind of comparison shopping, I guess.  I wish I could remember names that well.  Among many others, past posts of mine about living on a budget include:

My favorite two free digital magazines 
A $42 TINNITUS MASKER VS. THE PRESCRIPTION $2,400 ONE
What an absolute bargain your local library can be
Thrift storing

Today I’m going to brag about all the yard sale bargains I found on a recent Saturday morning.  My friend Kate drove, loaded my items into the car, and then hauled it into my house for me.  #ShesTheBest   This was my first time intentionally yard sale-ing.  I printed off a list of that Saturday’s yard sales (best time to go I think) from our local newspaper and then organized the list by neighborhood.

 Maybe treat the day like a trip to a casino; bring $40 cash and that’s all you’ve got to spend.  And with all that money you’ve saved, make sure to go out to lunch.  Yard sale-ing is tiring work, you’ll deserve a treat, right?

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Maids, Horses & a (quite possibly) useful travel tip

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While packing up to leave our motel yesterday, I somehow accidentally appropriated this door tag. We’re home now and it’s hanging on the bedroom door. How long do you think I’ll have to wait before a maid arrives? #forever

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Our motel was near Saratoga Springs, NY.  We were there to spend a Saturday at the Saratoga Race Track. My initial impression of the oldest sporting venue in the whole of the United States? Crowds (like 10s of thousands of people), ladies in hats (including my pink sun hat) and a generous amount of shade for me (#Lupus Photosensitivity).  Unfortunately, I spent much of the day white-knuckling some severely painful GI spasms.  But I did manage to get this great shot of Christopher, right out of one of my Grandpa’s Dick Francis novels.

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A (quite possibly) useful travel tip: I take a body pillow (i.e. extra long pillow) with me for long car rides.  I fold it in half and either gently hug it or rest my arms on it. This helps prevent shoulder and neck cramps by relieving pressure and maintaining your posture.

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Speaking at the Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis Online Summit on September 26th

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Gastroparesis: a condition in which the spontaneous movement of the muscles in your stomach does not function normally.  I read that as a result, vomiting, nausea, malnutrition, bloating, pain and many more symptoms can occur.  Very scary and overwhelming, I imagine, especially for the newly diagnosed.  Lots of discomfort and lots to learn.  And to top it all off, spellcheck has apparently no record of the word or any word like it.  It doesn’t even offer a suggestion word!  Talk about the icing on the cake of despair and isolation.

But!  All such folks should head over to Crystal Saltrelli’s website, “Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis.”  Crystal is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  Her base is a BA from Dartmouth College and she has completed continuing education coursework via the Harvard School of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and UCLA.  Crystal’s website includes not  only her informative blog (recipe suggestions, patient stories, supplement reviews, etc) but it also bestows up on you (read: free) her 40-page eBook, “Quick Start Guide to Gastroparesis Management.

Crystal is organizing an online all-day conference for gastroparesis patients and caregivers – Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis: the Coping, Stress & Anxiety Online Summit on Saturday, September 26th.  Yours truly will be one of the guest  speakers.  I’ll be speaking on “outlook.”  #1 on my preparation list: Picking a backdrop.  And learning how to correctly spell gastroparesis.

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The House You Live In

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If the words you speak do indeed become the house you live in, this blog-built abode would be furnished with unexpected bargains and free things I discovered or somehow finagled my way into getting (HERE, HERE & HERE), there’d be a whole closet full of gear for my never-ending battle with own body (HERE, HERE & HERE), there’d be lots of books (HERE & HERE), guests would come to expect wiseass gallows’ humor (HERE & HERE), I’d never leave the house without some kind of a plan to control/mitigate potential symptoms (HERE & HERE), and everywhere you looked I’d be pointing out a solution or a recipe that I am sure is THE MOST CLEVER THING EVER (HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE & HERE).  There’d be some rooms with closed doors because I find it’s harmful to spend more time in there then you need to (HERE).  But overall it would be a colorful and dynamic house (HERE).  And you’d be welcome.  But not if I have a headache or am watching Fringe (HERE).

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When 1 = 4

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Recently I was sent an adorable and complimentary (which of course made it even more adorable) little USB hub to try out.  A USB hub, in case you’re not familiar, is a gadget that takes one USB port and turns it into four.  And a USB port, in case you’re not familiar, is the way your gadgets connect to each other – your computer downloading the  photos off your camera, for example. Or your really nifty pink screw gun recharging its batteries while you drive to your friend’s house to provide emergency maintenance.  (Which, incidentally, was the only scenario I could think of to explain why a screw gun would charge via USB.)  So here’s my hub, which makes 1 = 4.  And my pink screw gun:

The main reason I’ll keep using this hub is its design.  When it’s not being used to port devices such as my USB thumb drive, my mini iPad, my bluetooth ear buds, and of course, my pink screw gun, it sits alone under my computer screen, barely noticeable.  It’s not just that the color happened to camouflage it perfectly against the silver hue of my old iMac, but its tiny and sleek design makes it perfectly discreet and does not clutter up my desktop in the slightest.  As you can see, the hub plugs into the back of the computer.  Which, by the way, does NOT need to be an Apple product – seeings how the U in USB stands for “universal” it works across all platforms – Macs, PCs, Chromebooks, etc:

Besides my uncluttered desktop, Christopher pointed out this hub can also be useful in the car.  I’m thinking back to recent car trips when all 3 (sometimes 4) of us wanted to charge our various phones/tablets/devices but there was only one USB port in the car.  Again this little guy could come in handy:

As part of a quest to broaden my blogging skills, I filmed a 2-minute video to illustrate my thoughts:

As far as negative critiquing goes, I only experienced one glitch BUT it could be part of a chronic problem stemming from the computer NOT the device – there was one time I thought everything was charging but actually nothing was charging because the hub wasn’t perfectly clicked into the back of the computer.  Seeing’s how I have a very old iMac with ports that can occasionally be finicky, I doubt much of the fault lies with the hub.

So, all in all, I recommend this gadget not just because it makes 1 = 4 but also for it’s sleek design and discreet aesthetic.  If your cluttered desktop or overcrowded car could use one, I believe you can purchase it here where it (right now) is selling for a bargain $12.99.

Hope that provides some helpful information for one of you out there!

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Scorpion Mole-Rat Lupus Research

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Random people are disappearing from a small farming community, somehow getting pulled underground never to be seen again.  This is how Season 2, Episode 2 of the sci-fi/crime show Fringe (now on Netflix) begins.  Our trusted FBI team investigates and some disturbing details emerge.  Cue this 30 second clip…

Now perhaps the Lupus Foundation could find this wild scenario useful in one of its campaigns.  Some kind of, Here’s what horrible things *might* happen if you don’t make your annual donation… or Send a letter to your representative asking for federal lupus research funding and prevent scorpion mole-rat serial killers!  Or, on a more practical note, we could all watch this clip repeatedly, triggering our happy hormone endorphins and effectively masking our discomfort for a few minutes.  Let’s go with that.  Cheers to fabulously incredible television shows that make us laugh.

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