Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just me.......Randomly

By the time you read this blog, I will be safely in New Orleans on a wedding planning trip with Mr. Mixologist. Please say a prayer that the tropical storm, or Hurricane, or what ever it may decided to turn into does NOT hit Louisiana from Thursday through Sunday !

That reminds me that I will be bringing the huge golf umbrella that my love bought for me,  as it is sure to rain while we are there. It really keeps me dry.  I don't spend a lot on umbrellas because I lose them all the time. I am super paranoid about losing this one because it was a gift & he spent too much money on it in my opinion.

I have a Hair Salon appointment and a Make up Consultation, with two ladies in New Orleans that I met via the Knot recommended by other brides. I really hope I like what they do, so I can check that off the list & move on to something else. We have now connected on Facebook & Pinterest to share ideas, isn't that convenient ? In fact several of my vendors are on those networks. Don't you just love the internet? It has made this wedding planning a whole lot easier from such a distance.

Why am I not ready for my mom, sister, nieces and bridesmaids to come to Houston in October ? Because I have lost a grand total of 4 lbs in preparation for trying on wedding dresses & I am subject to gain those all back this weekend eating Beignets among other things in New Orleans !!!!. LOL  Other than being my same fluffy self, I am very excited about their trip here & my nieces are too. They are so excited to see me try on wedding dresses. I miss them.

Actually I have exactly 8 weeks until they all come, which really is enough time for me to make some serious changes and see some results. That's if I make some changes. It's doable. I have to do more than just talk about it.  Please pray for me on that too. I need help. When I am stressed ( like I have been recently) I just don't do half of what  I know I should do. Either way the excuses need to cease.

Well, I guess technically this wasn't really random, since I have wedding planning on the brain. I am sure to have some pictures to share on the blog next week.

What's going on random with you ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weddings & Funerals..........

You know how people talk about how weddings & funerals bring out the craziness in families. Well I am seeing it first hand. And boy is it ugly. My best friends sister passed away on Tuesday. However as soon as she went to Hospice just a week before, the drama was already starting among the family. The dispute is over the family home. For clarity, my friend is the youngest of six siblings 3 boys & 3 girls.  The oldest sister (who just passed)  was married with no children. Her husband is a deadbeat, and has been for years. No job in like forever, I'm talking for more than 25 years he never worked. He basically lived off of his wife who had a government job that kept them comfortable, especially when you consider the fact that they had no mortgage because they lived in the home that her deceased parents purchased. How they ended up in the home is another wild & crazy story. Prior to them moving into the home it was occupied by the middle sister (who died about 7 years ago). The middle sister had initially moved in with her two children to take care of their father for several years prior to his death when he was sick with cancer. That was originally how the first of the siblings ended up back living in the family home. When the father died, she stayed in the home for a few years. In fact, the father prior to his death deeded the house to the middle daughter (everyone assumes this was his way of showing appreciation for the care she gave him). Initially no one had an issue with this because she had been the main one caring for their ill father. But over time the older sister (everyone believes it was motivated by her husband) began to resent that the middle sister was living "rent free" so she & her husband, get this......sold their home & moved into the family home along with the middle sister and her two kids. It was very crowded (this is not a mansion) so the oldest sister ended up converting the garage into a living area and building somewhat of an addition to that side of the home & built a carport for their cars. The middle sister didn't really fight this, since it was their parents home.  The other 4 siblings all had their own homes. Evidently the drama began 7 years ago when the middle sister died. That's when some funny business went on with the deed on the house, the siblings all thought they were signing the house into the name of all of the remaining siblings.  This is what the kids of the middle sister agreed to (they were her only heirs). But after that transfer was made, a subsequent deed transfer then put the house in the name of the oldest sister AND her deadbeat husband. Evidently no one knew of this second mystery deed transfer until recently when oldest sister became ill and they started looking at things to anticipate what would happen upon her death. Oh what a drama filled mess ! She of course was very ill and none of the siblings wanted to confront her about it,  but obviously some funny business went on years before. They are all pissed that now that the oldest sister is gone, the house will evidently go to her deadbeat husband that none of them really care for because he is her sole heir. They don't think he should be the rightful heir to the home their parents bought. They also don't feel he deserves it because its not as if HE worked for years and years and paid for any of the upkeep, maintenance or repairs or even the addition they added all those years ago. Now none of the 4 siblings wants to move into the house, and they don't want to put him out on the street (they discussed letting him stay until his death when they thought the house was still in all of their names) but it just seems that it should go to the bloodline heirs which include them & ultimately all of their children. The oldest sister had no kids. I am interested to see what you guys in blogland think about this situation.

