The Proposal

The other day, my husband showed me this cute video of a choreographed dance wedding proposal. I couldn’t see the entire thing due to an interruption concerning a three-foot person, a Tennessee Volunteers tumbler, flying water, and a couch, but from what I saw, I was quite impressed. For those not worried about Toddler Interruptus, you can view the video here. Pretty cute, huh? Dude went all out to show how much he wanted to spend forever with his girlfriend.

When I wrote Destination Wedding, I neglected to put in the story how Clay actually proposed to Marissa. Maybe it was an oversight or maybe I wanted the reader to use his/her imagination. Even though I didn’t include the proposal in Destination Wedding, I am remembering mine and perhaps I did not include the popped question because perhaps I figured that no proposal would ever top mine ;). I think of myself as a simple person, meaning that I don’t tend to go for the elaborate things. I didn’t know what my wedding dress would look like at the age of five. I didn’t think about bridesmaids when I was young. For me, rings just got in the way, so I didn’t need the biggest one. And I didn’t really dream about my dream proposal. But I had a dream proposal. I was blessed enough to meet someone who didn’t go for the elaborate either, but the meaningful.

My proposal took place in New Orleans, interestingly enough. I say that it is interesting because I always remember Angela Lewis, which was Halle Berry’s character in the movie, Boomerang describing New Orleans as a place where you take someone you love and just… chill.

...and just chill.

and just… chill.

Well I never really got a chance to “chill” with someone I loved while living in New Orleans. I was there for a different purpose. I went to school to study urban planning in New Orleans. I had a lot fun with my good girlfriends in New Orleans. Did some internships there. Learned a lot about the city and her culture. But no chillin’. Even still, Angela’s words stayed with me. Two years later after graduation, I returned to New Orleans with that person I loved. Aside from attending the sessions (We were there for the American Planning Association Conference), we rode the street car through the garden district. We strolled along the riverfront. We ate the best food. We partied at the House of Blues and the Rock and Bowl. And we chilled… Then I got proposed to on that last day, in the rain in front of Saint Louis Cathedral. Right there in the city made for chillin’ with the one you love. No bells. No whistles. No dancing. No Honda CRV. No barge-sinking ring. Just my man and me, along with 50 strangers, and a dozen pigeons. For me, that was the best proposal I could have gotten.

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The Guest List

War has been waged over the wedding guest list. Trust the voice of experience here. There are so many people to invite, but if you are like my husband and me, you are operating on a budget that’s kind of small. The more people you invite, the more you have to pay because you’re usually paying the restaurant or catering service per guest. So considering that you have to invite the friends and family of the groom and his parents, and friends and family of the bride and her parents, not to mention the workplace folk who hold your collective professional futures in the palm of their hands, the number of gold embossed invites needing to be mailed out gets pretty hefty. Who gets to attend? Who do you cut? Well one bride came up with her own solution to the problem. She created the following criteria for the reasons an invitation to her wedding will not be in your mailbox:

Wedding invite criteria

See problem solved, right? Uh… no. It’s not. There are so many wrongs about this status update, it’s hard to know where to start.
First of all, where is her class? Even if she had a point, was this necessary to say? I’m going to need people to think before they hit the “post” button. Before posting, they need to ask themselves a couple of questions: 1. Why am I really posting this? Do I want a lot of “likes?” or do I want to rub it in people’s faces that I’m getting married? 2. How does this make me look, like I’m the woman or I’m the fool? Also, I’m thinking about my mother again. If there was social media back when I was getting married and I posted this, my mother would have snatched me. Then she would have made me snatch back that status. She would have refused to let me embarrass her or myself in that manner because as she would say, “I raised you better than that!” Where was her mother and why wasn’t she snatching? What about the groom? Why didn’t he pull her to the side and say, “Baby, I don’t think this is a good look for you. I get it, but you might not want to post that.” So basically, this bride didn’t check herself. She wasn’t checked by her mama or her groom. But she was indeed checked. Like others, who use social media to weigh in on their private lives, she got checked by the public, hence this article. This brings me to the second point.

