All posts by Sallyforth2

I'm a born-Minnesotan, raised in Oregon. I've made a conscious effort to live life intentionally. I can't imagine a greater tragedy than sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, trying to remember what I did with my life. So I write - to refresh, to re-live - to remember.


Duro-Med 2-Button Adjustable Aluminum Folding Walker


Pros: Assists silently, easily and seems quite sturdy

Cons:  Screws become loose ( big ‘Con’)

I have a very new friend. I’ll call him Jim.

Jim is 89 years old, and has recently moved from Los Angeles to Eugene (Oregon) so his daughter can more practically care for him. Jim’s wife died in May of this year. They were married fifty-seven years. He has been in deep grief and at first, saw very little reason to even get out of bed.

My sister works at the retirement center where Jim now lives.  She was telling me how sad, despite her best efforts, it has been watching him decline, not only physically, but moreover, psychologically. Taking zero-interest in any of the usual programs the center offers it’s residents, more than anything Jim needed a passive companion – someone to talk with, watch a few sports programs, or share a few memories. I volunteered.  What a blessing – for me, as well as Jim.

Jim uses a Duro-Med 2-Button Adjustable Aluminum Walker and gets around with it very well.  Of course, ‘getting around’ mostly means rising from his bed or television chair and wheeling himself into the bathroom, or down to the dining room. The Duro-Med Walker seems to be the perfect appliance for him to get around safely, steadily and because the walker only weighs six pounds, quite handily.

Having no personal experience with any walker, I can only detail the specific features of the Duro-Med 2-Button Adjustable Aluminum Folding Walker.

  • Two ample 5″ non-swivel wheels that roll quietly and effortlessly
  • Slip-resistant rubber tips
  • 250 lb. weight capacity
  • Constructed of anodized 1″ aluminum tubing with *rivet construction
  • Legs adjust from 32″ to 38″ for comfort and to help promote proper posture
  • Soft foam hand grips
  • Two-button release for easy folding, compact storage and lateral access
  • Steel cross-brace for more stability
  • Weighs just 6.8 pounds

* About the rivet issue. On my first visit I noticed one of the rivets on the walker had come loose. I tightened it with my fingers as well as I could, making a mental note to mention it to his daughter, which I did. On my next visit I took a Phillips screwdriver and tightened it again.  I think this is an issue that needs to be looked into further. Spending the amount of time with Jim I have these past few weeks, I know he does not over-use or abuse the walker, so I’m thinking this is a product fault.


Another Duro-Med  Assisted Walker, with wheels and a resting seat. I see a lot of these at the retirement center.

I haven’t gotten Jim to go outside yet, so I don’t know the performance of the walker on grass or sidewalk cracks, but hopefully that will happen soon. I’ll update this review when it does. I’m happy to say Jim has been laughing at small jokes, snacking on granola I bring him, and looking forward to his meals.  If this is good enough for him, it’s good enough for me.

 The Duro-Med Walker Jim uses costs in the $40.00 range and is available through Amazon, Sears and other outlets.  I was unable to find their direct website. 

UPDATE – later this same day. . .I have just come from the center and spending a couple hours with Jim.  I took a much closer look at the walker and have a clarification to make.  What I mistook for a rivet is actually a screw with a Phillips head. The walker does have rivets, but they are tight and uncompromised.  It is the screws that keep loosening.  











Pros: Stays sharp, comfortable, operates easily

Cons: None

Perhaps I should mention that in junior high school, my very first sewing project earned me a nice, fat, reassuring “D” – and it wasn’t for ‘divine’.  Looking back I can see where a well-trained chimpanzee could have sewn that simple ‘hankie-hem’ blouse together. Well, good for her – or him.  I don’t remember telling anybody I wanted to be a seamstress anyway, and since my parents always made sure I was clothed before I left the house, why did I need to know how to sew my own?  I only mention this so the reader will not expect a review full of Parisian fashion-runway extravaganzas. No, I use my Singer Scissors for scads of things, but cutting cloth by the bolt isn’t one of them.