Now on to far I have not had any drama with my planning (other than trying to carve this guest list down to only those who I believe will actually travel to NOLA when its time to pull the trigger, LOL) but I love reading & commenting on the message boards ! It's like wedding blogging.  It is so interesting to see what all the brides-to-be are dealing with in the midst of planning their big day. I promise you I thank my lucky stars every day, cause some of these brides have some truly bat s&$! crazy mothers, MIL's, and " bridesmaidzillas" (I just made that up). Recently I was reading about a bride who is just devastated because her mother has decided to boycott her wedding & is not participating in anything including wedding dress shopping. The reason: The groom has a twin sister, who happens to be gay. The groom has decided that his twin sister is going to be his "Best Woman" . The brides mother is so against this  that she has demanded that the bride tell her husband-to-be that this is not acceptable. She is concerned about what its going to look like, the fact that its not tradition, there is no such thing as a "Bestwoman", what people with think/say etc. She "claims" that it has nothing to do with the girl being gay (yeah right LOL) So when the bride told her mother, that she did not care who her husband had stand up for him, especially since she is his sister & that she would not make her husband pick someone else,  the mother accused her of putting her husband ahead of her family and of letting her husband "run her"LOL It is utterly amazing how selfish and self-centered people can be and its not even their wedding! But really to just decide to boycott you daughters wedding because she can't control every little detail. I mean what kind of mother does that ?

Why do weddings and funerals always bring out the dysfunction in families ?

Have you been involved in or witnessed any wedding or funeral drama ?

How would you deal with these scenarios ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cooking with Beautifully Complex: Shrimp n' Grits

I have Mr. Mixologist to thank for exposing me to the low country delight that is Shrimp n' Grits.  He has made it for me on numerous occasions and when dining out, I always like to try it to see and taste the different variations of this dish.  At my birthday dinner, I ordered it and enjoyed it so much that I promised myself that I was going to try my hand at making it myself just to see how it would come out. There are several recipes online but I settled on one & then just tweaked it a little bit to my liking.

Shrimp n' Grits Recipe 

Chopped Bell Pepper
I made two slight changes to this recipe.

First, I added 1/2 cup of diced bell pepper because I saw this in
other recipes & I like the texture and taste.

Oh & some people call what I call green onions, "scallions". FYI

Chopped Green Onions

Fried Bacon ! 

I rarely eat regular bacon these days, but I wanted to stick to the recipe. 
I love my turkey bacon but I must say this pork was good ! LOL

Chopped Bacon 

Grits Cookin' 

A second change I made was......
Instead of 4 cups of water I cooked the grits with 1 cup of milk & 3 cups of water to make them just a little bit creamier.

Chopped Parsley 

Sauteed Shrimp & bell pepper

Now on to the shrimp .......
First I sauteed the bell pepper in the pan I cooked the bacon in. I poured out almost all of the bacon fat & just left a light film in the pan, then cooked the shrimp.

The rest of the veggies & bacon

Cheesy Grits ! 

Voila !

Excuse the presentation but I was hungry & an anxious to try it. LOL

The finished product 

The one thing I would do differently next time is to make a bit of gravy for the shrimp mixture. Mr. Mixologist knows how to make gravy, but I really don't. Mine always comes out tasting pasty. There are several recipes that add cream or milk to the shrimp mixture & next time, I may try one of those, but overall this was a good recipe and tasted pretty darn good.

Have you ever had Shrimp n' Grits ?

Have you tried any new recipes lately ?