So when I posted this list to my own pages, the biggest response was the fact that the bride thought so much of herself that she thought the slighted guests actually cared that they were cut from her festivities. Someone even stated that it was just one less gift to buy. Also people, including professionals, are witnessing the fact that some brides just do not need to jump the broom because for them, it is more about the wedding than it is about the marriage. This is also a point that I have made here.

I cannot help wonder about the comments made to her posts? Were people in support of this or did they call her out on her lack of etiquette? Did people comment at all? How many “likes” did this get? Did she get “unfriended?” Personally, when I see statuses that try to bait or throw shade to particular “friends,” I just scroll on by. It’s just not worth debating. The thing is, when you send something like this for social media to judge, you may not like what you get back (That was another point made). Weddings are stressful enough to plan without getting into online shade-throwing. But this bride opened up that can of worms by pushing the “post” button.

This goes back to a post I wrote about the dignity being taken out of weddings. Even these were justified cuts to this particular guest list, was it really necessary for the bride to make a public statement? I guess that’s the thing about being behind a computer. That politeness filter is gone. Anyway, I just know Emily Post is rolling over in her grave behind this foolishness.

And if Uncle Junior is on his fifth glass of champagne and doing the worm across the dance floor, you may just have to grin, bare it, and dance around him. The important thing is that you are married and that is just another story to laugh about later. There are just some people you can’t cut anyway, as much as you want to.

So who’s on Clay and Marissa’s guest list? Find out in Destination Wedding available on Amazon and B&N!


Destination Wedding is on!

Another Low Country Fiction novel added to the shelf! Read all about a wedding weekend in the South Carolina Low Country gone completely wrong. Order Destination Wedding from the Barnes and Noble Website!

Weddings: Dignified or Disastrous?

Summer is the time for weddings. These days, it’s a given that the blessed event will be filmed and posted to social media. Furthermore, it’s a guarantee that the footage will end up on my timeline. Some wedding clips bring tears to my eyes. Most though, have me clutching my pink pearls while crying because I am wondering who on earth allowed such ratchedness to take place. Which one said, “that’s cute! Do that,” thus validating this foolishness. No one has any shame anymore, and that’s a shame. I cannot help but to think back to my own wedding, and the list of “don’ts” my mother gave me. Don’t pick black bridesmaids dresses. Don’t smash wedding cake in each other’s faces. Don’t do a raunchy garter belt display. Oh, if she only knew what other mothers needed add to their list of “don’ts” because good bridal sense has gone completely awry, maybe she would not have worried so much about what I might have done. Don’t drag your infant down the aisle on your wedding train. Don’t you and your bridesmaids do a striptease to Drunk in Love at a crowded reception. Don’t do the Harlem Shake at the sacred altar. After all, these wedding events will be photographed and videographed. for posterity and progeny. I mean do you really want the world to see parts of you that should have been reserved for your spouse’s eyes only?

In Destination Wedding, Marissa works hard to maintain a dignified affair, but there are a few wildcards out there that makes this task difficult. Sometimes, depending on who you invite, weddings just take on a life of it’s own. But the bride and groom do have some control over their own behavior. They need to ask themselves, when their grandchildren flip through their ipad, smart phone, or good old fashioned photo album, what will they see? Dignity or Disaster?

Meet the other character types in Destination Wedding:
Those who value weddings over marriage
That Couple
The Ex Who won’t find their Next
The All About Me Parent
Fathers are not the Reserve Parent

The One who Don’t Need a Job
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Excerpt from Destination Wedding


