Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The One About the First of Two Family Trips…

Gorgeous Cake...

Traveling with family can be a rewarding experience. It can bring you closer and garner feelings of togetherness and a knowing that together as a family you can conquer the world! We decided last year we would be traveling to be a part of a couple of graduations. Everyone wants to support one another and let the graduates know how truly proud we are of their accomplishments. Well the first of the graduates had their commencement ceremony on last Thursday, May 23, 2013. So we packed into two vehicles and headed for Atlanta.

Since my break in, I am a bit neurotic and diligent about the security of my home so you know I wanted to leave during a time no one would notice and had a back-up plan for someone to watch my home for the one day I would be gone. So we left my house to pick up my cousin and her two grandsons and then we were to hit the interstate. For a trip that shouldn’t take but a couple of hours. Sighing…we stopped right before we go on the interstate so my other cousin could catch up and of course that meant folks were going in the gas station to grab up snacks and such. It is a two hour drive. Really? So technically, originally we were to hit the road at 11:30 am, however, we left after noon.

The drive was uneventful. We almost got lost getting to the hotel. Let me tell you this, using MapQuest is like taking your life into someone else’s hands. The MapQuest directions were slightly wrong, but my Navigation on my phone, was right. Once we got to the hotel, it was after 3 pm ATL time, so we knew we had to eat, shower, dress and be ready by 6 pm. Incidentally, my niece was already at her favorite cousin’s house because she flew in that morning.
All smiles on the way to the Commencement ceremony...

We met the graduate’s mother at a gas station on the way and it took us about 15 to 25 minutes to get to the ceremony location. Atlanta traffic is crazy. The graduation took place at Kennesaw State University. We had to pay for parking. But the school so graciously gave us a shuttled golf cart ride to the entrance of the commencement ceremony and the line to get in was ridiculous. Seriously, folks had been in line for at least an hour. Did I mention I had on 4 inch heels? Lucky for us, some of my family had gotten there early so we just slid in line. To wait. In heels.
JT the Graduate with his sister and brother
The thing about this graduation and what seems to be the norm now, is you must have a ticket to get into the graduation. The students are allotted only so many tickets and they have to hustle to garner more. My little cousin worked that hustle because he got 20 tickets. He is gangster like that. They tried the ticket thing here for our local graduates and let’s just say the shyte didn’t fly.
JT with his sister, the hand on the right is my nieces'

And when were allowed in they really did check tickets and take your tickets. Really? We were able to get a couple of rows where we were fairly close. My poor niece wanted to sit next to me but it didn’t happen. The ceremony started with the processional at 8 pm. This class was over 500. And the processional took 30 minutes. In fact, they didn’t hand out a diploma until an hour and half later. 9:30 pm they started handing out diplomas. Did I mention I have the attention span of a gnat? Did I mention that I forgot how boring graduations are? Did I mention my cousin’s last name begins with A? They sang and talked and gave speeches, awards, and scholarships for over an hour. I ate my four jolly ranchers up during that time period. And we had to stand through the entire processional and it was long. Long I tell you! My feet were over it. And yes, I sat down.
JT, with his cousins including my niece, Caitlyn
My cousin graduated with honors and over 200 of the students graduated with honors. What was funny was the Valedictorian had a 4.57 grade point average and my cousins were pondering how he got that average if the grading system is 4.0. Yeah, I had to explain the AP courses. We then had to stand for the Alma mater and recessional. We probably should have headed on out then. Getting out of the place was maddening. Or I was hungry. Seriously, I had road rage something awful. I just wanted to be out of there. And I did the cardinal rule no-no, I took off my shoes. There was too much stopping and going and holding up the exodus and it was either my shoes or … nevermind.
Proud moment!
We were able to take some good pictures after we found the graduate, JT. Then it was time to head to my cousin’s house for a small meal. It was after 11 pm before we got to their house. We took some kind of short-cut but it felt like we drove back to Montgomery with the time it took for us to get there. I was way over it. Our meal was simple and delicious or I was hungry.
On the way to the Cousins' before the cook out

