November, 2011 | Bettina Network's Blog

Archive for November, 2011

Bettina Having Fun!

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Our technology knowledge is moving fast.  You will find grapics, videos, music and more on Bettina Network’s Blog.

You will also find information about companiess and reviews of events.  For the company – these are not paid advertisements – we do not take paid advertisements.  These are comments and information from a member of the Bettina Network Community who has used the company’s services and/or products, thinks they are special and wants to share that information with the rest of the Bettina Network Community.

For events – someone from the Bettina Network decides which events we will attend and review.  If we attend an event, that does not mean that attendance will result in a review.  All of that depends upon what we think about what we have seen, heard and experienced.

Hope you enjoy the results – especially now that we have entered the picture age.

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

The Concord Cheese Shop

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

copyright 2010 by Julie – Traveling Taste Buds

Hours Open: Tue-Fri 10am-5:30pm and Sat 9:30am-5:30pm

web site: www.concordcheeseshop.com
email: peter@concordcheeseshop.com

29 Walden Street
Concord, MA. 01742-2504
978 369 5778

One of Concord’s celebrated establishments, a perennial “Best of Boston,” not to be missed by any visitor to the town center, has lured foodies down Walden Street since 1967. Its current (and third) proprietor, Peter Lovis, has been serving out samples of the 150-200 varieties of domestic and international cheeses since 1976. You will never buy a cheese there that you can’t taste first! But cheese is not the only food for sale at the Cheese Shop. There’s a vast and excellent (including some bargain specials) selection of wines; there are many gourmet items including chocolates, pastries, spices, olive oils, holiday treats, nuts, pickles, jams, and more. The Cheese Shop Deli is famous for its chicken salad, for carrying “Famous Phil’s Subs,” for its terrific charcuterie, coffees, and its many fabulous freshly made preparations. Besides its warmth, the overwhelming attribute of the Cheese Shop is its internationalism: indeed, at one count the shop’s offerings represented 80 different countries!

NOT TO BE MISSED AT THE CHEESE SHOP:  Make a note to spend December 1st in Concord so you can be present at the Cheese Shop’s Cheese Parade.  A 400 pound wheel of cheese is rolled down the red carpet with music and rose petals.  Be there for this fun event!  Missed this year?  Mark your calendars and make your reservations at one of the Bettina Network homes in Concord to be present at next years Cheese Shop’s Cheese Parade.

A special feature offered by the Cheese Shop deli is their “Friday night supper” menu. $75 brings home a three course gourmet dinner for two, including a baguette and a bottle of wine. All you have to do is heat up the entree; often as not you’ll have enough for lunch on Saturday, too. Many Concord couples make this a monthly treat, but a “Friday night supper” could also be ideal for those taking advantage of ‘eating dinner in’ at the Bettina Network Bed and Breakfast where they are staying. The hosts are always happy to lend the service of their oven or microwave. Just remember that the meals are not offered during the holiday season, which is an extra busy time for the Cheese Shop.

In short, any visitor to Concord would enjoy doing what concordians do: take a stroll down Walden Street for a taste trip around the world. As Peter Levis says, “don’t come in a rush!”

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Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

Comcast – The Saga Continues

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

We’ve seen the advertisements Comcast has put all over television and other places touting its great customer service with guarantees.  They don’t say the penalty on Comcast if they violate that guarantee.  They have and are still violating it, from the experience of the Bettina Network, inc.

Having filed a complaint against Comcast with the FCC we wondered if that was a waste of time or if it will produce results.  The problem we started with was miniscule and could have been corrected with very little effort on Comcast’s part.  We can only assume they are either totally incompetent and should close their doors or they have a vendetta against Bettina Network, inc.

What we have just experienced is beyond the pale!

We received a telephone call from  a Comcast employee in the Executive Complaint area who identified herself as Juanita Evans and gave her telephone number as 888-309-2583 ext 44283.  It was definitely from Comcast because their name came up on our telephone ID.

Ms. Evans said she was calling because of the complaint we filed with the FCC, she would like to see if she could settle this problem.  I reiterated the complaint – which is simple – but Ms. Evans was not in a listening mode.  It became clear shortly after I started to tell her the problem – which she should have already known – that she was calling to justify Maria Manning – the Comcast employee we are still reeling from.  That was her only objective.  She went into great detail as to how long she had worked with Ms. Manning – how she had seen her diligence, etc. in resolving customer problems and what a fantastic person Maria Manning was and a very competent employee.  It was an amazing conversation! What ever happened to the customer in this saga?