Chapter 9: Rockin’ the Boat

Maia was sitting with David on the other end of the top deck. When she envisioned this ride with David to Daufuskie Island, never in her wildest dreams did she imagine that she would see what she was now seeing with her own two eyes. Maia was just happy that her parents were below deck catching up with the Robinsons rather than witnessing this spectacle.
“Come on, seven!”
A clatter could be heard as the objects rolled across the wooden deck and strike the metal wall. Then the ruckus laughter followed.
“Pay up, dude!” laughed the one with the funny shaped head.
“Double or nothin’, man!” said the short wiry one.
There were a group of guys, a couple of them who Maia was sure were Clay’s brothers, in a corner shooting dice.
Loud slurps and moans drew Maia and David’s attention to a pair not too far from the dice rollers. They looked to be seconds away from getting their groove on right there on the top deck. The tall woman with the big breasts was straddling the pretty boy with the silky hair and the gold jewelry.
The rough waves rocked the boat causing them repeatedly slap their bodies together.
“Are they giving each other mouth-to-mouth?” Maia whispered to David in disgust.
“I don’t know, but she could make good money as a lap dancer,” David whispered back. “If she grinds him any faster, the captain could turn off the boat and we could just sail to the island using their momentum.”
David laughed as Maia poked him, knowing he hated that.
“Sorry baby,” he said still laughing, rubbing his side where she’d poked him.
Then there were the girls hanging off the back of the boat feeding extra cheesy Doritos from a super-sized bag to the dolphins swimming nearby. To Maia’s horror, Patrice decided to join them.
“It looks like Patrice has made some new friends,” David commented.
“I’m happy for her,” was Maia’s sarcastic response.
Suddenly, the kissing and grinding couple sprang from their seats and rushed past the girls, bumping them before clunking down the stairs to the lower deck.
“T-Pretty, see what you made me do?!” One of them called after them.
Maia shot David a look that said, ‘What did she just call him?!’
“ ‘T-Pretty?’ ” David’s body just shook with silent laughter.
The girls watched with dismay as a half a bag of extra cheesy Doritos floated into the ocean.
“Great. Giving the poor dolphin high cholesterol isn’t enough so they decided to pollute the waters also,” Maia commented dryly.
“Hey, I’ve got Pringles,” Patrice offered to Maia’s shock and horror.
“Cool, let’s get ‘em,” said the girl.
“Half-Dead! Are you up there shootin’ dice, losin’ our hard earned money?!” shrieked a voice.
Maia and David exchanged horrified glances and then looked towards the dice rolling crowd to see which one of them would answer to the name, “Half-Dead.”
Up walked a lady with a horrible red curly weave, yelling at the top of her lungs. She held herself steady against the rocking boat.
“I knew you was up here,” she yelled at a sleepy looking man who wasn’t saying too much of anything. “Which bag did you put that Imodium in? This damn boat ride makin’ me sick to my stomach!”
The group of men snickered.
“What the hell y’all laughin’ at?!” She demanded to know.
Then she turned on Maia and David. “What the hell you starin’ at?! You don’t know me like that!”
Maia shook her head and stared at the water. As much as she wanted to say something back to this female Bozo-the-Clown, like telling her that eyebrows are not supposed to meet the hairline, Maia refused to combat ignorance with ignorance.
David said shaking his head also, “Nothing, ma’am. Go on and handle that.”
“Phyllis,” admonished the one with the funny shaped head. “You don’t know them people like that!”
“So! They don’t need to be starin’ at people all up in their eye!” Then she turned on Half-Dead, her curly weave quivering angrily on her head. “Get down them stairs!” she snapped punching Half-Dead in the arm.
He climbed down the stairs with a fussing Phyllis behind him.
“Hey y’all we sorry ‘bout Phyllis,” The man with the funny shaped head said. “Sometimes she don’t know how to act.”
“Hey no problem, bruh,” David said good-naturedly.
“Hey man, I’m Lightbulb,” the man introduced himself. “Clay brother.”
“Oh hey, man,” David piped up. “We just met Clay but he seems like cool people. I’m David and this is my wife, Maia. She’s Marissa’s sister.”
Lightbulb looked from the built man to the pretty woman sitting next to him.
“You’re Maia?” Lightbulb asked her.
“That’s right,” Maia said wondering how a man by the name of ‘Lightbulb’ could possibly know her. “It’s nice to meet you.”
“Hey gurl, it’s a good thang you married to this dude ‘cause I was sure ‘nough askin’ Clay ‘bout how to get next to you!”
“You don’t even know me,” Maia said to him trying to keep the pretentiousness out of her voice.