The next day after very little sleep, because I was working on my book club website only for it to not upload, we headed back to the cousin’s house. They were giving the graduate a barbecue at 5 pm. So we were there a few hours before time to help. Well some helped and some slept. Any guesses who slept? And my poor niece was so tired she slept for about 3 hours solid on the couch, babygirl was tired.
This was my perch for most of the time at the Cousins'

The turnout for the barbecue was great. And we had a great time. However, we had to hit the road back to Montgomery. We started out at 5:38 pm, Central Standard Time. We crossed the Montgomery city limits sign at 9:48 pm. Maybe I was hungry, but I was truly irritated to actually get home after 10 pm. From a normal 2 hour trip. All I am going to say is we made 3 stops. Really?

We will be headed to Virginia in a few weeks and this trip has traumatized me. I needed all those traveling to get their bladders, stomach and minds together. I am not going to be stuck in a vehicle for 20 hours because they want to stop every few minutes. I am truly convinced me doing road trips will probably end in a few weeks. Really. I love my family but this is going to test my patience. And I already gave my niece notes on how her graduation better go, I am not for the standing, sitting, waiting and giving out diplomas hours after the start. I am not about that life.

A gratutious hair picture.  Looks lovely, huh?

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Creative Cooking...Homemade Oreo Cookies

I am going to tell you right now this recipe isn’t low on calories, fat or anything else for that matter. I made these cookies to see if I could actually make homemade Oreo cookies. That is all. I like Oreos, but they are not something I buy on a regular, just an every blue moon taste. The kids at my second job have been begging me to bring them something to eat. For some reason they think I will bring in one of my shrimp dishes, um, no! So this recipe was for them and a challenge for me.

After researching recipes, I found the one on My Kitchen Addiction to be the one I could closely follow. A couple of things I need to say are I really need to invest in a biscuit and cookie cutter. It would so make things easier for me. I tried to do the heart shaped ones but that was too labor intensive because you had to work fast with the cookie dough. So a cordial glass was used. Yeah, didn’t have much to choose from to make these work, but I tried.

Homemade Oreos as adapted from My Kitchen Addiction


For the cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 tablespoons half and half

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

3 – 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, whisked to remove any lumps

First step is to get your dough made. Combine your butter and sugar in your mixer and mix until light and fluffy. Add your egg and vanilla until they are incorporated.

I mixed my flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt together earlier in the day because I made these at night. Then on low, add the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients.
Wrapped and ready for the refrigerator
Divide your dough in half and make into two disc and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.

After dough is chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roll your dough out on a floured surface into a 1/8 or ¼ inch thickness and using your cookie cutters have at it. Bake them for about 12 minutes depending on your oven, I baked mine 15 minutes and they were perfect.

While the cookies are cooling, make your filling. With my whisk attachment I combined the soften butter, half and half, salt and vanilla and slowly whisk in powdered sugar until smooth. I didn’t have any lumps to deal with. I tried the piping method, but I needed new piping bags and the Ziploc bags didn’t work because the frosting is a bit stiffer than most fillings. So I spread on with a knife. Worked just fine. Viola! Homemade Oreo cookies.
Not too bad...

Yummy filling...

Verdict: This was a simple recipe and to think when you look at the ingredients on the packages making them yourself probably is healthier. And for the record they tasted just like Oreo cookies. The kids agreed. Keep them refrigerated or the filling will melt at room temperature. These were easy to make. The only problem I had was the dough was not forgiving. You had to roll and cut quickly otherwise the cookies would get too sticky to transfer to the baking pan. Use enough flour. Other than that this is a recipe I will make again. More times I make them the better the presentation.  I had most of the items in my pantry or freezer and only purchased the Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa. Let me know if you try it.

Homemade Oreos...

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Boring Randoms...

Caitlyn and I...I am feeling real nostalgic.  She graduates next month!

Last Weekend…Hell Weekend

Last Friday after doing a pretty grueling workout challenge, I noticed that my knee was sore. Uh, oh! I may have done too much. However, I felt damn good about the workout.

