Sep 29

Escaping from a fire, or a smoke-filled room, may be the furthest thing from your mind right now.

But the cold weather returning means, for many of us, a return to space heaters, electric blankets, baseboard heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, humidifiers and, too often, overloaded extension cords.

Eighty-two percent of all fire deaths and injuries occur at home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and we aging Gimpy adults are among the highest at risk. So take a minute and read on to remember what it takes to stay safe in your home from fire. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 27

Solmates for men and women were born when Cathy and her friend Rick were in a park trying to read and watch their children play in the distance at the same time.

It seemed both tasks could only be accomplished by wearing two pairs of glasses, one for the sun and one for reading.

SanibelCathy and Rick, both style-conscious, however, nixed the overlapping glasses look.

Rick then gave Cathy a pair of sunglasses that were non-corrective on the top with reading capability on the bottom. But they were ugly - so ugly Cathy wouldn’t wear them in public.

Cathy showed the glasses to Liz, who embraced the concept, and the two of them established SolMates - elegant sunglasses for men and women with plain vision on top and magnification on the bottom to make reading or seeing the numbers on your cell phone easier.Solmates

For $140, each pair is made to your specification of frame color, design, lens color and type and magnification in any increment from 1.0 to 3.0. Made from Italian frames with ophthalmic quality progressive lenses and a guarantee of a 100 percent refund if the glasses don’t exceed your expectations.

Solmates: Suitable for the backyard or the Riviera

Sep 24

With its compact size, quick response and exceptional stability, the Piaggio MP3 motorcycle is our dream ride around town.

piaggio-mp3.pngThanks to its two-front wheels, the MP3, at $7,000, is surprisingly easy to ride and provides more confidence than a traditional two-wheeler when taking on wet asphalt and rough roads.

Cait is a motorcycle fan. Marty is not. But both of us want an MP3, which has a 250 cc engine and requires a motorcycle driver’s license.

While the MP3 is easy to keep upright, it weighs about 400 pounds so you must be strong enough to steady it. Because of the three wheels you can, however, get off the bike and it will stand on its own. With practice, you can come to a complete stop at a light and not have to put your feet on the ground.

It’s easy to get on and off and the ride feels like a comfortable chair - easy on our Gimpy bodies. The motorcycle’s automatic transmission eliminates the need to use your feet and legs for shifting and braking and the storage space under the seat is ample enough for a back pack and shoes or a bag of groceries.

Test drive one. It’s a lot of fun!

Learn More

Eds. Note: We scooped Wired magazine by a month on this scooter! That is huge for two not-so-high-tech women operating this show by themselves!

Sep 22

Along with canes, chop sticks and Mr. 7 hands, self-adhesive address labels are one of those versatile Gimpliments that end up in many more places than just the corner of an envelope.

Cait affixes them to nearly everything but her husband, who knows where he belongs. Cait’s got them on her canes, cell phone, iPod, cameras, books, CD and DVD cases and she keeps them in her wallet to paste on forms when she’s out and about.

Cheap at about $7 for a roll of 300, they’re an impromptu gift for someone who is moving and they’re a perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays. Consider them essential for someone with vision or dexterity issues who has difficulty writing.

We favor the simplest ones - Current Labels.

Sep 21

If you’re a laptop user, you’ve objected at one time or another to the amount of heat a laptop transmits. Cool Feet is a simple design solution.

Cool FeetThe four compact and removable supports temporarily fix to the bottom of laptops with suction cups. Simple to attach and detach, they raise the laptop just enough to allow a constant cooling airflow, whether your computer is in your lap or on a table.

Cool Feet also create a comfortable ergonomic angle for the keyboard, which we appreciate because we have wrist and hand issues. After typing on an angled keyboard, it’s really uncomfortable to go flat again.

Sep 20

The Zuca is a bag on wheels with a steel-construction frame. Designed to hold up to 300 pounds, the Zuca offers a seat while waiting for the bus, attending outdoor events, or waiting in line at the airport check-in.

ZucaThe retractable telescoping handle folds away flat and the Zuca features two sets of wheels - one set for rolling it on the ground, the second set to help navigate up stairs and curbs. The wheels, designed with skateboard noise-reducing technology, feature Magneto flashing lights for extra visibility at night.

The deep bag, which comes in a variety of colors, has one main compartment and numerous outer pockets. Resist the temptation to overstuff it and make it too heavy to maneuver easily. (So easy to do at the farmer’s market!)

While we found the bench seat to be rather low - better suited to shorter people - we did appreciate how solid the seat felt. The Zuca would benefit an ambulatory person who wants to sit now and then with access to a change of shoes, a packed lunch, a beverage and some good reading material.

See the Zuca Web site to find a retailer in your area. Pricey, but well made, from $150 to $275.

Sep 19

Unfortunately, we cannot buy this cool item today. The In-A-Cane Display Co. made these in 1940 for attendees of the American Legion National Convention in Boston.

Map CaneToday, it belongs to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, where it was donated by John B. Scholz in memory of Walter Scholz.

The plastic-coated map, in a wood-and-metal cane, pulled out from its spring-loaded holder to guide conventioneers to 21 hotels and 43 historic sites and monuments.

Walking sticks and canes were an essential element of a gentleman’s wardrobe from the mid-seventeenth century well into the early twentieth century.

“System canes,” such as this map cane, incorporated items ranging from the practical (weapons, medical tools), to the urbane (whiskey flasks, opera glasses). The latter was sometimes called a “city cane.”

Sep 18

Buddha BowlWe first saw the Buddha Bowl on Oprah Winfrey’s list of “great things” and thought it might feel steadying for those of us who don’t have quite the grip we used to.

The 12-oz. Baby Buddha Bowl at $16, and the heftier 18-oz. Buddha Bowl at $18, are produced by Flavour Studio of British Columbia, which says it strives to design products that are “clever yet elegant with a strong emphasis on ergonomics and functionality.”

The bowls come in eight colors and are microwave and dishwasher safe. (Eds. Note: Marty likes the heft of the bowls while Cait finds them a little too hefty.)

Sep 17

Back-Up AlertWho hasn’t backed out of a parking space without knowing what is behind them? And who among us hasn’t seen a pet or child dart past on the sidewalk as a car is backing out of a driveway?

The older we get the more our reflexes dull. So many of us should consider installing this simple back-up alert that tells pets and people to get out of our way.

Installation is easy. Simply replace your back-up bulb with the beeper, which includes a 50-watt halogen bulb that is more than twice as bright as your standard bulb.Back-Up Bulb

The device emits a continuous “beep-beep” to warn others you’re about to back up. Disable the alarm any time by shifting into reverse twice within a few seconds. Only one bulb required per car.

Sep 15

Pepper GrinderThis pepper mill is a cinch to use if you have some thumb power.

Hold it in the palm of one hand and use your thumb to press the bouncy button on top.

It even has a little window that lets you know when it needs a refill. No batteries. Little fuss. Little muss.

$24 plus shipping at MoMA New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

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