Beautifully Complex 

Monday, August 13, 2012

No Loyalty Among Thieves

Last Friday I along with 3 other people conducted a three hour interview with an Informant. For obvious reasons I can't get into the specifics of the situation. However, this is a fairly common occurrence for me based on the work that I do as a Fraud Investigator for my employer. One of the things that is always interesting to me is establishing and examining the motives of the people that choose to willingly provide information about different types of fraud and illegal activity that goes on. The stories are always interesting and human nature is so consistent and predictable LOL. In last weeks scenario, the Informant has had knowledge of the fraud being committed for a significant amount of time.What prompted this person to come forward to spill the tea you ask ? Well of course it was a dispute over........what else?......MONEY. What was interesting to me is that the amount of money involved seemed pretty minor in my view. But I guess no amount of money is too little when you feel like someone has disrespected you. I am sure that if the person being poured out knew what not paying would ultimately cost them they would have just paid the debt.

On the other hand, why would you expect people who behave criminally, to have integrity and loyalty and to deal with you fairly and in good faith ? This seems like common sense to me but after interviewing countless  ex-business partners, ex-husbands, ex-friends, ex-associates. ex-employees, it seems clear to me that the best way to not get caught committing fraud, is to stay on very good terms with any and everyone who is complicit in the scheme. I am sure this is hard to do sometimes but just know that more often that not,  the person who pulls the string that makes it all unravel is someone who is close to you our used to be.  As the saying goes.....there is no loyalty amongst thieves.

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

When it Rains..... pours as they say. I was all set to blog like a maniac everyday this month to step up to this blog challenge, but alas life interrupts. I have contemplative and moody and in no frame of mind to blog. My fiance and I both have been fielding calls from family and very close friends that are dealing with very challenging situations. I am pretty sure that I have not mentioned this on the blog but Mr. Mixologist's grandmother is battling cancer & has been for more than 6 months. We found out just after we got engaged at the first of this year. We have been praying for her and just not knowing what is going to happen and that uncertainty along with being so far away has been hard to manage. The latest news is that his most favorite uncle is battling cancer as well but it is much more aggressive and advanced than anyone knew and his mother just recently admitted to him that it is terminal and he declining very rapidly. This is obviously devastating news. I don't know how to console him. I don't know how I could be consoled ! I have a relationship with one of my aunt's that is especially close so I can only imagine how he is feeling when I think of losing her. I actually met this uncle when I met his entire family for the first time and I have heard so many stories about him that I could tell many of them myself. I fell in love with him too and I just don't know what we are going to do. For months we have talked so excitedly about how much fun it's going to be next year when his family meets my family at our wedding and this uncle was a major part of those conversations. He is like the heartbeat of his family. I don't have any living grandparents and Mr. Mixologist is blessed to still have one set, both of his of maternal Grandparents. As we were talking Sunday after church, he talked about how his family has waited such a long time to see him get married and they are so excited and it is troubling him that "it is very possible and most likely that we will be attending two funerals before our wedding". I did not know what to say.

Now if that wasn't enough, Sunday night I get a call from one of my oldest and dearest friends that I blogged about before. Her sister has been battling cancer for over 2 years and things are not looking very good for her right now. I was talking to her, crying and praying with her and trying to console her as well as myself because I grew up with her older sister too as we have been best friends since we were both 13. She is one of my bridesmaids and I am just hurting for her right now. Both of her parents are deceased and this is her last living sister (she lost her other sister to cancer about 10 years ago). What can you say ?

The final blow was yesterday afternoon, while sitting in the doctor's office with me, Mr. Mixologist gets a call from his best friend, also a groomsmen in our wedding who was needing his help with booking the cheapest flight home to Mississippi ASAP because his uncle was sick and near death. Later that evening we got the call that he had passed, so now he is flying home for a funeral. What can you do ?

I know this is the cycle of life. We are at that age where these are the things that happen. It's just life.  All we can do is pray because we are faithful and we know that things will get better that life will get better and we will be OK no matter what happens. But I am just feeling just a little overwhelmed emotionally right now. Please say a prayer for me, my love, our family and our dearest friends. Pray that I can have the words and the ability to show him the support he needs to keep him from the darkness of depression. Thank you in advance blog fam !

