Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Smoke and Mirrors: Word Counters

Eggnog & Espresso Chip Banana Bread, a version of banana bread with the subtle flavor of eggnog, and topped with espresso baking chips. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bread


Counting my words again. 

Today my fellow Word Counters and I are sharing our monthly group post. Each month one group member picks  a number between 12 and 50. All participating bloggers are then challenged to write something (or a few somethings, as the case may be) using that exact number of words. Today we all share what we came up with.  

This month's number is 32

It was chosen by Mimi.





As I've been doing in these Word Counters posts, I've chosen a theme and am using my word count multiple times in keeping with the theme. This month I've chosen the theme Smoke and Mirrors, and I'll explain why.

~ There's a lot I like about some of the changes that came about in shopping during the age of covid. So much more is available online, for shipping and for pick up.

~ But there's also a lot that suffers from lack of personal contact. Not only can't you look someone in the eye to discuss issues, but many you cannot call on the phone.

~ Many retailers require you to "chat" with "customer service" online. This is an issue because most don't speak English well, and either don't understand or don't have the power to resolve issues.

~ My Amazon order showed what I chose with an incorrect description. "Chatted" with customer service, who would do nothing but tell me I'd "probably" get what I wanted, or should return it.
~ Same Amazon order.
Ordering email: Order to arrive Saturday.
Wednesday, checked order: "has not shipped, still arriving Saturday."
Thursday email: Order shipped, to arrive Sunday.
Saturday email: Order delivered, one day early!

Smoke and Mirrors | graphic designed by, featured on, and property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

~ We've had longstanding cable issues. They provided new boxes assuring us there's be no change to our bill, which immediately went up. Spent TWO HOURS "chatting" with FIVE reps, brain dead, all.
~ Facebook suddenly blocked me from editing a file in a group that I administer. I requested a review of their decision and stated my case. I'm still waiting. January was two years . . .
~ For PurDude's renter's insurance renewal, they texted a huge increase. Couldn't get customer service to respond anywhere, and found nowhere to cancel online. I had to hunt the CEO down on LinkedIn.

Eggnog & Espresso Chip Banana Bread, a version of banana bread with the subtle flavor of eggnog, and topped with espresso baking chips. | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #bread

Eggnog & Espresso Chip Banana Bread

~ USPS continues its innovation in delivery: like screeching in reverse up my driveway to throw packages (including breakables) onto my front porch, then making sure to run over the lawn when leaving.
~ Recently the package required a signature. The signature remote didn't work, mailman just left. Message from sender said USPS reported us unavailable, we now have to pick it up from USPS ourselves. 
~ Another package. Mailman parked out front, then drove to the cluster box leaving a form saying we hadn't been home for receipt. I was here. I saw him. He never left the truck.

~ Congratulations, corporate America (and sorry, customer suckers). Customer Service and Shipping have merged. They'll now be the Smoke and Mirrors department. No services will be provided, but they'll keep pretending they are . . .

Word Counters, a monthly multiblogger writing challenge | run by and graphic property of www.BakingInATornado.com | #bloggingchallenge #MyGraphics

Here are links to the other Word Counters posts:

Baking In A Tornado signature | www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics

Eggnog & Espresso Chip Banana Bread       

Printable Recipe

3/4 stick butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 large or 3 small overripe bananas
1 cup eggnog, can substitute 1 cup half and half or vanilla creamer + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 1/4 cups plus 1/2 tsp flour, divided
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup espresso baking chips

*Grease 2 loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
*Cream the butter and the sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs, bananas, and eggnog. Mix in 2 1/4 cups of the flour, the salt, and the baking powder. Pour evenly into the 2 prepared loaf pans.
*Toss the espresso baking chips with the remaining 1/2 tsp flour to coat them. Sprinkle them evenly onto the top of the batter in each of the loaf pans.
*Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, until the tops spring back to the touch. Cool in the loaf pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely before slicing.


  1. I share all of your frustrations. There is just so much broken. Carol C

    1. Yes, and since it's working for the companies (costing them less), my fear is that it will continue to get worse.

  2. I love my FedEx and UPS delivery drivers. They come to the back and bring it right to me. Now USPS, is a mess! I have been so upset with them lately. Last year I left my keys in a restaurant 150 miles from home. Manager mailed them never received. Then the very worst is I was contacted by a cousin of mine. She had come across something that belonged to my dad that she wanted me to have. Mailed and again never received. Our mailbox is a mile down the road and I've asked repeatedly for them not to put packages there but...

    1. I didn't get any results from our local USPS until I complained on the USPS website, they then contacted our local office and monitored the responses. Then, and only then, were my issues addressed. The issues with your keys is terrifying. The issue with your dad's belongings is heartbreaking.

  3. So far, I've not had any of these! Will reading this jinx it all somehow? Yesterday saw a terribly storm here (as it did in many places). My delivery person arrived with my item. My office window opens directly out on my front porch. We had a little chat whilst he was dropping off.
    But someone from Amazon was videoed dropping off a package, photographing it for the record, then taking it with him.
    What a world!

  4. None of these issues, but I've had other issues. Like the gift my boss's boss sent me for Christmas (how nice!) that was misdelivered, and it took me a week to find that out, because...oh, don't get me started. Or on what happened after that (which actually ended well.)
    The US Postal service has fallen on hard times, too. Try calling them. I dare you. I double dare you. Nothing anyone says about service in general would even surprise me anymore. As for the recipe (now that I'm worked up about your customer service problems), I have a box of banana bread mix in the house and expresso chips. Wonder if I can work eggnog into it. Hmmm. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    1. My local post office does not even answer the phone. But when I complained on the USPS website and they forwarded it to our post office, I did get results. The local guy even said he's appreciate a phone call next time, to which I responded that I'd tried EIGHT times before making my complaint on the USPS website. SO frustrating.

  5. Thankfully I haven't had any problems here down under getting packages delivered.

    1. Our postal system could (should) take a lesson from yours.

  6. Anything that doesn't fit in a mailbox gets set inside our building foyer. I don't get many packages, but as far as I can tell everything for our eight-unit building is delivered in good shape.

  7. We've run into trouble with the USPS. One delivery person who didn't want to walk up the slight incline to our front door said the front of our house was inaccessible.

    As for online ordering, i try not to with most stuff.

    1. The amount of online ordering I do correlates with the arc of covid numbers.


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