Friday, September 30, 2011

Part 2 - New Orleans:  Homeless

My left eye was jumping all Thursday evening. I trust in my left eye because it usually means something bad is going to happen or I will get mad as hell. On Thursday, I went to the hotel website to check on availability of rooms and actually tried to book a room as a precautionary plan or back-up plan. Originally, our Activities Coordinator had booked 2 rooms, now this was when we had 10 folks committed to going to NOLA. We stated we expect those who committed to be going because getting a refund of the deposit was non-existent and we didn’t want the AC to be charged if folks weren’t going. This was stressed heavily for 2 months straight. Well, as I mentioned before the week of the trip, Tuesday to be exact, folks started emailing their issues and inability to go on the trip and dropping like flies. My people, this is how we do and why I stopped doing these type trips years ago because only a small fraction of us would attend and it defeated the bonding purpose because the same 5 or so folks were the only ones bonding. Anyway, the AC cancelled one of the rooms on September 21th, so she thought. When we finally hit the road on Friday, we decided to call the hotel to insure we still had a room and to see if we could get an early check in. Everything was a go and they told us they would let us check in early if there is a room available. When traveling to LA from AL, there are areas where cell phone reception is dicey at best. So when I looked at my phone about 2 hours later, I saw a call from the AC, so I checked my messages and knew exactly why my left eye had been jumping since Thursday.

Unbeknownst the AC, she didn’t cancel one room, she cancelled the entire reservation. She was assured only one room was cancelled when she did it, but we were homeless ya’ll for about an hour. I called the AC back and had another member on the phone with the hotel to get clarification. A mess. They could only promise us one night because they were booked through the weekend. You know the Saint’s played on Sunday. I was so angry, but I tried my best not to act unruly and let my other member deal with the hotel. I told the AC we would have to look for another hotel because I’ll be damn if I was going to unpack and repack my stuff and move. I can’t handle uncertainty, I am a true Virgo and this glitch was sending me over the edge. Homeless.

Luckily one of the members is a gadget guru and she had her IPad. BTW, it’s okay, but it ain’t all that. One member found the hotel and the other member booked and we were only homeless for an hour and a half. By this time we had been on the road long enough to get gas and finally stop for lunch. And when we hit the road again we were 45 minutes away from bonding, fun and really New Orleans!

The trade off for the changed hotel was a $10 price increase, $3 parking increase and no free breakfast or free wifi. However, the service was good and the hotel was clean. Just needed a bigger room. Oh well, next up…

Our meeting with our adopted family…

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Part 1 - New Orleans 2011

Canal Street

Okay nobody guessed, but I did mentioned it a while back that my book club was having a destination book club meeting in New Orleans in September. And let me tell you this was a meeting that threatened not to happen.

Here is the scenario. We start discussing this back in January or February and decided to make it happen in April at our annual business meeting. Each month until our meeting in August we discussed what we were going to do, stay and completing our community service commitment. I had one member in charge of locating a school for us to donate books to in New Orleans and a family that was still struggling years after Hurricane Katrina. After a couple of months we found a school and a family. However, my book club members were being wishy-washy. We had decided to get books, but a month before we leave folks wanted specific books or magazines they needed. Well, that part of the community service got scrubbed because the contact just didn’t have the time to compile the information on such short notice. One of the members was in contact with the young woman we had adopted to see what her children needed for school and the member was astounded to discover her kids were in a charter school where they had to wear a uniform which could only be purchased from one supplier and the uniform cost $50 each and she had 2 daughters. Each child had one uniform, so she was hand washing the uniforms every night. Upon hearing this, I decided then and there the books to the school were out, because I already discovered on my own there are a lot of drives going on in New Orleans to help replenish the libraries and frankly this mother doesn’t need to be washing clothes every night because the school system requires uniforms that are really too costly for most folks. So imagine my thoughts when the week of our scheduled departure we had lost more members who were to attend, which meant our hotel costs would escalate. I was so disturbed by this I shut down for about 8 hours and when I returned I sent out an email that basically stated: We made a commitment to this family and we will follow through on it, all members are to donate at least $20 towards us getting her uniforms and the book club will make up the balance and as much as I really want to go to New Orleans we will not go if do not have enough folks for bonding and if we can’t even garner a measly $20 to help someone else. I was hot. Not because I didn’t understand folks have hardships and shyte does happen, but the week of the departure you acting shady and not thinking about the others this decision would affect was not cool at all. Needless to say, folks responded immediately and once we had the drivers in place, 6 folks firmly committed and money pledged New Orleans was still on.