In all honesty I don’t remember where I got my Singer Scissors. Perhaps that’s because I’ve had them so long – at least three decades – maybe four.

I can’t even begin to list all the different tasks I find for my Singer Scissors, but a good start would be:

  • Paper – I refuse to throw typing or tablet paper away that’s only been written on one side, so I cut them in half and use them as scratch paper for notes and shopping lists.
  • Cloth – (not to be confused with the aforementioned act of ‘sewing’ , but if I’m hemming something simple, thread cutting, or removing those annoying plastic price tags from clothes, etc., they’re perfect.
  • Shelf-liner – there’s no way to custom-fit rubberized shelf liner by tearing it – scissors are a must.
  • Kitchen use – for opening those pesky boxes and other containers (like cookie, pretzels and chip bags) that refuse to “open along dotted line” without the handy help of a pair of sharp scissors. And scissors are a must to breakdown some containers for recycling.  Or, how about tape? Some tapes you can tear off the roll, like masking, painters, or duct tape, others like electricians tape don’t tear – they just stretch – Singer scissors to the rescue!
  • Gift-wrapping – While not my forte, I can’t even imagine a gift wrapped by self without scissors. I think they should package gift-wrapping paper like aluminum foil or parchment paper, with a serrated cutting edge.  I mean, is there some wrapping etiquette that says you can’t fold over the last inch or two so the jagged edge doesn’t show?  But until they figure that out – there always Singer scissors.

Taking a closer look at what makes Singer scissors superior. . .

  • Chrome-plated
  • They come with a lifetime guarantee
  • Their extra-sharp edges provide a consistent smooth cut all the way to the end of the blades
  • Made through a *hot drop forge process for strength and durability
  • The long-standing reputation of the Singer company for offering quality products
  • Reasonably priced – the above pair is just $19.99 at Amazon

Aren’t these vintage Singer scissors cool? And guess what?  I Googled the model number of my Singer Scissors and to my delight, learned my Singer scissors were made in West Germany, and are vintage as well!

* If you’ve ever watched a blacksmith striking a piece of hot iron on an anvil, that is the simplest form of forging. Drop forging, a much more modern method, means the hot iron is machine-pounded into a mold or dye and the product is formed in that shape.

Singer Scissors are available online and at (almost) all major discount, department, fabric, and craft stores, including Sears, Wal-Mart, Kmart, etsy, Amazon, and many others.






Sahara Chair offered by Home Decoration Collections



Pros: Beautiful – comfy – sturdy

Cons: A little spendy – but so worth it

At last count I have nine chairs on my deck – including four that go with the table – and not one of them – NOT ONE! come even close to this chair in beauty, comfort or construction.

 I don’t mean to mention the lake so often, but the truth is, when you live forty-feet from the edge of a large, beautiful body of water, with countless birds,  sailboats, kayaks, fishermen and skiers playing all day long,  it dominates your daily lifestyle to a  tremendous degree.  Almost every outdoor thing I purchase, or setting I design, is with the view of the lake in mind. That’s why I can’t believe I’ve spent the last two years  sitting in fairly uncomfortable outdoor chairs when all I had to do was a little online  shopping .

I have always admired wicker furniture – but at several hundred dollars for a (meager) three-piece setting of two chairs and a coffee table, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend that.  I see now that I have easily spent that on all these other chairs and small tables.

If you like the look of wicker, whether you choose resin or natural, is pretty much a matter of personal preference.  The resin most ‘wicker’ furniture is made of is polymer – a high-density version of polyethylene plastic. Natural wicker furniture on the other hand, is, as the name implies, natural – consisting of reed, willow or rattan.  Both have their advantages and disadvantages.  

