Archive for 2019

Please Help me with Food Storage

I want food storage like so: some big ones, some small ones, some plastic, some glass. It’s not hard. Big ones hold meals, small ones hold leftovers, and Abigail-size portions. Plastic is light enough to carry and it’s hard to break. Glass is sturdy, doesn’t stain, and is less likely to give me cancer or synthetic estrogen or however plastic is killing us these days.

I want stackable, I want snap-lids that stay on, I want one or two sizes of tops for the whole set.

It’s a big big big big world. Why can’t someone offer this for sale?

I started getting close… Snapware says their “Total Solution” food storage tops fit both their plastic and glass containers! But then I can’t actually find them for sale. Grrr!

Please tell me you have a solution! Help me Interwebs, please!


12-29-19 Update:

My friend Megan S wrote: I think I saw something like this at ikea. They sell each container and lid separately but I think the lids fit whether you get the plastic or glass. I saw it awhile ago, and don’t really remember what they had but it might be worth a visit!

I responded: OMG! “Ikea 365+” comes in glass and plastic, 34 ounce, rectangular containers, with snap lids! Check, check, check, and check! Megan, I might be going to Ikea tomorrow!   and


My friend Sarah K wrote: The 99 Ranch Market in Richmond has great Tupperware for good prices. I got a bunch of different sizes of glass containers with snap on plastic lids that create a seal capable of keeping liquid in. They also make a plastic version, not sure of the brand though.

Lisa K wrote Love our Rubbermaid Brilliance containers.

I replied: Lisa, the Rubbermaid Brilliance certainly come highly recommended! And I see that the “triton” plastic it’s made with has been thoroughly tested to be safe ( I might still have to pass on safety fears. I’ll call it more “fears” than “concerns” but I just don’t trust putting plastic containers in a microwave oven with it’s sometimes very hot hot-spots. I joke around the house about “being turned into a girl” by plastic but I wouldn’t joke about it if I wasn’t worried about it…
Thanks for the pointer, it looks like a really good food storage product!

Update 1-9-20: I got the Ikea storage containers and they rock. 1 lid for plastic, glass, small, and large containers!

Update 1-25-20: We’ve been using the Ikea “365+” containers for a month and we’re very happy with them! We have several 34 ounce clear containers in glass and plastic (polypropylene) and a few 61 ounce containers also in glass and plastic. It’s wonderful that they ALL use the same lid! I got some different colored seals for variety and they are a welcome splash of color!
It would be nice if there were some dividers for the 34 ounce containers so I could put a few different types of leftovers / items in one container; I see that Ikea has dividers! (here!) Though I didn’t see them at the Emeryville store. They may be in our future.
Megan mentioned the other day something like, “You know, I -do- like having more evenly rectangular shapes in the fridge. Megan Sadou, thanks for pointing me in the right direction and to everyone else who commented!!

For reference, here is info about the 34 ounce size container from the Ikea website.
34 ounce: 8″ x 6″ x 3″ Hmm, the plastic one says its 21 x 15 x 6 cm which is 8 1/4 x 6 x 2 1/4″. But it’s the same lids :-/
61 ounce: 8″ x 6″ x 5″
There’s a larger one that uses the same lid but I can’t find it right now.



The snap-and-lock lid prevents leakage and protects the contents from frost damage, making it ideal for both transporting food and storing leftovers.

The food container is made of oven-safe glass and can be used as an oven/serving dish.

The container is made of glass, which does not absorb odors or discolor from tomato sauce, etc, so the food container is easy to clean.

The jar and the lid are both transparent, so it’s easy to find what you are looking for, regardless of where the jar is placed.

Wash this product before using it for the first time.


Sarah Fager

Length:  8 “
Width:  6 “
Height:  3 “
Volume:  34 oz
Food container






Leave lid ajar while heating to release steam.

Food container with lid

The lid is microwave-safe; heat food up to 212 °F.

The container is microwave-safe.

The container is oven-safe, but the lid is not.

Food container:

No cadmium or lead added.


No BPA (Bisphenol A) added.


Food container

Heat resistant glass





Silicone rubber

Packages: 2

IKEA 365+



Width:  8 ¼ “

Height:   ½ “

Length:  10 ¼ “

Weight:  5 oz

Package(s):  1

IKEA 365+

food container


Width:  5 ¾ “

Height:  2 ¼ “

Length:  8 ¼ “

Weight:  1 lb 10 oz

Package(s):  1

What’s Wrong With Lindt Chocolate

I finally figured out why Lindt Chocolate is weird.

