Friday, January 27, 2017

Best "Buds"

Newest granddaughter celebrated her 1-month "birthday" a couple of weeks ago. Since the family lives nearly 8 hours away, we won't be able to see many of her milestones firsthand. These cell phone photos were provided by her mom.
Her most recent milestone was "tummy" time.

She has a companion in grand puppy Lola, who is very watchful and protective.
She's also a pillow for her young companion under the watchful eyes of mom and dad.

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Banana Yogurt Muffins

Despite our best efforts to buy underripe bananas when shopping. They usually ripen faster than we can eat them. 

My solution . . . bake banana muffins for breakfast or as a mid-day treat. 

This recipe courtesy of Chobani®️ yogurt contains yogurt so it's healthy too — right?  (don't disillusion me if not). It.was one of the easiest and tastiest that we're enjoyed (and we've tried quite a few). The original recipe used vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt. I substituted (non-Chobani) plain Greek yogurt (it worked fine) and added 1 tsp vanilla flavoring and some chopped roasted walnuts.

Banana Yogurt Muffins
  • 1/2 C Greek vanilla yogurt or plain yogurt
  • 1 C all-purpose flour 
  • 1 C whole wheat flour 
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon 
  • ¼ tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla (if using plain yogurt - would most likely work OK with vanilla too)
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed 
  • 1 C packed light brown sugar 
  • ½ C canola oil 
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4-1/2 C chopped walnuts or pecans (your choice)
Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  1. Lightly coat 12-count muffin tin with cooking spray. (Note: I had a larger 6-count muffin tin and made 10 muffins.)
  2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  3. Use an electric mixer and beat bananas with brown sugar, yogurt, oil and egg. Add dry ingredients, mixing on low until combined. If using nuts, combine last by hand.
  4. Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake until golden-brown and center of a muffin resists light pressure, 20-25 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.
Here's nutritional values info from the Chobani: Calories 180, calories from fat 60, total fat 7g, saturated fat 1g, trans fat 0g, cholesterol 10mg, sodium 140mg, total carbohydrate 29g, dietary fiber 2g, sugars 16g, protein 3g.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Funnies

This building and the cylindrical structure were seen last fall in CT.
Any caption thoughts? — all suggestions welcomed
Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Once Upon a Story . . .

Remember when someone told you a story?

We all like stories — no matter what age or where we live. 

Stories are timeless. Thankfully, folks are still telling them today, whether broadcast on radio or being shared through computers, tablets, and smart phones through podcasts.

Podcasting has continued to grow in both audience and programming in recent years; the term derives from pod (ipod) and cast (radio broadcast). 

Podcasts, which have been called, "Internet radio on demand" can provide more content than broadcast radio. AM and FM bands have limited channels airing content to reach a "broad" audience. Satellite radio provides more choices, but usually on a scheduled basis. A podcast is aimed at those interested in listening (or watching) on their schedules.  

In a March 2016 post, I wrote about several of my (then) favorite podcasts. I've expanded my listening with even more. Here's some of my current favorite podcasts.

The Moth bills itself as "true stories told live." It's old-fashioned story telling where ordinary people from all walks of life tell stories in front of a live audience. Three times a month, audiences gather to listen to these strangers tell them stories. This is one of the well respected and most popular podcasts around today.

The Monti, based in North Carolina also features people telling stories to a live audience. Topics range from families, friends, and loves, to hopes and dreams. These true stories are told by people who don't use notes in sharing their amazing and often compelling tales. Monthly story sessions are held around the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of NC. 

Mortified celebrates stories shared through the strange and extraordinary things people did in childhood. Adults share their most embarrassing youthful diaries, letters, poems, and more. They often reveal intimate details about their lives from a first kiss, first smoke, family spats, to their best or worst job.

Ever heard of a story-slam ? 
This is an open microphone competition open to anyone who wants to share a 5-minute story based on the evening's theme. "Story-slammers" sign up on the night of the event. The Moth regularly hosts story-slams which can be viewed online via YouTube

For me, podcasts are not only entertaining but often informative, and it's something I can do while using the treadmill in the gym here.

Your turn — Do you listen to or have any favorite podcasts?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Some News is Not Good

To all who left a comment or shared a not-so-great buying experience in a recent post rant on our BR furniture delivery. We appreciated reading them and the offered advice as well. 

Since then, we have (finally) spoken with the manager of the local furniture store. And, as bad as we thought things were before, learned that the manufacturer had the pieces sitting on a loading dock for over 3 weeks (including the wrong bed). Not until it was picked up and delivered to NH, was it noticed that the wrong bed frame been sent. 😟

Now, the local store manager is contacting both the manufacturer and its sales rep to have the situation resolved ASAP. He assured us of an update call by the end of this week  — whether good or bad (more delay) news. 

To be continued . . .

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Never Believe a Salesman

To be sure, there are many serious problems in the country and the world. We recognize that this is not one of those . . . but some things are just SO frustrating and annoying. This is just a personal rant; thanks for reading. 

It's been widely said "never trust a car salesman." We can't vouch for that statement as our vehicles are 10 and 13 years old, respectively.