Sahara Chairs are constructed of hand-woven, UV-resistant resin. Resin does have, in my opinion, properties and characteristics that make it superior to natural wicker:

  • Resin is virtually all-weather resistant. Natural wicker must be lacquered if you’re going to use it outdoors. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have to weatherproof an outdoor chair before it can be used.
  • Resin is practically maintenance free – just wash with mild detergent and water. I don’t know of a way to clean natural wicker, and because of its biological nature, it has a tendency to mold and mildew over time.
  • Resin is sturdy and durable, but both resin and natural can have these advantages depending on the expertise of the weaver.
  • Resin resists mold and mildew much better than natural wicker.
  • Both can be used indoor and/or outdoor.
  • Resin can easily be painted to match your decor.  Natural wicker generally comes in neutral tones, brown, tan and beige.
  • Sahara Chairs come in gleaming white or rich Walnut

Sahara Chairs come without cushions – which suits me just fine so I can  choose my own colors and patterns and sizes.

These chairs offer very ample seating – 35″ H x 18″ W.  I’m on the short side, five-foot-four. The distance between the seat and the floor is perfect for me.


Of course, I could live very nicely with this loveseat and matching table, maybe next year. . .

Home Decoration Collections

Available through Amazon, but shipped directly from Home Decorations.  The chair at the top of the review is $189.00 plus shipping.  The price for the loveseat is $299.00 – table not included. Fully assembled.











Rubbermaid Commercial Corn Fiber Whisk Broom





Pros:  Does the job

Cons:  Leaves an annoying fiber trail

 There must be someone reading this (other than myself)  that, when you need a whisk broom – you need a whisk broom! You don’t need a sticky tape ‘picker-upper’, or a vacuum, or any other form of dirt/dust/debris removal system – you need a whisk broom.


Rubbermaid Commercial Corn Fiber Whisk Broom works very well at whisking away small piles of debris, planter messes, cobwebs, dust, and small spills and oops! anywhere, house, car, barn, teepee.

  • Its natural corn husk fiber generates virtually no annoying static electricity you often get when using nylon or other manmade fibers.
  • It’s flexible – with  just enough ‘give’ ( you know what I mean) to get a good ‘swipe’ at something.
  • The metal ring at the top of the broom offers convenient hanging and storage
  • Can be used indoor/outdoor – any temperature
  • Has  ‘double row’  stitching for durability
  • Overall brush length is 12.25 “


  • Although this broom seems well-constructed, it doesn’t feel as strong or sturdy as ‘good, old-fashioned’ whisk brooms of yesteryear. I have no qualifiers for that other than memory. I recall many years ago my brother-in-law using a whisk broom that had, after years and years of use, been reduced to half its original size, but it was still very functional.
  • Presumably, the function of a broom is to clean up a mess – not create one.  Unfortunately, this broom leaves behind too many of its fibers.This is especially true when attempting to clean a mess from a carpeted or rough surface, such as cement or other surface that can grab the fibers and pull them out or break them.  It’s annoying having to pick up these fibers after you’ve picked up the original mess.  What’s wrong with this picture?

But that’s the business end of whisk brooms. They also have a playful history.  Whisk brooms have been used for so many unique and decorative purposes:

  • Someone with a little craft savvy can turn a whisk broom into a lovely, personalized gift by wrapping or gluing special fabric or little trinkets onto the handle end.
  • They can be used for ‘whisking’ – a form of painting to create a “shabby silk” appearance.
  • Used as a lint brush, they quickly remove pet hair and lint (a miracle in itself!)
  • Start a collection. Brooms and whisk brooms have a long and interesting history. For example, it was the Shakers in early the 1800’s that changed broom history by turning the round, ineffective cluster of twigs, into the flat broom we know today.
  • A musical instrument! Stroked against a washboard they have a percussion-like sound. Who knew?
  •  There are many sports that use brooms as an integral part of the game.

Isn’t this pretty? Whisk brooms were very coveted in earlier times and many had very decorative and stylish handles. 