“Don’t matter. As fine as Marissa is, I knew any sister of hers had to be fine too!” Lightbulb quickly told David, “No offense, bruh. You jus’ lucky that’s all I’m sayin’.”
“I know that,” David said giving Maia a kiss on her cheek.
“Oh this Book, Clay’s other brother, our cousins Damon and Webb. Half-Dead, our other brother just left with his loud mouth wife, Phyllis.”
“But Phyllis was right ‘bout one thing,” said the small wiry one called Book. “This water rough! What up with that?”
“It’s got to be the storm coming,” Maia said. “It makes the waters a bit choppy.”
“We gotta go down, yo,” said Damon. “I’m gettin’ sick up here.”
“It’s nice to meet you two, see you around,” said Lightbulb following his cousins and brother down the stairs.
“How are you feeling?” Maia asked David.
“I’m a little off, but I think I’ll be alright.”
“Let’s go on downstairs. You don’t feel the boat’s movement quite as much.”
They passed Clay and Marissa who were oblivious to all of the activity. The both of them were cuddled together on the seat cushions fast asleep.
“Aw David look,” Maia said softly. “They’re so tired.”
“They’d better get their rest now because it’s going to be another busy day tomorrow,” said David guiding Maia down to the lower deck.
It was pandemonium. The rough seas had made almost everyone a little green around the gills. Poor Marisol was laying her head in José’s lap trying to keep the walls of the boat from spinning. Both bathrooms were occupied. One of them had been unavailable almost since the beginning of the trip.
Lightbulb, Book, and the two cousins had their heads hanging over the railing. Obviously, the wait for the bathrooms had been a little too long. Sarah and Lily nearby witnessing the spectacle, broke into giggles at their discomfort.
“For the last time, Cloretta, we cannot pull the boat over to get food,” Maia heard Big Mama say. “And I don’t ‘wanna hear no mo’ ‘bout Pete’s hypoglycemia!”
David and Maia weaved their way between two children playing with Pokémon cards on the floor. Cousins Xavier and Tony practically knocked Maia over as they ran from the rear of the boat to the front. Apparently the rough waters did not faze them in the least.
When the couple passed Aunt Jennifer, she patted Maia’s stomach and Colin said, “Congratulations.”
Maia and David were going to have to worry about that later.
“I’m going to kill Marissa,” Maia overheard Leah, a thin attractive woman with silky shoulder-length hair, say to Beth, the short thick woman with the athletic build. “First she sweats me for money and now she’s making me sea-sick.”
“It’ll all be over with soon,” said May, an average-height cinnamon-brown woman. In fact, everything about her was average except for her long muscular legs.
“Why did we agree to stay with her?”
Maia didn’t want to hear the rest of this conversation. David gave her a sympathetic glance before passing more friends and family in search of James and Paris. They finally found them with the Robinsons. Poor Mrs. Robinson had her head between her knees.
“Mom, Dad, are you guys okay?” Maia asked.
“We’re fine for now,” said Paris as she rubbed Mrs. Robinson’s back. “Where’s Marissa?”
“She and Clay are upstairs napping.”
“Good because she doesn’t need to know about this!”
“Maia, why don’t you see if the captain has anything for motion sickness,” James suggested before resuming his conversation with Mr. Robinson, who was feeling a little queasy himself, but was determined to tough it out.
“Sure.” Maia got up and headed towards the front of the boat and knocked on the crew door.
“Do you have anything for motion sickness?” Maia asked once the captain opened the door.
“How many?” he asked.
“Everyone,” Maia responded crossing her arms.
“I only have five tablets left,” the captain said. “We used most of them on the earlier runs. That Hurricane Anissa is making the waters rough.”
“Then what do you suggest we do?” Maia asked impatiently.
“We’re going to dock in 15 minutes. You’ll be able to get something from the General Store on the island.”
“Fine,” said Maia and began to make her way back to where her parents were sitting.
She had to pass the bathroom where she thought she heard a groan of satisfaction. A second later, the door opened and the kissing and grinding couple from the top deck came spilling out laughing.
Aunt Theresa pushing them aside and ran in. Maia didn’t even bother to hide the disgust on her face. The big boobed woman looked at Maia with a satisfied expression of someone who had gotten to eat the cherry from the top of the hot fudged sundae.
Maia stormed back to her parents and to David, who had witnessed the whole thing.
“Take it easy, baby!” he soothed, trying to slow the tirade he knew his wife was about to let loose.
“This is my sister’s wedding, not a brothel!” Maia fumed. “I wish they would not carry on like that—um hold that thought.”
Maia, seeing that one of the bathrooms was free, made a mad dash to it, slammed the door shut behind her and clicked the lock in place.