A few members wanted the trip to be cancelled and we meet at a local restaurant, but honestly I wasn’t having it. I wasn’t. I thought about this and I had saved my money from April until now and I had family vacation in between this scheduled event. We had actually changed the date to accommodate folks, who incidentally didn’t even go. I just could not see myself sitting at a restaurant with folks who didn’t plan or save better for a scheduled and planned trip. I would be resentful and plus it just wasn’t fair for those of us who took leave and really saved our money.

So with a revised budget, we were headed to New Orleans on Friday, September 23. Why was my left eye jumping?

Part 2 tells why my eye was jumping…

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Where in the world has Cashana been?

Here is a clue...

Any guesses? 


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mama Nem's - Review

In Montgomery, as a restaurant, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Montgomery has a plethora of restaurants depending on what your taste buds are craving; chances are there is a restaurant here to help you out. We have an overabundance of chain restaurants, but one thing for certain; even the chains have a hard time making it here. For example, I remember when Whataburger came here. Folks were excited about the promise of great burgers and the fixings. Um, Whataburger may have lasted 6 months. Why? The food was mediocre and the service was the worst! I went, once. I was in the drive thru line for 30 minutes and when I got to the window to pay I saw workers dancing and playing. I saw a young man who had put in an application on my second job and I am so glad I dodged that bullet. Folks in Montgomery are not going to wait for mediocre food and service. We just won’t. Lone Star Steakhouse is gone. O’Charley’s is gone. Macaroni Grill is gone. I could go on and on, but that isn’t the premise of this post.

For my birthday, I and two of my friends went to dinner the Friday before my birthday. I decided to try Mamma Nem’s again; even though the Urbanspoon reviews rated it 45% of the people liked it. The most recent reviews were quite good with only one being lackluster basically stating the food was warmed up and the food wasn’t fresh. I wasn’t scared by the reviews because I know how Montgomery is when it comes to our food and restaurants. So we got there a little after 6 pm and funny thing is the waitress who served my sister and I back in November was still there and just as friendly. She asked me about my first experience and my thoughts about things then and I was quite honest. The food wasn’t great and it wasn’t worth the 2 hour wait to get it. I understood they were working out the kinks, but I was reluctant to return until I was sure the kinks had been worked out. From some the reviews I read, I saw that they had gotten rid of employees and revamped their menu and hours.

Upon entrance, you walk into the building that has this urban feel with the African-American art and eclectic design. The dining room is a bit of a hodge-podge, but presentable. We were immediately greeted and seated. Our server told us about the buffet, which basically serves the same thing that is on the menu. We started with drinks. I ordered a glass of Merlot and one of my friends ordered a Margarita. My glass of Merlot came out cold. Like the wine had been refrigerated. Where do they do that at? I had to sit there waiting on it to get to room temperature. Actually, that was my only bad moment.

My friends ordered the fried tilapia and catfish and I ordered the fried chicken. Hell, I was craving it. And about 15 minutes later or orders came out piping hot and delicious looking. I ordered lima beans and smashed yams as my sides and they didn’t disappoint. The chicken, which is a supposed to be ½ a chicken, was hot, flavorful and juicy I ended up with a leg, wing, and two breasts and I was quite happy because I don’t like thighs. My lima beans were quite tasty and the yams although had a bit more nutmeg than I care for, they were quite good. Nothing was over-seasoned. My friends were enamored with their fish entrees which looked and according to them tasted as good as it looked. We enjoyed our meals immensely. I enjoyed it so much my family and I ended up there Sunday as well.
Fried Tilapia w/fried okra and smashed yams
Fried Catfish w/macaroni and cheese and fried okra
Fried Chicken with smashed yams and lima beans.  I don't like cornbread so I gave to one of my friends.

My family ordered the buffet and I ordered the fried catfish. My folks enjoyed the buffet and found something to their liking and the cleaned plates were an indication of the deliciousness of the food. My fish was yummy. Not fried too hard, flavorful and not greasy. I kept to the same sides and they were just as good as on Friday. Our server was a young man who was as friendly as our previous server and that always makes a dining experience wonderful.

Mama Nem’s is still be reincarnated. One of the chefs took my folks and me on a tour of their lounge rooms and meeting rooms as well as the porch area they plan to use for those who just want to come in and enjoy the jazz music and drinks. They are planning to change their hours once they get the jazz musicians in Friday and Saturday nights, but they plan to keep the terrific food in place. They do serve breakfast on Saturday, which one day I will try to get to just for the tasty bacon. So although their start hasn’t been the best, they are working to make it better and hopefully, some of Montgomery will return to get another impression to erase the previous one they experienced.


Friday, September 09, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Taken Labor Day after a Soft Spike ponytail curl. 