Beautifully Complex

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Middle of America

Am I lame for wanting a copy of the TimeLife  Singers & Songwriters CD collection ? LOL  I remember when I was young & those music commercials would come on TV and all my aunts & uncles & older cousins would be jammin'.  Now I get it. Music can really take me back &  make me feel really warm & fuzzy inside, especially when its the music you grew up on.

Me & my sister spent our summers literally in the " middle of America " in a little small town that my mother had to drive 7 hours to get to so she could drop us off to stay with my great-grandmother & great aunt. It's the place where she grew up and I have so many funny stories from that time that I just may blog about since I'm doing this 30 day blog challenge.

Anyway the purpose of this post was to highlight the band "America" which I discovered during these lazy summers in the 70's & early 80's. Since they had no "urban" radio station, we had to listen to what we could get on our little transistor radios (remember those?)& their tiny antennas. We spent so may lazy summer days having picnics (sandwiches and a bunch of junk food, chips, candy & soda) laying on our blankets under the trees reading, talking, laughing & listening to the radio.  I think there was a lot of really great music from that time.

We used to sing this one at the top of our lungs......

I had no idea what was going on with all the symbolism in this song, but sang it loud and strong just the same. LOL

I bet it was fun to be in a band in the 70' I said all the imagery was beyond me as a child but it is definitely interesting to listen to it now and put some of the themes together in the music.

What is some of your favorite music from your youth ?   Do you like America ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Good Advice

I am trying to keep my eyes and ears open for blogging ideas if I am going to meet the challenge and blog every day this month. This came up in one of my groups so I thought I would use it.

What is the best and most helpful advice that you have ever been given and who gave it to you ?

I think the best advice I ever got was from my great-grandmother Savannah (we named my oldest niece after her). It was pertaining to my relationship with my sister. She told us both " Never allow anything or anyone  to come between you and your sister. You need to be there for one another no matter what."  This advice came during a time when me and my sister were bickering and fighting all the time and fighting to become independent of one another, developing new friendships and our own way of doing things.  We are only 14 months apart and we are very close now but when we were younger our personality differences and just the younger sister/older sister dynamic caused a lot of strife at times. End the end my great-grandmother was  a wise woman. I have wonderful friends and have many great people in my life that support me, but my sister and her love and support for me throughout my life is unparalleled (besides my mother) and she has proven to my a very loyal and trusted confidant.

Here are some of the pieces of advice that others shared on the thread that I really  liked.

"When you are going through Hell.....keep going"     Easier said that done but no less true.

"Spend your money on experiences and not things."  I have definitely learned to do this.

"No one ever wins an argument "  Hmmm this is deep.

What's your best piece of advice ? Share in the comments !

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Friday, August 3, 2012

Your Social Networking is Not Working !

I know a young person. I am going to be intentionally vague on how I am associated with this person because this blog is pretty much not anonymous. Anyhow, I follow this person on some social networking sites, but my primary focus in this rant is about Facebook. This person is a teenager and that fact may excuse some of the behavior I have observed in some people's eyes possibly. I guess I am officially old now,  because some of the things I see and read on this persons FB page  have made me blush. I am not a prude. I don't always think or say the right thing. Trust & believe that I listen to hood/ratchet/ghetto anthem type music with the best of them. But it's all about time and place. For example,  I know people write things on Twitter they would never put on Facebook. It amazes me that some people don't consider their audience. This young person has been warned in the past on several occasions. Several other adults noted some of the very inappropriate posts and it was brought to the attention of the only involved parent. We also approached the young person directly, expressed our concerns, explained consequences, appropriate behavior, etc.  The result: several of us discovered that we had been blocked from being able to see their wall posts anymore.  It then took quite a while before I was reinstated with full access to their page. But, in no time at all the inappropriate comments were back in effect. Posting sexually explicit song lyrics, cursing, threatening back & forth with other immature teenagers, talking/bragging  about what they did last night leaving nothing to the imagination. Just totally inappropriate and TMI. It just like they don't care that any and everyone can see this nonsense.  I have just given up. I can't believe how unconcerned some young people are about how they are perceived. As a teenager growing into a young lady, I was very concerned about what my teachers, church members, aunts, uncles, and especially my parents thought of me. If I had had a platform like FB back then, there is no way I would show my A$& the way I have seen this person do. Even now, if you follow me on social networks you can probably surmise that  A) I like to socialize and  B) I like to drink wine and cocktails and C) I move around the city a lot. However, what you won't see is whether or not I got intoxicated, or am hung over the next day , or got into some drunken verbal altercation, etc.  You can make assumptions but you will not have any evidence of unflattering behavior coming from me on a damn social network.   Not long ago, I mentioned to another person in the same circle with this young person, that they were at it again & basically he told me "What more can you do ? Didn't we already address this ? This child should not even have the privilege of FB.  If acceptable behavior is not being reinforced by the parent, how much impact are you going to have in the situation when you are not there supervising the kid every day ?" 