You are Invited to a Destination Wedding!

It’s been eleven years in the making, but Destination Wedding is finally finished. My husband and I, actually outlined this novel in the car on the way home from a particular wedding that we attended. We wanted to know what would a wedding weekend look like where everything went wrong. We had been married ourselves a little over a year, and we faced many obstacles that led up to our big day. After witnessing a lot of drama and taking a lot of creative license, Destination Wedding practically wrote itself. A couple of months later, I was actually typing the words, “The End.” I couldn’t believe how the story came together. When I started this process, I sent my manuscript to a few publishers for consideration, but… that glaring “no” that jumped off the page of the rejection letter was like a knife to the heart. After being turned down a few times, I just put the manuscript away in a box. Back then, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I could publish Destination Wedding, but now there are self-publishing opportunities that weren’t available a short decade ago. So, after eleven years, I present to you, Destination Wedding.

So Who Needs a Job Anyway?

Sociology of Education is a class in my program that sparked much discussion and debate. Some of the points made by my classmates I agreed with, others filled me with uncertainty, and then there are times when I was like, “No. Just no.” Then when I just can’t with some of the foolishness stated, I would give the side eye. I remember one day, a particular classmate who I consider a friend, came in ranting about a food preparer who made her sandwich improperly, despite her clear instructions. I forgot how many times the sandwich had to be remade and I am uncertain as to whether my friend even got the sandwich in a manner that was enjoyable to her. All I know is that proper sandwich-making became a huge topic of discussion in that our education system has successfully destroyed students’ ability to have deductive reasoning skills and understand simple instructions. I could not help but to agree as I had already witnessed my own son’s fight against the destruction of his creativity in that he thought breaking his crayons and shoving them into the crevices between his desk in protest, would be better than being subjected to coloring some two-dimensional picture against his will. I digress though, because I actually don’t want to discuss the many and continuing flaws in our education system. I do that all year long and I’m tired. I am still thinking a lot about my friend with the bad sandwich right now as I am realizing that the number of my experiences with poor quality restaurant service continues to rise. While I agree with the points made about the current education system contributing to food preparers who cannot fix a simple sandwich, I believe that this deficit goes beyond that. I say that the system has killed a sense of pride in one’s work. With a system that discourages failure and real consequences, is there any wonder that this has all filtered into the workforce as well? I don’t know the answer to that, but I have been encountering some people who act as if they won’t ever be fired for incompetence and that there is a job around every corner.

I can’t talk about my recent restaurant fails without talking about the fact that having a two-year-old is hard without the whole, “I don’t need this job” attitude. Anyone who has had to dine with children under the age of five knows that certain things need to happen so that parents and the rest of the guests can have somewhat of a pleasant outing:
1. Get the high chair/booster seat ready (And can you clean these things because you wouldn’t believe what children actually do in them…)
2. Please seat us in some out of the way place, especially if there are options.
3. Bring out the requested crackers/bread/fruit cup like we ask before taking our drink order. No, I mean it. Put the pen and pad down and go get this baby’s order. Please.
4. Do not place drinks/hot plates/dipping sauces directly in front of little hands.
5. Don’t just stand there looking at us all crazy when the above requests are made.