It is almost that time again, you know the time when the bell starts to toll and you realize the gray in your head really means you are getting old. Come Saturday, I will celebrate 42 years on this earth. Sometimes it is hard to believe I have lived this long and outlived my own mother’s life. I should never take for granted living. However, I cannot tell you the countless times I have, but I am going to blame it on my youth because now that I am older and have lived some, I truly know I am blessed.

This time last year I was filled with an uncontrolled fear of my aunt not living and it was two days after my birthday when I knew she was alive but she wasn’t living. It broke my heart that night while talking to my sister and I cried, which I don’t normally do with my sister, but the pain had reached a fevered pitch and I needed some type of release. With acceptance comes calmness, and from that day until she passed it was hugs, kisses and lots of I love yous. So this year’s birthday is bittersweet. She is gone, but she left with me this idea of living every day.

I am learning to enjoy life and make the experiences count. I really do take the time to smell the roses, even though they are the ones I am growing. I make time to just feel, because when you are running around doing things for others you become numb to your own needs. I am living and enjoying my life. It may not be perfect, but it is mine to enjoy.

I have no big plans just dinner and drinks with friends. I plan to just relax and do whatever I want to do with no pressure and no agenda. I may answer my phone and I may not. I may drink all the wine I have in my house (5 bottles), and I may not drink any alcohol all weekend. I am going to read, take long baths, work-out and I may spend some time with the guy, but this weekend is all about me living and enjoy this life that has been carved out for me. Cheers and Happy Birthday to me!

I think I make 42 look great!  So Cheers and Happy Birthday to Me!

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Creative Cooking...Easy Buttermilk and Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits
Easy Buttermilk and Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

As the old folks say, I must be nesting because I had the idea I would conquer a fear, the making biscuits. And I purposely looked for recipes that didn't use shortening.  This is an easy recipe and the more I make them the better they come out so here it goes.

Easy Buttermilk biscuits (adapted from Homesick Texan blogspot)

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 tablespoon of baking powder

¼ teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of sugar (or to taste)

½ teaspoon of salt

1 stick of butter (cold)

¾ cup of buttermilk

Preheat oven to 450. Mix all your dry ingredients together. Cut butter into pieces and work into flour mixture with your hands or pastry blender (you know I don’t have this, but it is only my wish list) until you have crumbles. Add the liquid mixing it together until it is sticky.

Dry ingredients.

Place on a flour surface and knead until smooth and no longer wet. I had to keep sprinkling flour when it would get sticky again. Make dough into a ball and hit it with a rolling pin, hey this is what the blogger said to do and I did it and do this for a couple of minutes.

Mixing the buttermilk with dry ingredients this includes the cinnamon, sugar and raisins.

Roll out dough until it is ¼ of an inch then fold in half. Using a glass like me or a biscuit cutter cut out your biscuits.
Into a ball

Place on a greased baking sheet close together because according to the Homesick Texan so the dough will rise up not out and bake for 15 minutes or until brown.

Cinnamon Raisin Biscuits

Same ingredients as above adding the following:

½ cup of sugar

Cinnamon to taste (hey I didn’t measure)

1 cup of raisins

Mix these ingredients in after you add the buttermilk.

For the glaze:

Confectioner's sugar

Start w/the powdered sugar and add milk slowly and mix and add sugar or milk until you get the consistency you want.  Nope, didn't measure that either. 


Verdict: Delicious. Easy to make, but they are a food that you have to keep doing in order to perfect them. The first batch I made were really small, they rose but they weren’t big so when I made this batch I used a bigger glass, which truly helped. My butter stays in my freeze until I need it and my butter for these biscuits was frozen, but as your hand manipulates the butter through the flour it does warm up. These biscuits weren’t hard at all. Even the small ones were light and fluffy and flavorful. And this recipe doesn’t make a lot of biscuits and what I did was freeze what I didn’t eat and next time I will freeze them before I bake them. They were truly yummy! Made my sister jealous…LOL!

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Friday, September 02, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Ramblings...
A few curls taken 7/11.

Well, I haven’t been blogging over here since last week. Not much going on so I guess I’ll ramble my way through a post. I mean really, my DL picture needs to not be the first thing you see, right?

Last week was the week a few of my important things were expiring. Driver’s License was one, and you know how that went and my pistol permit. Yep, I have had a gun and a permit to carry it since I was 21 years old. It is just small .22, but it is helpful since I know how to use it. I am ready to upgrade, but just biding my time on that one. My pistol permit picture looks way better than my DL picture. Only thing is, rarely am I asked to show my Pistol permit.