Damn. You know what. He is right. I hate giving up on people especially young people. But I am beyond frustrated. Mr. Mixologist told me that I need to just block the posts from coming to my news feed since they upset me so. I guess I was just hoping to see a change & just because I don't see it doesn't mean its not happening. It just bothers me.

Do you following any young people on social networks ?

Do you think that people are unconcerned with their online persona ?

What more can I do help this young person understand ?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

30 Blogs in 30 Days

There is some blog challenge going around the internet, a writer Aliya S King has challenged writers/bloggers to write 30 posts in 30 days so I am going to do my best to step up to the plate. Since this month has 31 days and this is just day two of the month I will start today & try to finish out the rest of the month.

What's on my mind right now..........How I wish I had more hours in the day to do what I want to do instead of what I have to do. How I wish I was independently wealthy or at least had my mortgage paid off so that I could work when I want to LOL. How I wish that I could financially bless people in my life that I see who are living in a way that makes me proud. How I wish I had more time for social networking, even when I spend what already amounts to ridiculous amounts of time on it anyway. I love Pin.terest,, Inst.agram, Twitter, Yelp and of course reading my favorite blogs & writing on my own blog. Not to mention The K.not which is quite the resource with all of this wedding planning as well as the numerous blogs I read by brides planning weddings. There are just not enough hours in the day ! Plus I have all these magazines that come in the mail that stack up & I feel guilty if I try to throw them away cause I don't have time to read them. I am addicted to the written word ! I wish I had more time. There is so much to see, learn, do, watch and experience. I want to live a life of leisure ! LOL But honestly, I am so very blessed that I have the type of life that gives me the opportunities that I do have. I don't work as "hard" as many people and I earn a "comfortable" income for what I do everyday. TiffanyinHouston wrote a post today about struggling that really made me think. I can honestly say that being raised by a single mom until I was 12, we did struggle. My biological father was not present and provided no financial support at all. I had two alcoholic grandparents so my mother's support system was not that great. I do have memories of having to eat beans towards the end of the month, having no furniture in our apartment for quite a while, our electricity getting turned off a few times, and my mom having to ask friends for gas money so that she could get to work. But my childhood was very happy and those situations were temporary. I was never trapped in poverty. My mother has always been a hard worker and very determined. She was a very involved and active parent and we always had fun with her. She taught me so much about faith and perseverance. My mom got married and she continued working hard to carve out a great life for me & my sister that led us to great educational opportunities which led to me having  what I consider a very good life today. Yes, I have had disappointments in my life, divorce, daddy issues, infertility, financial setbacks, but honestly the things that I deal with are considered "first world problems" and I would not want to gamble and throw my life back into the water and take chance of pulling out something much more challenging. So tonight as I sit on my leather sofa, in my air conditioned home that I own, sipping a glass of vino, surfing the internet while my fiance is outside grilling our dinner, I think I am doing just fine.

What's on your mind ?  Are you up to the challenge to blog for 30 days straight ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex