Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gadgets - I Love Them by Molly Weston

 Molly Weston lives and writes in Apex NC where she reviews mysteries;  edits the Sisters in Crime quarterly, inSinC;  works as a media escort; and helps with her family business, Lakeview Daylily & Koi Farm

Gadgets—I love them. I' writing this on my brand new iPad after just uploading a bunch of pictures from my digital camera and rearranging my iTunes for traveling songs more suitable for this ultra hot weather. I've been riding with the windows down and the moonroof open so I can get better mileage on my hybrid car. 

Speaking of my car, did I mention that it's the Ford Fusion that has syncs with my iPhone and features a backup camera? That last option isn't really a luxury because I'm probably the worst backer in the world. My last car boasted a scratch on the back bumper from a wall I hit at work (it was a low one) and a dent in the back right fender where I ran into a golf cart. I also backed into my daughter's car when she parked in my turn around spot. But, I digress.

I embraced Palm Pilots as soon as they were compatible with Apple computers—and I synced
every day. Those email alerts kept me from missing several meetings and from double booking interviews when I was working. My doctor once told me that Palm Pilots were the best tools a person with attention deficit disorder could have. They really saved me. Making the transition to the iPhone with my entire life on it was a snap, and I’ve even bought a Mophie case for it which acts as an extended charger. 

After winding several huge hanks of yarn into balls for my winter knitting projects and activating tendonitis in my wrist, I bought an electric yarn baller. Unfortunately, for my husband, I wasn’t able to find a swift to hold the hank, so he still has to sit with both arms extended, holding the yarn, while I operate the machine. Fortunately, he likes the knitted hats I make him.

My kitchen is loaded with gadgets too. I can't cook without my food processor. I've burned out one hand blender and my current one has a crack in the housing. When we got married 40 years ago, one lady sent a nice gift
and something else she said “wasn’t a present, but a necessity”—a stainless steel semi-spatula with a beveled edge. That tool is indeed priceless. I’ve used it to clean enamel pans, to flip pancakes, to cut brownies, and to stir muffin batter. Don’t know what I’d do if it were lost (I started to say if something happened to it, but it’s obviously nearly indestructible!)

I make homemade pimento cheese from scratch but I do use a couple of shortcuts: Rather than making mayonnaise, I use Dukes, and I use a whole jar of roasted red peppers. The jar of peppers led to my next favorite kitchen gadget.

I’d already grated all the cheese (using the shredding blade of said food processor) when I got ready to drain the red peppers. Couldn’t get that jar open no matter how much hot water I ran over the lid or how many taps I gave it with the handle of a butcher knife. That jar lid was meant to stay put. Now, many women would have handed the jar to her big, strong husband to open after she’d loosened the lid, but mine was nowhere to be found.

No problem with absent husband. I’m Southern and Southerners help each other—even if they’re Yankees who are trying to fit in with the local mores. So, jar of peppers in hand, I marched up the street to the nearest neighbor. Nobody home. Then the next. Same thing—empty house. Undaunted, I crossed the street. Again, nobody there. Working my way back home, I heard somebody at the next house where new folks were just moving in. “Hello?” I called. After introducing myself, the man if he’d please open my peppers. I then explained that we’d met the neighbors across the street from our first house when the lady introduced herself saying, “You always make folks feel at home in a new neighborhood when you ask them for a favor as soon as they move in.” (She asked my husband to check a noise in her furnace.)

When I related the story of the peppers to one of the neighbors who wasn’t home when I needed him, his wife said, “I’ve got exactly what you need! I think I’ve got an extra one.” Naturally, my immediate thought was that she had an extra man in a closet, but she opened a kitchen drawer and came out with a green gadget (JarKey, patent pending)
that looked a lot like an old-fashioned bottle opener. “This will hook on jar lids and loosen them every time,” she said. It does, too. I get frantic any time someone else has unloaded the dishwasher and put it in the wrong place, but that doesn’t happen a lot here.

I think my love of gadgets was inherited—not from my mother. She had one large wooden spoon, one butcher knife, and a round thing with a handle she used for chopping vegetables. With a box grater and the tools for canning, she was content in the kitchen.

My daddy, on the other hand, had a large woodworking shop filled with tools and gadgets. One of his favorite maxims was, “Always use the right tool for the job.” Works for me. Now, if I could only find a gadget that would help me find my keys!


Vicki Lane said...

Fun post, Molly! I'm not much of a gadget person myself -- I did break down and get a food processor after years of making pesto in the blender.

The iPad is very tempting though...

L.J. Sellers said...

Your post makes me want to run out and purchase a few fun things, including an iPad. But cooking gadgets aren't for me. I got tired just reading about your food prep. Thanks for sharing!

Chris Harris said...

Gadgets are something that nobody can ignore, they attract every single eye in this world though there are people that pretend to dislike them I have only this thing to say to those people, wake up!!
Chris Harris

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hey Molly! You are hilarious...and there IS a thing that'll help you find your keys, right? Like a--clapper? You clap and it beeps something like that.

The jar opener--that looks terrific! I always use a big rubber band.

My favorite gadget: an avocado scooper that makes slices. It's completely unnecessary--but it's really fun.

Hope to see you soon..and you too, of course, Kaye! xo

Msmstry said...

Vicki and LJ, the iPad is indeed tempting—and fun!

Chris, I think some folks just don't know the proper definition of "gadget"!

Hank, I've gotta get a clapper for my keys. And I wished for an avocado scooper when I was slicing them at the garden this summer—with a plastic knife.

Looking forward to seeing everyone in San Francisco!!!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Hi, guys!

Molly - I have a brand new iPad but I'm scared to death of it.


It's still sitting here in the box. It's one that's been issued to me through my office; and I'm still waiting for our IT guys to show up to set it up and get it registered through ASU.

I love my Palm Pilot - did you move all your information from it to your iPad.

All by yourself??

I'm impressed!

I guess my favorite gadget has been my Palm Pilot. It's been my electronic brain for years now.

I am going to miss seeing you all in San Francisco. I can't bear to think about it, actually.

Msmstry said...

Uh, Kaye, I'm OLD. I've been working in computing since the late 1960s! Many long stories, including having email before I knew anyone outside university computing environments who had email addresses!

Of course, I synced (transferred) all my Palm data myself—but not to the iPad. It was on my Macs years ago. Once it's there, it moves up to every new product every time I sync.

Ann Summerville said...

The yarn brought back many memories. We used to put hanks of yarn on chair backs in order to wind it into a ball.