And last but not least, you can name your favorite pet after the ‘corny’ little fiber appliance.


Whisk Broom II
Sired in 1907 Whisk Broom ll amassed $37,931 in winnings. Probably not much by todays standards, but then, the value of things aren’t always measured  monetarily.
Whisk brooms can be purchased just about everywhere – big-box stores, hardware stores, automotive stores grocery stores, many service stations and Amazon. Usually under $10.00




Tifosi Women’s Lust Wrap Sunglasses



Pros: Super stylish – super fit ( which is, of course, completely subjective when it comes to something as individual as eyewear).

Cons: One-size doesn’t always fit all

Webster Handy College Dictionary - definition of  a “slut”: “1, a slovenly woman. 2, a promiscuous woman. 3, a female dog. ”  I gave myself the safety net that if I DID NOT find the inclusion of that disrespectful term in a respectable dictionary, I would not use it in my review – but there it was/is.

Well, I guess I passed the ‘slut’ test, being none of the above. So why for the last three decades have I referred to myself as ‘a sunglass slut’?  Because ( laughingly), I have no morals or boundaries when it comes to sunglasses. I’ve had abased and abounding affairs with sunglasses since I was a teenager. I think right now I have somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty pair. There’s a large bowl of them on the deck (for those lake-watching visitors who forget theirs), a basketful in the truck, and others scattered willy-nilly about the place.

Insofar as style – again, I have no standards. They can be large Jackie O type,  small Yoko Ono style, square, round, oval with brown, black, green, blue lenses. The stems can be decorated with either color, or metallic name plate, or no decoration at all. Why, just last week I saw a pair of sunglasses someone had dropped on the highway. I turned around, retrieved them – and have worn them every day since.  So, have I titled myself a “sunglass slut” accurately, or what? Further, if there is any shame involved, I don’t feel it.

So, why would a person who’ll happily wear Dollar Store sunglasses, spend $40.00 (and up) for a pair of sunglasses? Because all the other glasses I wear are to satisfy mypossessive penchant  for sunglasses, Tifosi Sunglasses, on the other hand, are the real thing. When it comes to driving, hiking, spectator events, anytime I’m out in the sun for extended periods of time, I wear my Tifosi’s. 

Originating in Georgia in 2003, Tifosi Optics were originally created for the more active, sports-minded groups – golfers, tennis players, cyclists, with three qualifiers in mind: Quality of optics; fit/comfort, and durability.




Specifically, what makes Tifosi Sunglasses superior to just about any other on the medium-priced market sunglass market?

  •  Grilamid TR-90  nylon frames with a memory-feature that allows the frames to return to the ‘usual-wearers’ size and shape
  • Polycarbonite, shatterproof, *gradient lens
  • Non-Polarized
  • 100% UV optical clarity and sun protection
  • Hydrophilic nose and temple pads that increase grip with perspiration
  • Many selections with wide stems for side-view protection & distraction
  • Very lightweight
  • Come in many different styles, colors & features
  • Protective bag and case come with each pair

 * “Gradient lenses have a refraction that changes throughout the length of the lens. It usually goes from less powerful to more powerful, flowing along the length of the lens”  Thank you, eHow.

The glasses above are the style I wear, primarily for the broad stems, but check out their website to see a wide array of different styles. They run $40.00 and up  – which for a pair of non-prescription sunglasses are just a little higher than your standard big box store, but not, in my opinion, unreasonably priced.






Rothco Nordic Gear Lectra Sox




Pros: Definitely keep your feet warm

Cons: Remembering fresh batteries

My Norwegian grandfather would probably laugh me out of hunting camp – ‘ Oh ufda! ‘lectric socks?  Ha-ha-ha!’ Well, Oregon winters may not get near as cold as Norway, but I’m not wearing caribou or sealblubber-lined boots either!

