Category: Consumer matters

What's in my masala dabba

Indian cooks keep a masala dabba in the kitchen. It is a round, stainless steel, tightly closed container that holds seven little bowls of spices and a small spoon or two for dispensing them. The spices vary with the cook and are supposed to be those she uses most often. Traditional Indian cooks include salt,... Read more »

Avoid going into hospital as observational

If you have the misfortune to stay overnight in a hospital bed, make sure you’re admitted to the hospital. A month ago that statement would have made no sense to me. How could you occupy a hospital bed without being admitted? In the last few weeks my mother spent three postsurgery nights in Presence St.... Read more »

Teeth cleaning to music and words

Have you ever heard anyone say she likes going to the dentist? Didn’t think so. To say that Dr. Joani Tarsitano makes the experience fun might be an exaggeration, but she does entertainly distract patients from what’s she’s doing in their mouths.  When you sit down in the examining chair, Joani — the formal Dr.... Read more »
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Caring less about looks: are women making any progress?

Three women about my age, all slim, recently told me that they won’t be seen in a swimsuit. I don’t recall ever hearing a man say he would not wear swim trunks in public. I’m not criticizing my gender but the societal norms that still make appearance so important for women. Donald Trump’s weight falls... Read more »

Dressing warmly next winter

This winter of record-breaking lows put our cold-weather dressing skills to the test. We all know the drill: layers, hat, scarf, gloves or mittens, insulated boots with good tread. I usually follow it pretty well but still felt cold here and there on exceptionally frigid days.   • If I didn’t wear a scarf over... Read more »

Wandering in the health insurance maze

We all have stories to tell about hassles with medical practitioners and insurance companies. Stop reading if you don’t want to hear someone else’s. Humana Gold Plus, a Medicare Advantage HMO, has mostly served me well. It even paid $2,000 toward hearing aids. Those hearing aids caused a recent annoyance — not with them but... Read more »
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Don't tidy your place for me

For the last few of my building’s monthly game nights, only two of us showed up. Before he moved out of town in mid-December, my game-playing partner invited me to his apartment for a meal and a last game of Scrabble. The invitation for that evening was issued spontaneously during his workday, so he had... Read more »

Give me socks, give me lots of socks

Socks appear on many lists of the most boring gifts, but not for me. Because I always need them, every Christmas season I put crew socks on my wish list for the family gift exchange. It’s not just colorful, patterned socks that I wouldn’t call a boring gift. I ask for white or black so... Read more »

For the elderly, giving effortless food is a winner

Christmas shopping for 90+-year-olds whose home is overflowing with stuff is a challenge. For years I gave my parents gifts from Omaha Steaks, but they still had to cook the meat, along with side dishes. As they’ve gotten older, it seems better to reduce their work. This year I decided to check into whether Omaha... Read more »
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Reluctantly, I’m giving up on overwintering tender perennials indoors

By September the sweet potato vines had spilled a foot or two down the sides of the railing planters on my balcony, creating a dense cascade of lime green leaves.  The plants were flourishing too well to let die when cold arrived. Of course I had to bring them inside to overwinter.  “If you have... Read more »