Then I went to the second job and I was short a cashier, which meant I had to work. Did I mention my knee was sore? And the cashier who did show up had to have her knee cap popped into place that Tuesday so we were limping around like cartoon characters.

When I got to the 2nd job the manager was angry and mad about a worker and I will not even say all the stuff she said, but know it was inappropriate. No one over 50 years old should have said the things she did. She even asked if I was tired of hearing the whining and I told her I really was.

The owner’s mother called and wanted to speak to the other manager who had just left. Come to find out she had fallen (she is 80 years old) in her garden. So I had to see how far the other manager had gone or I had to go get her up myself, with this crazed knee. Luckily, the manager wasn’t on the Interstate yet and she was able to get there and help her. She wasn’t hurt, but it so good she keeps her cell phone on her at all times.

Then the worker, who the manager was mad at, said she is thisclose to putting in her notice. She was angry and of course that attitude touched the other workers. I came in that Friday to have good day and as soon as I got there it was already a mess. I must have peace. Woosah!

We got through the night pretty well, considering I started having back spasms and my knee was really acting up. Then… I had to deal with a customer who was as wrong as two-left shoes. Folks wanted to order even after we closed. The owner came in after checking on his mother and a hell storm ensued as the worker let loose all that had been bothering her and the issues she has with the other manager.

At 9 pm my cousin called with a family emergency. Shyte!

When we finally closed and had cleaned up, it was a quarter to 10. Then I spent the next 45 minutes talking with the owner about the worker, manager and attitudes. Basically in a nutshell, both the worker and the manager were wrong. There is a problem with boundaries in the store. You can’t be friends with your workers and expect them to do what you say because on any given day you may want to act like a manager. As I told him, I didn’t understand why I didn’t have the same problems with the same folks on my shift. You know why? Because I am consistent, treat everyone the same and I have freaking boundaries. He actually heard me this time.

When I got home at 10:45 pm, I was tired; my back hurt and was wondering if I would be able to run errands the next day.

I did run errands, but I wasn’t able to see The Guy because I fell asleep as soon as I returned home. That made me mad. Because I miss The Guy!

When I got to work that Saturday, I was short a cook but I kept my positive attitude because seriously, I just didn’t care anymore. Maybe I should say I couldn’t change anything so work with what I had and I did. And it was a great night!

On Sunday, everyone showed up for work. I came in with almost dry hair, yep washed my hair that morning. The worker put in her two-week notice. And I wasn’t mad or upset. I sat her down and talked to her for 30 minutes about positive attitudes, karma, life choices and going forward in a better manner. She was opened and receptive to the discussion. Although she was still angry with the other manager, her putting in her notice made her feel so good. She recognized she didn’t handle the discussion with the owner properly and she needs to work on acceptance when someone corrects her. It was a good conversation and it was also a learning moment for me. I wished her the best and told her to make sure she lets me know how she is doing in the future.

That weekend was one for the books, but in the end I felt like I was winning.


First graduation is next week. We have been planning this for months. So asked me why my cousin could only get 7 tickets for her son’s graduation? So I will be in Atlanta watching it on television. The only reason I didn’t back completely out of the entire thing was 3 of us were sharing a hotel room and I didn’t want to burden the other two. So yeah, answer me why high school graduations limit the number of guests? This is ridiculous. My niece is also having the same issue. They get 10 tickets. She lives in Virginia Beach, which is a military town, which means folks aren’t from the area and their family will be traveling from all over to attend. I told my sister I ain’t watching it on television. They are able to garner more tickets and my niece better be on it. Shyte! I have been practicing my twerking in stilettos.

Graduations are here this weekend. Some of the folks graduating probably shouldn’t be based on the knowledge they have. I work with a few and…never mind.



Is growing out of control. But I still have nothing edible yet. I guess since I had to plant later this is what happens. I plan to plant some jalapenos this weekend. Of course I have to start them inside the house and then move them outside. I am so ready for a juicy grape tomato and beautiful blooms.