Consider: It’s 5:30 A.M., dark still, quiet and cold. I’d love to walk into the house and crawl back in bed – except home is one-hundred-fifty miles away – and hunting camp is anywhere between five and ten miles back down the road. I’m here to tell you, from years of experience: as the sun rises, the temperature plummets. Doesn’t that sound weird? I can’t explain it -but it’s true. Besides, I may grumble and shiver, but I’m exactly where I want to be, doing exactly what I want – hunting.

There’s no point getting into the highly charged argument of hunting vs. anti-hunting, except to say: I’ve killed deer in the field – I’ve also been in a cattle/horse slaughter-house. If I were either species, I’d rather drop dead in the field in 2 seconds, than be imprisoned in a stress-filled corral for several days.  Wouldn’t you?

Anyway, it’s cold, dark and you’re on your post. The slightest movement can be your worst enemy.  Did you know you can train your eyes to see nothing but movement? It’s true.  Animals are experts at that.  There are times I’ve made the slightest movement in the field, and my intended target zeroed in on me like a laser, subsequently bolting. So prancing around like a ballerina trying to get my feet warm, would be pretty counter-productive.  That’s why I love, and count on, Rothco Lectra Sox to keep my feet warm, no matter how cold the rest of me may get.

Rothco Lectra Sox were originally developed for fishermen aboard commercial fishing ships in the frigid North Atlantic. If you watch any of the reality programs offered on the History Channel it’s easy to see how these people can become absolutely drenched and chilled to the bone inminutes.  Rothco’s Lectra Sox extremely low amperage ” eliminates all possibility of shock or burns, even when wet”.


Mt. Hood , Oregon
Rothco Lectra Sox are perfect for all sorts of outdoor activity:
  • Hunting
  • Hiking
  • Cold-weather/water fishing
  • Wood cutting
  • Winter-time play days – like Christmas tree cutting
  • Spectator sports
  • Seniors, and others, who have chronic cold feet

Rothco Lectra Sox are made of 36% virgin wool, 33% Winter Acrylic, 22% Polyester, and 9% nylon. Those fibers, combined with the benefit of battery-producing heat, can make all the difference between comfort and having a good time, and going home early.

Other benefits?

  • Padded, reinforced heel and toe
  • Extra-wide reinforced cuff for added comfort
  • Snap-on battery control using a D-size battery ( not included).
  •  Provides six to seven hours of warmth
  • Battery fits in a pouch so you don’t need to have it strapped to your leg continuously.
  • Wires do not heat – just the fabric
  • Feet become warm, not hot
  • Come in two sizes – medium and large

A minor complaint that may be just my experience: The socks can get a little heavy.  Depending on your seasons and weather, Fall can either be balmy and a welcome respite from a long, hot summer, or, it can be the onset of early snow and cold weather.  In my neck of the woods, Fall usually brings cool, crisp mornings, but often warming into the 70’s in the afternoon – way too warm for wool socks. It would be a pain in the patoot to change socks midday, so by the end of day, my feet are pretty warm – naturally.

Because of their construction, these socks need a little TLC when laundering. They should be hand-washed, using a mild detergent. DO NOT WRING  or use a commercial dryer – hang to dry.

Available at Sears in the $30.00 range.


Get your (easyLiner) Ducks in a Row

Duck Brand easyLiner





Pros:   Sturdy, stays in place. . .

Cons:    . . .but not forever

Considering I’m a Oregon Duck fan – and the University of Oregon Duck logo and mascot look an awful lot like this one, I absolutely had to choose this shelf liner to keep up the image of the outfit. But that’s not the reason I’ve stayed with it.

As I’ve alluded to on several occasions, the kitchen is pretty much a battle ground for me, that being said, I want all conditions ‘perfect’ before I begin a cooking project. Perfect for me means – I open a drawer or a cupboard and all my utensils, bowls or measuring cups are where I left them the last time.  Why? Because all my cupboards and drawers are lined with Duck Brand easyLiner shelf liner. They don’t slip-slide away to the back of the cupboard or drawer. And the same is true with my comb and brush drawer, nail polish, files and buffer drawer, and a necklace drawer.