She called at 4:03pm on Tuesday November 8, 2011.

The call ended with Ms. Evans saying she would investigate and get back to me.

She called back at 5:30pm and in a lowered, very serious, slow voice  she told me Comcast had nothing to do with the problem.  I should call the telephone company with whom we did business and have them fix the problem I should not bother Comcast.  She said she had done a thorough investigation of the problem and discovered we were not Comcast customers.

I am still in a state of shock from that bit of information.  When I told her that company was Comcast, unless they were transferring customer accounts without the customer’s knowledge or consent.   There was a long silence on her end of the telephone.  I asked Ms. Evans  – why  would I bother calling Comcast if our telephone numbers were with another company – and having done a “serious investigation” – as she claimed – she would have had to start with records to show our telephones were with Comcast.   Her lowered voice and serious manner changed – her voice went up an octave, became very hurried,  said she would have to call me back and quickly hung-up.

Today is Thursday, November 17 and I have yet to hear back from Ms. Juanita Evans.

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Learn More About How We Use Your Donation!

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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

 

Bettina’s Banana Bread

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

copyright Bettina Network, inc. 2011

 From a bed and breakfast guest:

“I had banana bread at the bed & breakfast home where I stayed and it was unbelievably good.  I must have the recipe.  I asked at the home and they told me to write to Bettina’s Blog.  Well, I’m writing – now let’s have the recipe.   Oh – my name is XXXXXXX  and the dates of my stay were XXXXXXXX (just so you get the right banana bread recipe, but please don’t print my name.) Thanks,”

The host family answers:

From the guests name and the date they stayed here is the banana bread recipe – it is really a basic recipe, the difference being the way the bananas are put into the batter.  Instead of mashing the bananas and mixing them in, the last thing to do is slice the bananas into the batter while the mixer is running on slow.  When the banana bread is baked, there is a kind of squishy, strong banana taste which comes from the baked-in slices.  I don’t do anything to keep the slices as a stand out in the bread, just mix them in as the final step.

I use the 1-2-3-4 step cake recipe for this banana bread – the problematic part is how much baking powder to add.  If you add too much, the ‘bread’ will go over the top of the glass bread baking dish and go all over the bottom of your oven which is impossible to clean and which leaves you a very little banana bread in the pan.  Too little baking powder and the banana bread does not rise properly.  The amount needed will probably vary depending upon your location in the world.

I use:

1 cup organic butter (put this in the mixer and let it go for a few minutes to whip the butter)

2 cups organic turbinado sugar (add this slowly after whipping the butter)

4 organic eggs ( it makes a real difference in taste and texture if you are going to use non-organic eggs.  I wouldn’t bother – they ruin the bread).  Add these one at a time while whipping the mixture, but don’t whip too much because this is the point at which you can overbeat the banana bread.

3 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour mixed* with 1/2 teaspoon himalayan salt and baking powder (measured for your geographical area)  – add this a little at a time on a very slow speed on your mixture because you really have to be careful about overmixing when you get here.  I add all kind of things at this point and don’t remember exactly what was added on the day you request.  I add raisins, shredded coconut, pecans, or sometimes walnuts depending up what I have on the shelf, and – as needed – either coconut milk or a great heavy cream I’ve found which is organic, non-homogenized, from grass-fed cows.  The brand name is “Sky Top Farms”.

*To mix the flour, salt and baking powder I use a spoon and stir the mixture around lifting it up by the spoonful and sprinkling it back into itself.

The last thing I add before baking are the bananas.  I take two or three bananas, slice them into the batter with the mixer on low and once I’ve finished slicing I pour the batter into glass baking dishes which have been buttered and bake at about 350 degrees for 45 or so minutes.

Sorry I can’t be more specific, but I am one of those toss it in, trial and error cooks, I don’t do the really particular measurements, etc.  You will have to experiment to get the perfect banana bread for your oven, mixer and location.

Enjoy!  To the guest who wrote:  call me if you have questions.

Ed Note:  We had a request months ago from someone who asked for a heavy cream which was organic but not “ultra-pasteurized”.  At the time, we didn’t know of any and hadn’t come across such a possibility until this blog from a Bettina host family.  Now we know about “Sky Top Farms” organic heavy cream which is also from grass-fed cows and non-homogenized.  A partial dream realized.  Now all we have to do is find one which is straight from the cow without having the nutrition cooked out of it.  At least this one still has some nutrition left, although you can’t leave it on the shelf in the refrigerator for months – you have to use it fairly quickly.  Which is what most foods need.   They were not grown nor taken from the animal to be shelved for a couple years or even for many months.  They are to be used ASAP and then repurchased when you need more.  A very old, very great concept in good nutrition and even better health.