Scandal…Spoiler Alert

Okay, I didn’t know Whitley’s fiancé was Olivia’s dad. Shit got real last night. Seriously, Quinn as a mini-Huck scares me. She was high off that shyte. The Guy and I text during the show and he and I finished last night’s episode with a WTH? So many questions and now we got to wait until the fall for answers. I saw a few folks saying the last episode wasn’t as intense or as good as other episodes. I actually was tense the whole show. It was like Shonda made things the way they were so the drama can start all over again.

Although I do not want Fitz and Olivia together, I am still not team Mellie. Hell, no. And why do I not want Fitz and Olivia together, because he killed Verna. He doesn’t have a conscious. Let Mellie have his crazy azz. Real talk. Mellie doesn’t love Fitz, so why would I be for a woman who is with a man who doesn’t love her either? Life is too short not to be happy.

Shonda, I need Harrison to be front and center next season.

Creative Cooking
Sneak peek...

I made whole-wheat apple cinnamon rolls. So good. I actually still have a pan in the freezer to serve to guests this year. It will be a while before I post that one.

I am making liver pate this week as a snack for my graduation trip next week. Should be interesting. Oh, you don’t like liver pate? Oh well, I do. LOL!

I am also been pricing camera’s so I can take better pictures, but my goodness I ain’t trying to hit the pole to pay for one. So the search continues.

Sorry I don’t have many pictures, but next week I will have plenty.

Mother’s Day

I spent Mother’s Day washing my hair and relaxing. And reflecting. For some folks in my family the day was bittersweet and I get it but for me it was a moment to be thankful I had a grandmother, a mother and an aunt to mother me and although they are no longer here, it was a blessing to have learned from them all.

Things That Have Made Me Happy This Week:

The 2 pounds I lost.

Peace on both jobs.

My garden growing.

Reading and Enjoying An Angry Ass Black Woman by Karen E. Quinones Miller.

Training a new Assistant Manager.

Spending, albeit a short time, with The Guy this week.
Caitlyn's Graduation Picture
My niece and her talents.

Saying Lala's name where she heard me on the phone and she starts to scream hysterically .

God showing up and out this week!  Blessed!

Have a wonderful weekend! And if things get crazy next weekend I will be sure to blog about it!

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Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Creative Cooking...No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

I have had this recipe sitting in my drafts so I could take the time to write out this simple, but delicious dessert. I had about two months of recipes already set up to post so I was taking my time to do this one and then time ran out. Story of my life. This is a real simple recipe and although I did get it from Skinnytaste, I made some adaptations, which I know increased the calorie count. I could not find the Peanut butter she recommended in her directions and I used the individual mini graham cracker crusts, everything else I tried to stick as close to the recipe as I could.

Ingredients: As adapted from Skinnytaste

• 5 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened

• 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

• 1/3 cup Jif’s Reduced Fat Peanut Butter

• 8 oz fat free frozen whipped topping, thawed

• Mini graham cracker pie crusts

• 3 tbsp Hershey's Special Dark chocolate syrup

All combined except the whipped topping.

In your mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar together until incorporated and add your Peanut butter, I heated mine in the microwave for a few seconds so it would mix smoothly into the mixture. Then fold in your whipped topping. Spoon into your mini graham cracker pie shells and refrigerate for 2-3 hours until firm. (I actually froze mine and took them out one at a time when I had a taste for one.) Once firm, drizzle with your syrup and have at it!
Makes your mouth water...

Verdict: This recipe is ridiculously simple and easy to make. Probably takes 15 minutes max to combine and pour into the shells. The taste was rich and tasty. Although my version added a few more calories, one small pie was like one slice of a large pie. The servings are enough to whet your appetite without being over-the-top. If you are looking for quick spring or summer dessert, you may want to add this to your menu. Let me know if you try it!


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Friday, May 03, 2013

"If You Want Me, Earn Me! ...Randoms

Red Hybrid Tea Roses


Last on deck and tissues...