What makes Duck Brand easyLiner superior to other products I’ve tried?

  • Strength – I’ve never had this product tear, shred, shrink, or discolor.
  • Durable (more about this below)
  • Latex-free
  • Easy to cut-to-fit to any shape
  • Machine washable – just toss it in with the regular wash or dish water. DO NOT PUT IN DRYER.
  • Comes in a multitude of colors so you can color-coordinate or contrast, place mats and coasters with dishes and cups or glasses.
  • Non-adhesive so you can use them on virtually any surface without leaving a sticky residue.
  • Has a soft, pliable rubbery-feel.

Duck Brand easyLiner can be used in so many different places – all over the house and garage, of course, the car (great for holding drinking cups, cell phones, sunglasses, or a GPS in place), in the RV (which are notorious for things moving around inside, as you move down the road), and boats and waterjets. They also work great and look pretty inside tubs and showers for that little extra footing and soft cushioning. Because they’re easy to cut in whatever size or shape you like, they make wonderful placemats and coasters. I even have one cut in a figure-eight shape to fit under my coffeemaker. It looks like something that came with the appliance to prevent slipping. Duck Brand easyLiner also works great at holding chair cushions in place. I have an old wooden rocker that I love, but I couldn’t keep the cushion from falling out every time I got up from it. I cut a piece to fit the seat and now the cushion stays put.  Hey – how about on a bicycle seat? Surely we’ve all experienced the discomfort of sliding forward on that arrow-shaped weapon they call a bicycle seat? 

About durability. . .I do notice that after ‘ a while’ , perhaps two to three years, the liner does begin to ‘scrunch’ – in other words, move. Perhaps it has lost its (non-adhesive) adhesiveness.  I’ve noticed this most predominately in the drawers I open most often, the silverware drawer, and my comb and brush drawer.  It’s a minor inconvenience, and all I have to do is cut another section, which is certainly easy enough, but it’s a flaw worth mentioning.

A 20″x24″x5.125 roll  ( L/W/H) sells for just under $18.00 at Wal-Mart.











Sunbeam Hand Blender


Pros: Easy to use, lightweight, a breeze to clean up

Cons: None – really!

Early in my review-writing career I made several ( in fact, many) derogatory remarks about my own  cooking acumen – or lack thereof to be more precise. Over time, and after several ( risky) food and cooking-related reviews, I have come to the conclusion that there’s nothing inept about my cooking prowess – I just don’t want to – and certainly not on a regular basis.

However, all that said – when I do get in the mood to cook, I want utensils and cookware that make the ‘job’ fun and easy. My Sunbeam Hand Blender, also known as a stick blender, is a perfect example of a kitchen tool that doesn’t take up an entire counter, doesn’t need a manual to operate, doesn’t sound like artillery coming over yonder hill, and doesn’t fling dough, batter or mayo all over the place if I accidentally raise the blade too high.

Sunbeam products have been around a very long time, but company originally specialized in the horse trimming and sheep-shearing business. In 1921, the first Sunbeam kitchen utensil was introduced – the Princess Electric Iron. Can you imagine how thrilled the American homemaker to no longer have to heat irons on a stove? Then, in 1928, Ivar Jepson, a Swedish employee, invented the MixMaster, and it became Sunbeams’ flagship product for the next forty years. Now, store shelves are filled with Sunbeam products, toasters, electric shavers, coffee makers, and mixers and blenders, to mention a few.

I can think of so many uses for this hand blender – mashing potatoes, avocados for guacamole, mixing sauces, dips and dressings – like potato salad dressing, de-lumping gravy ( okay, so I’m not the best gravy maker) tuna salad, and also, chopping pickles,  peppers, whipping cream (when I want the real thing), and did I mention, light, fluffy perfectly blended scrambled eggs?  And all of this without having to haul out a regular blender and then, look for the beaters.