Then there are the other dining issues that go way beyond the inability to make a sandwich.

1. The Reluctant Hostess – Aren’t you guys supposed to be friendly and accommodating? So United States vs. Ghana World Cup Soccer coverage is on all of the televisions in the restaurant. Therefore, the hostess should know that when we request seating near a television in a near empty restaurant, we are there for the purpose of watching the match. So why seat us the furthest from the television as possible? Was this to be purposely irritating? So much for friendly and accommodating.

2. The Channel Changer – I’m recently understanding why my husband gets really frustrated with these particular people as I am getting more into watching soccer. We’re glued to the television, loudly cheering for the US attacker who is headed for the goal, which is a clear indication that we’re watching the game. Why has the channel suddenly been changed to horse racing? Really? What ever happened to asking first?

3. The Free Refills Hoarder – Our drinks have been sitting on empty a while and our server has been to the table twice. Why hasn’t a pitcher been brought or a filled glass during these visits? Or better yet, just take the empty cups. And why do you hurry away before we can even make the request for a refill? What is so urgent? And why does it seem when you do get around to replenishing our drinks, mine gets left out? This brings me to number four:

4. The Woman Hater – This is the waitress who always makes sure that my husband’s glass is full but I have to practically submit a bill to the Congressional Committee before this chick will even come near my glass. I mean, wow.

5. The Condiments Keeper – “Can you bring some A-1 Sauce, please?” “Sure,” comes the reply. Seconds, minutes, hours, the next day passes and the juicy steak that once looked appetizing is now cold. When the server returns, it is sands A-1 sauce. But my husband’s glass gets refilled for the 8th time. Really? At this point, I give up and start eating because I’m hungry.

6. The Fry Scrimper – Why does my 9-year-old have more fries on his plate than I do, like he’s the one paying the bill and leaving the tip? Meanwhile, I have barely enough to feed myself, let alone enough to be snatched up by little fingers who cares not to know the meaning of any kind of patience. I can’t help but wonder if my fries are being eaten between the kitchen and our table…

7. The Third Time Still Ain’t the Charm Server – My actual order is a grilled chicken salad with no egg. What I get is a small salad, which requires me to do something that I hate – send my order back to the kitchen. The right sized bowl returns. With egg. Back to the kitchen it goes. The Bowl gets set down before me a third time. I see the place where the egg has been scraped off. Really? So it doesn’t matter if I happen to be allergic? I’m not, but there are principalities involved in this! So with a sigh, I box everything up to eat later at home because at this point, I just…can’t. I can no longer. I’m done.

8. The One who Gives Not One Tinker’s Darn About the Dirty Dishes – I don’t actually know who Tinker is, but I do know he didn’t care and neither do these dishwashers, table setters, or servers. Do they even see the big ol’, dried up, sticky nasty crumb stuck to the plate? And can we have a replacement within this decade? And why are we given the side eye when we request our food to be placed on dishes that are clean?

9. Mayonnaise Goes With Everything Philosopher – I hate mayonnaise. I mean really. If you put mayonnaise on my food, I will make you take it back and you better be lucky I do not make you burn the plate as well. But the mayonnaise will leave me with an attitude big time, which is why I really, really need you to hear me and pay attention when I say, “No mayo.”

10. I Don’t Know What’s On My Own Menu Server – Hey, I don’t mind that you don’t know that you have Root Beer. Just do not tell me with all certainty that you don’t have Root Beer, when I know that you do. K? Thanks.

What is really sad is that I have encountered most of these incidents within the last couple of days. I am certain that my luck is not that bad. So the only conclusion I can draw is that people aren’t willing to go that extra mile anymore. Some are not even willing to do the basics. Believe it or not, you can find that “I don’t need this job” worker in my latest book in Destination Wedding, which goes to show that art truly does imitate life.

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