He’s looking the wrong way! First, he’s not looking at what he’s working on, the chocolate truffle that is DOWN in front of him. And he’s not looking at the whisk either! He’s looking somewhere off into space to the left of it! WTF?

It’s fine chocolate but the packaging has always been a strong negative and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.

Harry Dresden

I’ve been listening to Harry Dresden audiobooks for about a year now. What a joy it has been to follow “Chicago’s only professional wizard”. I’ve got 2 books before the end of the series as it stands. I’m in awe at how with each book, the quality of his writing writing increases. Jim Butcher could write a cookbook and it would encompass the entirety of the human experience in each recipe.

If you want to give it a try, start with the fourth book, “Summer Knight”. The first book was his first right out of writing school, and while it’s ok, the writing and storyline hit their stride in “Summer Knight”!

Whirlpool Dishwasher

We just got one of the better Whirlpool dishwashers, model wdta50sahz.

Here’s a local copy of the user manual: Whirlpool UserGuide-W10901523-RevA(ECO)

It was so disappointing to see so many little things wrong, right out of the box.

[followup 11-12-22: This Whirlpool dishwasher nearly always leaves something dirty. I do not recommend it to you at all.  No amount of fiddling has improved how well the Whirlpool dishwasher cleans.

Instead, I strongly recommend the Bosch Ascenta we had at our last house. It was awesome! The Bosch Ascenta always got everything perfectly clean!]

(I’ve got a recommendation for another dishwasher at the bottom of this post)

Here’s my review after 1 day using it:
Starting out, it came with a short, fold-out user manual. It was stapled incorrectly which is pretty insulting. They’ve been at this dishwasher thing for like 100 years and I had to tear the staple out to open the manual? Not a good start.

The User Guide opens with “In an effort to conserve natural resources, this dishwasher includes a condensed User Guide.” That sounds a -lot- like, “Spending $800 on a dishwasher doesn’t get you a manual. Ha ha! Let’s blame ‘the environment’ for that!”

The manual didn’t describe how to use the dishwasher correctly. Most importantly, it doesn’t say how you need to push the Start button twice to start the cycle. Since the way to start the device isn’t intuitive, that is the MOST important thing the manual should describe! Another weird one: it firmly implies that you should add the rinse agent every time you add soap (step 3 is “add detergent”, step 4 is “add rinse aid”)… whaa?

How does the “Extended Dry” setting differ from the regular setting? No one knows!

After running it unsuccessfully 3 times, I finally came across the correct incantation to run it (push “Go” twice, slowly). I’m now trying to figure out the right amount of soap and settings so our dishes don’t get white crap on them. Ugh. I miss our dishwasher in Berkeley!

In conclusion, when I saw that the very first thing I had to do was tear open a poorly stapled manual, I got this very “this is so unprofessional” vibe and became negative. After a hundred years of making stuff, I hoped they’d be able to offer a better user experience.

A recommendation:

In our last apartment, we got a Bosch Ascenta Dishwasher (Model SHE3AR76UC/22) in 2017. It was the top-rated Consumer Reports model and it was an absolute dream! From start to end it was wonderful! I definitely recommend it!

In our new place in El Cerrito, we had to get a Whirlpool because that is what the building management company knows how to fix. Ugh.

Keep Your Fingers on the Keyboard with Gmail

I just noticed that Gmail has a new, wonderful feature. If you misspell a word, you can fix it without taking your fingers off the keyboard! This is so nice! Switching to use the mouse takes only a few moments  of time but it takes a cognitive switch that sucks away momentum from my writing. This change will help!
Instead of lifting your fingers to the mouse, do this:
– Use the arrows to move the cursor over the red-underlined word
– Watch as a suggestion pops up
– Hit Tab to choose the suggestion
– Hit Enter to put the suggestion in place
– Done!!

Chemicals That Make Your Rugs Stain-Resistant Are Bad For You And Your Children

I took note of this article because our preschool participated in the study and did the right thing. They replaced their carpets (and lots of other people should too!!) with natural wool because it’s been found that the chemicals that made rugs stain resistant have chemicals that are bad for people… especially people that crawl a lot!

The science: there are a lot of related chemicals that use flourine to make themselves stain resistant. The Teflon in pans,  PFAS (poly-flouroalkyl substances), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and a bunch more. They put them in rugs to make them stain resistant but it’s bad stuff. It rubs off on kids hands, they lick their hands, and messes with their bodies in serious, long term ways.