Whew! Scandal came back from its 3-week sabbatical to pull our emotional strings and having us scratch our damn heads. This week’s episode was one of those oh shyte moments! Did he really choose her? Really? And in the back of my mind there are some jump-offs, side-piece chicks, mistresses or whatever thinking they are in the game now. As I come from a family of adulterers male and female, let me be the first to tell you, Scandal is fiction and in real life that leaving the wife for the mistress doesn’t happen often or at all. So…don’t go getting you some long-stem wine glasses to celebrate, because you will get your feelings hurt. Next week is the season finale and frankly I am scared for Olivia because this whole scandal has the potential to upend everyone and everything. Oh, but oh do we love the drama. At least this week I wasn’t sitting in bed with tears rolling down my face. I was an emotional wreck last week.

Can Harrison get a love interest? Damn! I ain’t gonna like her anyway because it won’t be me. But still!

Part-time Job Woes

I need peace in my life at all times. And when there is an unsettling of my peace, I don’t like it one bit. It is getting closer to the summer and these kids do not want to work. Calling off for insane reasons. I don’t know about you, but I do not lie about a family member’s health. Will not do it. Some of my college kids are coming back next week so maybe we can attract a better applicant. Seriously, this guy turned in an application last week high as a kite and smelling aromatic if you catch my drift. Luckily, I was there to intercept it and write NO! on it.

Book Club

We had a wonderful meeting last Saturday. We are now in our 14th year as a book club. And that is a big accomplishment when you have a group of diverse and strong-minded women.

This year we have decided besides reading, we would have our bonding this year over getting healthy together. We are planning on working out together, sharing healthy recipes and motivating each other to be as healthy as we can. You know some folks are already making up excuses of why they can’t exercise. Like I say, they are just excuses, if you want to get healthy, you will get healthy. It is truly a mind thing. A couple of us are on Myfitness Pal, which is helping me tremendously because ya’ll know I am competitive. LOL!

Our meeting was also our business meeting where we go over the books for the year and other plans whether they are community service, bonding or issues the book club may be facing. For the most part, since I purposely started focusing mainly on the books and not fundraising things have been going marvelously. We brought in 3 new members back in 2011. Of the three, only one has truly made herself at home with our group. One unfortunately became a caretaker for her mother which virtually made it impossible for her to leave her mother alone anymore. And the other one…sighing. Part of being in a book club is reading and coming to the meeting. This other member only made it to two meeting this past year. So I had to do what always dread doing and that is confronting the member about attendance and commitment. After the incident in 2010, you can understand my reluctance with dealing with situations like this, but I learned in 2010 not dealing with the situations makes everyone unhappy and we do not want that. Hopefully, she will continue to be a part of us but do so with a true pledge of commitment.
My hair is too long...
Dark mess, can't even see the outfit. SMH!
Working Out and Eating

So I have been getting it in this week working out. Sweating my hair out and everything. I even started back doing Wii Zumba I guess I had forgotten how much fun it was. I also did this challenge where you do jumping jacks, burpees etc. Man, that mess hurt, but oh did I feel good doing them. Frankly, I was tired of the treadmill and elliptical. So change is good.

I also found by putting my calories into the Myfitness Pal app keeps you on top of things. I found I was going over my sugar content some days. Not necessarily from sugar itself but from the fruit I snack on. So it gives you gauges to see where you need to make some improvements. Next week I am reducing my caloric intake.


I emailed my Consultant a couple of weeks ago because my cousin had a friend contemplating getting “kinky twists”. I don’t care how many times I tell her azz I have Sisterlocks she can’t remember it for nothing. I had my Consultant laughing about that one. Anyway, I told her I needed to see her anyway because I need my hair cut. She laughed at me ya’ll. Laughed! This isn’t funny. I can’t wear my hair down because it is too long and I have to be careful not to let my purse pull a lock out of my head. I can’t style it much anymore because it is too long. I really only what an inch or two cut so I can wear flexi-rod styles and soft spike styles. Geez! I even sent her a collage of my hair pictures and she still isn’t budging. Sighing…
Thick and too long...

My niece sang the national anthem at her school’s last pep rally and she did that! I swear I heard my mama’s voice.

Hunny Bunny and I had a great conversation about her mom and Zumba. She said it is Hilarious to see her mama trying to do the steps.