As useful and handy as this great little gizmo is – remember – this Sunbeam Hand Blender does not have the power nor capabilities of a ‘regular’ hand-held, beater blender, and it’s certainly not in the same league as a stand blender, but for all the applications mentioned above – it’s perfect and perfectly compact.

  • Approximately 14″ tall
  • 100 watts of power
  • 2-Speed – High and Low
  • Pulse-Control
  • Splash guard
  • Sterling silver blade
  • 1.8 pounds – (very lightweight)
  • 5′ foot power cord
  • UL Listed 989A   E 29253

To operate:

  • Before turning on, immerse the blade into the food you want to blend.
  • Press the large High/Low button located near the top of the blender.
  • Begin on Low until you see how much power you will need for that particular food.
  • You can also move the bladed-end around in the food using the pulse option until you have it as blended as you like.
  • Clean-up is a breeze and so much easier than ejecting messy beaters. Just run a little warm water in the sink, immerse, and hit the High/Low button a few times.  Using the rationale that if it can be plugged in and the bladed end immersed in eggs and milk, the bladed end can also be immersed in dish water.  Not the motor end – just the blade.
  • USE CAUTION - the blade is small, but very sharp and when spinning, could be very injurious if not handled carefully.

Sunbeam Products, Inc.

Boca Raton, FL










Sharon M. Hannon




Pros: A fact-filled amalgamation of outstanding female bravery (would that be different from a male?)

Cons: At only sixty-four pages, I’m not sure the purpose of such a limited tome.

” As for encasing the more earthward extremities of my anatomy in trousers, I would rather have perished on a scaffold”. 

 Mary Henrietta Kingsley 1862-1900

I chuckle when I read that quote, but Mary Kingsley was as serious as could be.

Indeed, I could have (and did!) find much ‘prettier’ pictures of Ms. Kingsley, but this picture depicts her attitude exactly of how a woman should present herself, whether she was in London, or the jungles of Africa meeting a tribal chief. It’s almost impossible to imagine this prim and proper lady wielding a machete, hacking her way through a dense, humid jungle, or bopping an intrusive crocodile on the head with her canoe paddle, but she did both – in a long black skirt and high-collared, white blouse no less!  After reading many, many accounts of female explorers and adventurers, I think it’s safe to say Mary Kingsley was the  ne plus ultra of lady explorers for her undaunted courage and adventuresome nature.



Harriet Chalmers Adams, but five-foot tall, was a little dynamo. She crisscrossed the globe and South America especially, as if she were playing hopscotch, returning to give exciting lectures for the National Geographic Society – in a “long red evening gown”, thank you very much.

The books’ cover picture (above) is from one of Ms. Chalmers-Adams adventures to a far-distant part of the world – the Gobi Desert in Mongolia.




Louise Arner-Boyd


I like the pleasant things that most women enjoy;  . . . At sea I don’t bother with my hands , except to keep them from being frozen, but I do powder my nose before going on deck.”

Louise Arner-Boyd was an heiress and socialite whose chosen area of exploration was the polar regions of the Arctic and mapping the east coast of Greenland.


This is just a small sampling of the lady-explorers depicted in this miniature tome.  They had but few things in common – gender, of course, and a fierce determination to go beyond what were, at the time, considered lady-like interests.  Some had their own money, either through hereditary wealth or widow endowments, others had to scrape and scrounge for every nickel, mostly by collecting specimens for museums, speeches and promising newspapers exclusive stories upon their return. Most enjoyed robust health, while others were on journeys that had been recommended by their physician to ‘cure’, or at least relieve, some particular malady.  Some had a husband living, and children,  others like Mary Kingsley, were unmarried, and remained so all their lives.