However, we do have direct experience with a furniture salesman, who was very friendly when we were looking at the purchase of a new BR set last September. (Disclaimer: this is a personal experience post and not meant to disparage ales people. There are some very fine ones who we have dealt with on other purchases.)

That said, this is a (very) long post about a furniture buying experienceWe were ready for something new and really nice in the bedroom. Our previous furniture was inexpensive and serviceable, but nothing "special." We were ready for "special and nice."

We found it over the Labor Day weekend in early Sept after checking out several major retailers in Nashua, NH. The salesman told us that the set we selected would be coming from NC, a plus as we prefer "made in USA" whenever possible. We bought a platform bed, 2 dressers, 2 nightstands, and a new queen mattress. The salesman told us the BR set was a popular model, custom made and that delivery would not be until mid to late October.

That was OK. We had sold our current furniture. The purchasers were willing to wait until the holidays to pick it up.

All was good or so we thought.

In October, the furniture store manager told us there was a back order on the platform bed. Now, it would not be available until mid-November. We let the buyers of our set know of the delay and again no problem. As the end of November got closer, we contacted them and arranged for a weekend pickup. We figured the set would be in shortly so we could "rough" it for a few nights sleeping on the couch and futon.  

WAIT . . . another call and YES another delay, until mid-December. But, the mattress and nightstands were ready for delivery, no dressers or platform bed. 

Nightstands and mattress were delivered, along with a loaner box spring and bed frame. We were assured the remaining pieces would be in the warehouse before year-end. As we would be away for part of the Christmas holiday, this latest delay (while frustrating) wasn't a big issue. We arranged for end of December delivery.

You guessed it. 
Christmas came (and went) and no delivery. We called and were told that the bed frame wasn't in yet. Delivery was rescheduled for January 11.

The day before (January 10),  we got a call from the warehouse. The bed was checked and the wrong bed frame had been sent. The manufacturer would be called and we would receive a new estimated delivery date.

New date -  4-6 weeks, which means about the end of February. 
No kidding!

The salesman after taking the order (and full payment) has not been in contact despite assurances he would "be in touch." In November, the store manager assured us he'd "be keeping on top of this order" is either "not in" or "unavailable" in recent weeks. Have both forgotten that the customer comes first?

And that statement about the furniture coming from NC was a bit very misleading. That's because the manufacturer's warehouse and distribution center is in NC; it's not made there. A fact we didn't know until the pieces were delivered with a country of origin tag. 

Would we have bought it knowing this beforehand?

Probably not as "made in USA" is important to us and we would have shopped elsewhere. That said, the pieces we've received are well made. A friend suggested we return it all, but after investing so much time, the prospect of starting over is not appealing.

What irks us most (besides all the delays) is the repeated failure to return phone calls. 

By the end of this week, we're visiting the local furniture store.
It's harder to ignore customers that way. 

How about you?
Have you had any buying experiences that went really bad?

(No names have been included herein nor will we disclose the name of the furniture store which is a national retailer. Name starts with "A." Draw your own conclusions.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A Grand New Year

Our Christmas post announced the arrival of the newest grandchild who was born in  in mid-December. Luckily, we arrived there before she did.
During the holidays we also visited the two older grandchildren. 

The oldest granddaughter is very outgoing and already a little beauty.
Our grandson just started his 10th year in December. He's very interested in science and math and good at both.
And, he's also a very big Star Wars fan.
Yes, they are growing up very fast.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Friday Funnies

Please excuse the true bathroom humor in this photo post — no puns added.

Ladies first . . .

Then, men . . .
The images were sent by our friend, Thomas, who said were in Las Vegas rest rooms. (Nope, we didn't question how he got both images.)

Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Unexpected Gifts Are . . .

We couldn't agree more and last week we received these from a very unexpected place — a small local thrift store, Lucky Dog
This thrift store is the fundraising headquarters for the non-profit, Tails to Freedom, Inc., which promotes animals through education and financial assistance. As former pet owners we appreciate those goals. 
Like others, we've donated and shopped here and also contributed paper goods (toilet tissue, paper towels) cleaning supplies and financial support. In a small shop, those "necessary" items are most appreciated. 

Lucky Dog is within walking distance of our apartment. We visit often and showed photos of our "snowmen" display; seen here.  Our "gift" included selected "snowman" items: drink stirrers, gift boxes, figurines, candle holders, and a card. We're thankful for all and some snowmen displayed the past two years will be donated. 

BIG  hint: never let folks know about a themed display or you too may be "gifted" with more of the same. Last year, neighbors and friends also gifted us with snowmen.

We might change the theme next year and not share with anyone.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Starting the New Year

We started the New Year by walking in Mine Falls Park here in Nashua, NH. There's an entrance close to our mill apartment.

The morning after a snowfall is always beautiful viewed from our 5th floor window. The Nashua River is not yet frozen over, but there's still a lot of winter weather to come.

Walking in the park after a fresh snowfall is a wonderful experience. Some folks had been out earlier than we were as evidenced by their footprints. Grenville is in the lead here.
This was a wet snowfall and there was a lot of snow left on trees along the path.

Just some fun with a fish eye effect that's part of the built-in features of the camera being used, an Olympus Stylus Tough.

More special effects, this time using the soft focus setting.

We hope that 2017 will be a year of good things for everyone.