Lala is on video shaking her head no to coming to Alabama to see me. Told you, that child doesn’t like me. LOL!
Lala with her two-strand twists.  Why does she look like she is 4 years old, instead of 1?

Carson had his 2nd birthday party last Saturday. That baby is growing. Had his muscles showing and everything. He is so club ready!

Happy 2nd Birthday Carson, my club partner!

My garden is doing fine. The weather here has been off and on raining for most of the week and this weekend is forecast for more of the same. Yet, the seedlings and plants are growing. But my yard guy is going to kill me. See, what had happened…I purchased some weed & grass killer so when I put together my raised garden I sprayed all the weeds around the garden bed and in the backyard. Yeah, I got a lot of brown grass. I didn’t think it would kill the grass, grass. I thought it would kill the wild crazy weeds and clover and the weird grass. When he sees my back yard he is going to be mad!
Resilient Roses...


This was taken on Sunday, wait until you see this week's picture.  Amazing the growth!

These are the Geraniums I planted in 2011 and look at them now.  Um, yeah that Peace Lily is struggling...

Graduations & Traveling

The first graduation trip is this month. We are only going to Atlanta for an overnight. I almost cancelled out of it due to some family issues, but my sister made me feel guilty saying my niece was disappointed I wasn’t coming and she wants to see her “Aunt Nana”. I called bullshyte on the ploy, but I am praying and will be going. I am going to need ya’ll to pray otherwise you may see me on the news. Real talk.

Next month is time for Virginia Beach. 13 hours in a vehicle. You know what? Let’s not even deal with this right now. My anxiety is picking up.


The pictures of my brother in his chef hat and coat were sent to me by his girlfriend. On that day, I was in a good place and didn’t curse her out. I am a work in progress. I don’t know this woman and I am private about my number and address. She is my brother’s girlfriend, she is nothing to me. My brother knows why I feel the way I do. And looking at how things went down with his father, I would hope he wouldn’t want to be in the same situation. Seriously, who sends or calls a family member of their boyfriend they have never met? I was nice the other day, but today…God is still working on me.

I have 4 Creative Cooking post scheduled…thank goodness.

God chin-checked me last week. I heard Him loud and clear. Humbled me down. I am truly grateful and blessed.

Last week my back was killing me, this week I pulled a muscle in my calf. I Flex-all it and wrapped it and soaked in Epsom salt, the devil was not going to keep me from exercising.

My co-worker was all upset yesterday because she had two grey hairs sticking up Alfalfa style. She said she didn’t even know she had them. She said she blends the grey into her hair so no one will see them. She asked me if I had seen the grey in her hair. I started laughing and said, “Um, I see the grey in your hair all the time. You trying to hide it? It ain’t working. I just don’t say anything, because of all the grey in mine.” Then I laughed until I was crying, because she was so outdone. She was so upset, she went home early. LOL!

The Guy has the sexiest salt and pepper goatee ever and one day he was joking about shaving it off. I got mad, with a quickness. That is My goatee and he shall not shave it…LOL!

My sister’s husband says she needs anger management.

I have been daydreaming about a real camera. You know a Canon Rebel. Sighing… Unfortunately, I have two other major purchases before I can even think about it. All I know my Creative Cooking posts would be majorly improved with the proper pictures. And my outfit shots wouldn’t look like dark blurs.

Sometimes I get really sad thinking about missing my Aunt. Then I think about my Uncle. In fact, last week I swear I smelled him in the den and instead of being scared to death, I felt protected. (No I am not crazy!) I also realize at 43 years old more people will be dying around me and I am not sure how I will handle it. Each death feels different, but they all leave this hollowness in my heart. And then the sadness dissipates because they are in a better place. I guess all this comes to mind because I wonder how well my sister and brother are managing their grief. Because I know it was well over a year before I was able to not cry every month about my Aunt.

RIP – Chris Kelly of Kris Kross.

Fantasia has a stylist and she looks Great!