Community Resources For Students With Disabilities in the Bay Area

Here are some community resources for students with disabilities in the bay area

SNAP swim program in Berkeley and Challenger baseball leagues

Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP)
Xenophon Therapeutic Riding Center

Kids Gym, Berkeley
This 10,000-square-foot facility is the crème de la crème for indoor play when you’ve got a kid who needs to get moving! Their open gym is available for kids up at 11 years old (plus their caregivers) and offers swings, an indoor zip line, toys for fine motor skills development, crash mats, pillows and more. Kids will work on skills like balance, coordination and sharing without even knowing it! Need a break from all the stimulation? Head to the quiet room for some down time. Check the schedule for special events like circle time, kids yoga and everyone’s favorite–the dance party.
2920 Seventh Street
Berkeley, CA

Magical Bridge Playground, Palo Alto
Touted as one of the nation’s most inclusive playgrounds, the Magical Bridge opened its Palo Alto location in April 2015 to pleased children and parents alike. With five different “play zones” to choose from, kids can swing, sway, spin and slide to their heart’s content. The music zone was provided to motivate interaction, facilitate socialization and improve social skills among children. Pretend play is encouraged throughout the playground but especially in the two-story playhouse that is fully accessible to all children via ramps and bridges.
Mitchell Park
600 East Meadow Road
Palo Alto, CA

Grins ‘n’ Giggles Party Space
Established by Gatepath, a nonprofit serving individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for more than 98 years, Grins ‘n’ Giggles party space was designed with specialized indoor and outdoor play structures to accommodate children of all abilities and accessible for those with special needs and disabilities. Best of all, it’s available year-round, rain or shine. Grins ‘n’ Giggles is staffed by credentialed early childhood educators with experience in caring for children of all abilities, who will help parents plan a fun-filled day of activities, which could include face painting, art projects, bounce house jumping, parachute games and guided play.
Grins ‘n’ Giggles
McCarthy Center for Children & Families
1764 Marco Polo Way
Burlingame, CA

Rotary PlayGarden, San Jose
Donated by the Rotary of San Jose in 2015, this park aims to enable children with special needs to play alongside their siblings and friends. Right near the airport (with loads of planes flying overhead!), the park offers a wheelchair accessible merry-go-round (moved by kid power!), slides, swings and all sorts of kinetic art to get kids exploring. The entire play area is fenced for safety but there’s not a ton of shade there so go on a cloudy day. Read more about our visit here.

Guadalupe River Park
Coleman Avenue at Autumn Street
San Jose, CA

Sky High Sports, Special Needs Jump Time
Sky High Sports turns off the music, dims the lights and dials down the distractions on Tuesdays from 3-6 p.m. for the comfort of guests. Jump sessions for kids with special needs and their families is a passion project for Sky High founder Jerry Raymond. The father of a special needs son, Jerry has witnessed how jumping can help improve motor and sensory skills, social interaction and overall fitness for kids and young adults on the Autism spectrum as well as young people with Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and other disorders. During special jump sessions, each jumper is $5 from 3pm until 6pm with one parent or therapist free. Family members who jump are also just $5.

Sky High Sports
2880 Mead Ave.
Santa Clara, CA

Sensory-Friendly Movies at AMC
On the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, select AMC theaters offer a sensory-friendly screening of kid-friendly new releases. They turn the lights up and the sound down to make it more comfortable for kids. Everyone is free to sing, dance, shout and walk around as needed throughout the film. These theaters offer this amazing program so check their online schedule for upcoming showings:

San Francisco: AMC CLASSIC Deer Valley 16, AMC Showplace Manteca 16
Oakland: AMC Bay Street 16
San Jose: AMC Mercado 20

Swim and Gym Inclusion Program At the Downtown Berkeley YMCA, families with children with special needs are welcomed to participate in regular programming, but also catered to with tumbling and swimming classes for ages 2-6 and creative movement, games, and friendship building workshops for ages 4-12. Contact Rachel or Eden with questions about accommodations or these programs: 510.665.3280.

E-Sports includes several Bay Area community service programs: E-Soccer, E-Karate, E-Hoops, E-Fitness, and our newest, E-Dance. Each program specializes in inclusion, which partners kids with typical and special needs alongside each other in various athletic capacities. These programs have pioneered the inclusive sports philosophy and made an impact on families from California to Kenya.

E-Hoops Locations

E-Soccer Locations

Today’s Hopeful Quote

“Hope is a force of nature, don’t let anyone tell you different.”

– Jim Butcher from the book Changes

Today’s Quote

“You can’t manipulate someone with candor and truth. That is called enlightenment.”

– (slightly paraphrased) from the book Changes by Jim Butcher

Home sick

I had to stay home sick. Blah. Just lots of mild “blah” symptoms all over my person. I’m laying low so I feel better for my trip to Florida over Thanksgiving break!