This month not only is it my birthday month, I also have to renew my tag. Unless you live under a rock, which really isn’t a bad thing with what’s going on in this world, you know AL passed a very strict Immigration law that was to go in effect on Sept. 1st. This meant instead of me going online clicking a few links I was going to be forced to go into the Office, pull a number and wait patiently until it is called to renew my tag and registration. See, I have the patience of a gnat. I get frustrated when I see folks taking too long to process their registrations and any other thing that shouldn’t take long, but for some reason becomes some kinda of rocket science. Since a judge has pre-empted the law to review, maybe I can forego going through the bowels of hell to get my tag renewed.

This is Labor Day weekend. I will be laboring all weekend on my second job. Lately, it has been a bit complicated over there at the 2nd job. I am so use to it being a haven away from stress and for a small portion of time this last week, it was a cause of stress for me. This weekend I will be training a new asst. manager so maybe things will return to happy, happy soon.

Congratulations to Beyonce and Jay-Z! Man, they looked so happy on television.

No I didn’t watch the MTV Video Awards. It is kinda hard to take them seriously when they really don’t play videos much now.

Since it is Labor Day weekend, it is time to replant some things, dry some herbs and finally stop watering. Yeah, because my allergies have taken to making bumps on my exposed skin and that mess has to stop.

I so dislike having to ride people to do things. Why or Lord can’t they just follow thru in a timely manner? Seriously, why?

My birthday is next weekend. I have mixed feelings about it because during the same time period last year I realized my aunt was dying and I needed to learn how to accept the situation. Man that was a hard time for me. However, this birthday weekend I plan to have fun with friends and family. 42 is the new 24, didn’t you know?

I am updating my book club’s website. This is the most time consuming thing to do because I am changing up the format, getting rid of pages so the updates will be simple from this point forward and my need for perfectionism is really making this project take a really long time.

Did you take a collective gasp when you read Will and Jada were separating? I did. Then I was like I will just wait and see.

Speaking of Jada, HawthoRNe was officially cancelled today. Can I tell you a secret? This season was the most dramatic it has ever been, but it also veered to far away from what made it a hit, Jada playing an aggressive nurse, this year we saw the ins and outs of what has made her who she and scandalous things happening all around her. Now we get no closure. Damn it! I hate when that happens. I am waiting on Memphis Beat to be cancelled as well.

Can someone bring back the original Law & Order? I am going to keep asking until someone hears me.

Footballs back. Enough said. You can miss me with that.

TI went to a halfway house on yesterday, only for them to take him right back to Federal prison, all because of his mode of transportation. Hell, it didn’t cost the feds anything so they need to be thankful.

My cousin is BBQ, which is good because she actually uses charcoal. Seriously, I can barely tolerate gas grills because of the taste and ever since I went to the Rendezvous in Memphis, TN I only want meat grilled over charcoal.

I am finally getting my Sisterlock products, and the shipping was only $5 which meant I could get my shampoo, reconstructor and moisturizer. Yeah!

My cousin called a few weeks ago for a co-worker who wants Sisterlocks. This is the cousin up until a year ago thought I wore weave. Yeah, think about that for a moment. This after I have told her a million times it was my own hair. I don’t think her co-worker understood she knows nothing about hair. Anyway she calls me and I reiterate the same thing I have told her a million times, my consultant is the only one here in Montgomery who is certified. (Of course, if you go on the website, her name isn’t listed.) She is certified and is trained to teach retightening. Well, the lady must have gotten in touch with my consultant because she thanked me for the referral.

Lil Carson is so juicy looking now. It will not be long before he comes home. He has come a long way since he was born back on Easter. Prayers are a beautiful thing.

My sister emailed me right after the experience the earthquake last week. Wow! All the way in Virginia Beach. Then they had to deal with Hurricane Irene. I think Jesus is needed in Virginia.

I have to post another creative cooking post about biscuits and cinnamon raisin biscuits.
A teaser!

One of my best friends is perturbed with me because I haven’t returned her call. From a month ago or something. I did call her back but she was unavailable and after that I was unavailable. Man, I cannot be at work talking to her for 3 hours and when I get off work I just don’t want to talk on the phone. Either I am going to my second job or needing the quiet of my home. Sometimes I think when one isn’t working, they forget what it feels like to work a 9 to 5 and having a few moments of spare time that they don’t want to spend it chatting on the phone unless it is important. Sorry, I can’t be strapped to my phone after work or during the few times I actually can sit down and breathe. Maybe I’ll call her Labor day? Or not.

Everyone have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

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Disclosure: Just so we are all clear any opinions or thoughts made on this blog or site are my own. Comments and statements from third parties may or may not be the opinion of Cashana Musings. I do not get paid to write book reviews or reviews of products or services. All reviews are based solely off my opinion as Cashana of Cashana's Musings. While I may receive review copies of books and even products or services they in no way influence my writing. All items that were received by me for review are disclosed as such. All advertising is in the form of advertisements generated by a third party ad network. Currently, we do not do advertisements.