Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for ...

... my family, my health, yeah, yeah, sure, I'm grateful for all that stuff. But as I was baking cookies last week, I realized what I'm really thankful for: GADGETS!

Gadgets are cool! Gadgets are fun! Gadgets make life easier! "Gadgets" begins with a G! (Whoops! Word Nerd isn't returning until next week!)

Here's one that I just discovered a couple of weeks ago. Now, in general I love my DVR (aka TIVO) and you can have my remote when you pry it from my cold dead hands. I not only use the satellite service to record and playback TV shows, but also to listen to XM Radio. They have two classical music channels with little or no commercials (or even talking), something sorely lacking on regular radio in my area. Since this is a radio channel, they broadcast a still picture with the music, and the "info" button shows the title, composer, and performer of the piece. Now, because it's a still picture, after a few minutes the TV goes into "screensaver" mode, blank except for a DirecTV logo that bounces around the screen. The bouncing logo can be fun; Boy and I like the game from "The Office" where you wait for the logo to hit the corner perfectly, although TSU thinks we're nuts. But a few weeks ago, a miracle happened:

The bouncing logo is now a box with all the title/composer info, so I don't have to find the clicker if I want to remind myself if a piece is Brahms or Schubert or one of those other guys I forget about. Hallelujah!

So I'm listening to classical radio as I begin baking, occasionally glancing over to get title info, and I come upon another favorite gadget. I luuuurve my KitchenAid mixer, which has a certain sleek mechanical beauty to it. More important, it saves my increasingly tender elbows and wrists from overwork as I make a double batch of cookies (4 cups of flour is hard to mix) or a tasty cheesecake (it makes quick work of lumpy cream cheese). It's heavy, but its motor could probably power a small lawnmower. It's perfect and I'm so thankful I have it this time of year.

Last, there's this tiny little kitchen gadget I love for making cookies: this doohickey that ejects whatever goop you might scoop with it. It's perfect for making rolled cookies; much easier than the "two-spoon" method and much cleaner than pinching dough with your fingers (I hate getting dough under my nails). Nope, with this baby I just scoop some dough, squeeze the handle, and with a satisfying "snick!" I have just the right size ball of dough to roll (and dip in sugar). Even if I didn't like eating cookies, I'd bake them just to use this gadget.

Although there are other little utensils I enjoy, I'm going to stop here with my list of gadgets for which I'm grateful. Gigi, however, would like to add she is thankful for the gadget we call the "Flat Rat." It's a little hunk of fur with a leather head and tail, and she loves to chase it so much she's been fetching it back to me as I write this entry so I can throw it over and over. Sigh. A cat-slave's work is never done. Maybe I should invent a gadget to chuck cat toys....

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