Stars behaving badly. Did you know Billy the Exterminator was arrested and since plead guilty to the possession of synthetic marijuana? Lawd, I can hear his mama hollering about that now. And Reese Witherspoon, she got beside herself didn’t she? Teen mom, Farrah and her s.ex tape, seriously? Has MTV taken that show off yet? I despise it. I don’t know if this is a celebrity behaving badly but Martha Stewart is doing online dating…Wow! American Idol with Minaj and Carey is it working? I haven’t watched the show in many years. I even stopped watching the auditions. I am over AI.

My supervisor asked what was for breakfast this morning and I said oatmeal and turkey bacon. He looked at me so seriously and said, “That doesn’t sound good at all!” And laughed. I had to laugh because folks can’t get with my breakfast meals. I love oatmeal and cream of wheat.

Things that have made me Happy this week:

My niece asking my advice on her prom shoes. Seriously, she loves shoes as much as me.

My family and The Guy.

Having a real belly laugh with my co-worker.

My flowers and veggies growing in their containers.

My roses coming back with a bang.

God’s grace…

This is my favorite picture I took this weekend!

Happy thoughts! Happy thoughts! For a Happy Weekend!

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Wednesday, May 01, 2013

About My Brother...Christopher

My brother...Christopher, Culinary Arts Student

I haven’t talked much on this blog about my brother since he was released in 2011. October of that year was monumental because my brother was going home and I was so glad. I was also a bit nervous because he had been incarcerated since he was 18 years old. And he came out in his mid 30s, learning curve much? I am so proud to brag about him in this post.

Upon being released, he immediately did what he was supposed to do and see his probation officer and he was told he didn’t have supervised probation and his probation officer told him and my sister one very interesting fact. Because my brother was incarcerated at such a young age, his chances of recidivism were much less than most being released. Interesting fact. He also started learning about the changes in the world since he had been incarcerated. He got a cell phone; he got a job and was slowly re-acclimating his way back into society. And believe me it wasn’t easy.

My brother did more in the first six months of his release then most folks do in years of their lives. He applied for culinary school, got accepted and started the arduous task of applying for financial aid. He got his first laptop and e-reader. He learned the public transportation system and he began his journey to securing his career freedom.
This is the 2nd cake he posted on FB and he is definitely developing his skills

In July of 2012, he got a scooter because he worked weekends and at night and since he didn’t have a car yet or his driver’s license he rode that scooter. He has learned to be responsible for himself, because let’s face it he is a grown man. And shortly thereafter, he got his drivers’ license and his first car. I told him before he got his license, “Driving is freedom.” And he thanks me constantly for telling him that little gem.

I finally got to see him in February, but it wasn’t necessarily the way I wanted to see him after 18 or so years, because his father, my stepfather passed. It was still awesomely strange and good to have all three of us under the same roof.

I am proud all the accomplishments my brother has made since his release. He hasn’t sat around waiting on folks to do things for him he has made things happen. He has called my sister and I on occasion for advice and whether takes it or not, he at least was open to hearing what we had to say. He set several goals for himself upon his release and he only has one more goal to accomplish and that is getting his own place. And in June, he can cross that off his list. His journey is continuing and although it hasn’t been all laughs and sunshine, he has managed to keep his eye on the prize. He has so many folks who support him and it is a testament of how much we believe in him.
Crawfish Etoufee

When his father died, he had to withdraw from culinary school because he would miss too many days. And that bothered me, because I didn’t want him to have too much free time. He actually found an additional job, but he had two of his instructors argue for him to have him reinstated for the semester and guess, what? He was back in class. I was so happy. He is good at what he does and his passion for the culinary arts is never wavering. I know one day soon he will have his own restaurant because he has the belief, the passion and the confidence to make it happen. He wrote down his goals and he is making them happen!

Flourless chocolate cake with strawberry sauce and espresso sauce.  Garnished with caramel, pecan crumbles and homemade whipped cream.  This was his perfect 5, the chefs rarely give 5's and this was his perfect plate.

Side note: When folks see pictures of my brother, they always ask me if he is single. I in turn remind them he is my baby brother and I don’t play that shyte. Then I tell them he does have a girlfriend.

  Not everyone is given a second chance to do better, but when it happens and you see it happen one can't help but be proud!...Cashana

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