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______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.

Small Business Problems – Comcast

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

This is not a copyrighted blog because we would like you to be able to use the information contained herein in any way that is helpful to your business.

Once upon a time there was a company, which was a broadband cable company and it was really great!  We were one of their first customers in the area and we used a sub-contractor, who they recommended to run cable wires through the walls and everything went just elegantly.

For a brief period of time we experienced Camelot.  A wonderful, mystical experience with a fairly large company – something new to us – so we sang their praises wherever we went and to whoever asked – actually also to many who did not ask.

Over the past several years that has all stopped and Camelot has turned to Hell –  Dante’s deepest, hottest hell!

We changed our business telephones to Comcast in 2009 and thought, this must be the new, great, telephone company as well as cable. – since our experience with one of our host families residential telephones changed to Comcast had gone well.  That was a HUGE MISTAKE!

When we made the change, Comcast was supposed to send to Verizon our name and telephone number to be listed in the 411 directory.  That has never happened.  We made several calls, off and on, over those years trying to get that to happen and it did not.  Everyone was wonderful, but nothing worked to get those ‘wonderful’ people to take care of business.

I have been in business long enough to know when a business starts to act the way Comcast was and is acting they are in trouble.  It may not be showing as yet, but trouble is brewing within the corporation and probably at high levels.

What did we experience?  You could call 411, but you could not get our telephone number.  Recently, after all of my efforts,  you could get our number, but it was our dedicated fax number which is never answered.  So people tried to call us and the only thing that happened was the telephone rang and rang and rang with the fax sound buzzing in their ear.  Not good for our business.

I finally put everything else aside to solve this problem because attacking it by calling and believing what was told to me was not working.

My time is quite valuable and I spent hours – days – and now weeks trying to solve this simple problem.

I wound up in a conference call with Verizon and Comcast talking about this 411 problem.  I was told clearly, that it goes like this – Comcast sends a message to Verizon saying we would like company ABC to be listed with this telephone number and no address.  Verizon says ‘thank you’ and that is what happens.

That did not happen.  Changes happened.  You called and you would get our toll free 800 number if you asked for our regular telephone number.  Now instead of our fax number being the first number given out, it was the second number given out – after the toll free number.  It should be illegal for 411 to give our company’s toll free number as its regular telephone number.  That causes all kinds of multi-level problems for the company to which this is happening – and some very serious ones.

We called many times after that and received one frustration after another.  I could not believe a company would be so disorganized and so wrapped up in itself and so bigoted against another company that a very simple problem had now become something ready to be packaged for the law courts.

But first, I called the Executive Offices and asked for the president.  I was given an ‘Executive Complaint Assistant’ who said she would take care of the problem.  She called me back in a couple hours to say a Ms. Maria Manning had been assigned my complaint because Ms. Manning, according to this Executive Complaint Assistant,  had already spoken to me that afternoon.

Shock – Awe – Dismay – Disbelief.  I had never heard of Maria Manning and had never spoken to her and here was this person telling me Ms. Manning had spoken to me and was already working on the problem.

I hung up and wondered what would happen next.  Really strange!

I received a telephone call from Ms. Manning shortly thereafter.  When asked why she had lied about talking to me, she said she was sorry.  She had left a message for me on my message machine and that was the conversation she held with me. More Shock – Awe – Dismay – Disbelief.  We didn’t have a message machine.  Every once in a while we heard people tell us they left messages, but we didn’t know where or how – especially since our Comcast answering system was not working.

So OK!  Whether she talked to me or not – although that did leave a really ugly taste in my mouth about Ms. Manning’s ethics – but, maybe she would be the one to come through to solve this really simple problem – which was costing us lots of business.  We had not been able to get business from anyone who looked for us through the 411 system since we moved our business telephones to Comcast.  And more……

Ms. Manning did call back – to say there was nothing she could do about the problem.  It was Verizon’s problem and Verizon’s fault.  They had a policy whereby they put the oldest telephone number you have first in their 411 system and the fax number was the oldest telephone number we had so that would be the way it was and the way it would stay.

This was never-never land.  Comcast was sinking further into the hottest part of Dante’s hell and that was amazing to me because I didn’t think they could sink any lower.