One of the most daring similarities between these ladies was, that other than books they had read, their (almost) complete ignorance of the lands they were planning to explore. It was almost as if that element in itself was the impetus, the intrigue – they just wanted to go and see . Perhaps they felt having food, potable water, some type of weapon, ( although very few carried any) and a conveyance, whether it be man or beast to carry their packs, they would be happy wandering down any road they chose.  And they did, by the hundreds.

I enjoyed this book very much. It is but one I have in a considerable library of women who found the greatest happiness testing their ability to challenge and survive adversity.

Women Explorers

Sharon M. Hannon

Published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.

ISBN 13-798-0-7649-3892-4

64 pages






Reusable Grocery Tote Bag by






Pros: Heavy-duty construction for secure carrying, emulates grocery bag dimensions

Cons: Straps could be a little longer

First, let me say, this is not a political statement or review. The information provided is the result of research, and my own personal experience with the use, and subsequent banning, of one-time-use plastic bags.  Since I am convinced that sooner or later one-time-use plastic bags will be (virtually) and universally banned, I hope you find this preemptive information helpful.

In October 2012, the City of Eugene (Oregon), banned  one-time-use plastic bags in grocery stores and shops, with exemptions (for) meat and produce. Eugene was Oregon’s third city to mandate the ban – Portland and Corvallis being the other two. The public’s initial (and protracted) reactions were very mixed from ‘Are you kidding? How are we supposed to transport our grocery and other purchases, without a bag? ‘ to ‘Wonderful – an ecological  and environmental victory!’

My opinion fell somewhere in the middle, or more accurately, toward both sides. I already knew that plastic bags were over-burdening our landfills and causing genuine havoc with land, air and sea wildlife an alarming rate – like 100,000 deaths a year of whales, turtles, seals and cattle. I’m deeply concerned about these figures, but I wasn’t hearing any sound and/or workable alternatives. Whomever created the one-time-use plastic bag had a long and strong following. In other words, the need had been created – what now?


Well, fast-forward two years. . . the “what now? ” question has been answered by totes. Canvas, leather, cotton, crocheted, knit, vinyl ( which I suppose could be considered in some form or fashion, just another petroleum product). In my research I learned that Oregon shoppers use(d) 1.7 BILLION one-time-use plastic bags annually – Eugene being responsible for 67 millions bags alone! I just have to feel better about 134 million fewer bags going into the environment.

Many people still use plastic bags that they get when shopping in the nearby town of Springfield and other smaller outlying towns.  I’ve even seen people put their groceries right back in the shopping cart, sans any bag, and wheel them out to their vehicle. But by and large, most people have adapted, and now carry tote bags in their car. The stores do offer paper bags for $.05 – but then there is the legitimate issue of over-using forest products. Each is left to make their own evaluation.

We’ll skip right over the How to Use A Tote  tutorial.

What to look for in a well-made, sturdy tote than will be used repeatedly:

  • Make sure it’s washable. Over time you’re likely to get all kinds of stains on and in, the bag.
  • Make sure the straps are sewed on very securely – double-stitched are better. Straps that completely encircle the bag are best – adding much-needed strength and support.
  • Know the weight-limit of the tote. Canned goods, although relatively small, can add weight very quickly.
  • Learn how to pack your tote so you get the most use of the limited space. I’ve entered the store with two totes, but came out with those filled, and two bags besides.
  • It’s useful if the tote has little pockets for items like a pen and note pad.

Simply Green Solutions Reuseable Grocery Totes are:

  • Made of Recyclable polypropylene.
  • 14×16.5×6″ – approximately the same size as a standard grocery store-type paper bag.
  • 15″ inch straps
  • Has a snap closure at the top so your purchases won’t fall out.
  • Comes in twenty colors that can be written on with a felt pen to identify the owner, or, to indicate a specific use for each bag. I have a cutting board I use for meat cutting only – same principle.

Now, if they can just come up with a way to ban disposable diapers and doggie poo-bags, I’ll be happy!