The oldest telephone number we had was our business telephone number – for some 30 years – and that was the number Comcast was refusing to allow the 411 information system to give out.  They were putting everything they could in the way of that happening.  The fax number was fairly new, by comparison.  When I questioned her and said that didn’t make sense and told her – again – about my conference call with Verizon and Comcast and – again – gave her the names of the people with whom I spoke on that conference call – she named someone else who she claimed I had spoken with (another person unknown to me and unspoken to)  and claimed he said the same thing.  He was her authority figure.  So what was this?  The blind and the bigoted leading the blind and the bigoted?

When we talked about this, the fax number had already been removed as the number on 411 and the 800 number was being given out in its place – so Ms. Manning didn’t  even have the current accurate account information.

And where are we today?  We are still not listed in 411!  When you call 411 you have to go to an operator to get our telephone number because the automated system does not have it – yet. And that is after trying since 2009 – calling everyone I could think of in the company to make a seirously needed change – a simple change.  Given all of the above and more, we decided to file  a complaint with the FCC and will probably do more because there is nothing forthcoming from Comcast.  They apparently think we will live with the way they have decided we should be treated and that we will accept our business being negatively affected by Comcast.

There is something very wrong here.  This is all counterproductive – not only to me, but to Comcast.  A very simple problem has been turned into a nuclear war.  Why?

When you put the next part of the Comcast problem into the picture it begins to look a lot more sinister and deliberate.

During all of this – before I realized how horrible Comcast has become – I had my fax number changed from Verizon to Comcast.  I haven’t been able to use my fax machine since.

The Comcast technician came out  to install the new Comcast line and – and he said, he would have the Verizon line disconnected because the Comcast line would come in over the Verizon line and it would not be usable anyway and that is what they do at Comcast.  He said he was saving me a telephone call – all in the line of customer service.   So – thank you, Mr. Technician.  We appreciate your work.

Well, not quite yet.  Since then, we discovered although the technician came out to do this installation – nothing happened.  When I called and called and called – the same kind of crazy response happened.  Finally, months later, a customer service person said what he saw was stunning.  The order had never been put through.  He had never seen anything like it.  Everything was done, but nothing was working and it had been set up like that.  This, in spite of many telephone calls from me to get things working properly.

Now – why have we been chosen for all of this hullabaloo? We left Verizon because a good deal of the time our business telephones did not work.  The ultimate was to discover our telephones were ringing, but not where we could hear them.  They were “ringing to ground” according to the Verizon technician.  And – according to him – that was nothing we should worry about.  Awestruck, I wanted to know why we should not worry about customers calling us, the telephone ringing forever, no one answering it, destroying our business??  After much frustration and many telephone calls another technician came out – who didn’t understand why the first technician saw a wire outside unattached, commented on its un-attachment being the reason our telephones were not ringing and didn’t fix it.  This was the reason our phones were “ringing to ground.”  This new technician fixed the wire quickly, everything worked just fine again and off we went to the next problem – and there have been many.

So what is wrong with this picture?

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Learn More About How We Use Your Donation!

Donate to Bettina’s

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Personal Info

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This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.
Billing Details

Donation Total: $5.00 One Time

{amount} donation plus {fee_amount} to help cover fees.

______________________________________________________________

Want to join us? Have a home that you want to open to become one of Bettina Network’s Hedge Schools? Call us and lets talk – or email us.

Ed. Note: Members of the Bettina Network Lifestyle Community can contribute to the Bettina Network Blog whenever they have anything they want to say and be heard by this fantastic group of people. Send your blog to bettinanetwork@comcast.net or mail it to us at P. O. Box 380585 Cambridge, MA. 02238 or call us on the telephone at 617-497-9166 to tell us what you want to say and we will write it for you.

Volunteer with Bettina Network Foundation, inc. to work estate sales; to help move items from one home to another; to contribute your ideas on how we can better use our resources in this effort to relieve and eliminate homelessness and poverty. We also need photographers; designers; and more. However much or little time you have, we are grateful.

Send your event information to be included in Bettina Network’s Menu of Events to: bettina-network@comcast.net

This is a curated blog so you cannot write your responses at the end of each entry. TO RESPOND TO THIS BLOG email bettina-network@comcast.net or info@bettina-network.com

TO LEARN MORE about Bettina Network, inc. try www.bettina-network.com

IF YOU ENJOY OUR BLOG, USE OUR SERVICES TO BOOK ACCOMODATIONS WHEN YOU TRAVEL!

1-800-347-9166 inside the U. S. or 617 497 9166 outside or inside the U. S.


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