An Open Letter to Lee Brice

Dear Lee Brice,

You don’t know me, but your song, “I Drive Your Truck” could have been written about me.

Since college, I have always tried to hit the open road when I’m upset. I once drove all the way from Mt. Pleasant, Michigan to Chicago in my beat up Buick Regal with my best friend because the guy I liked didn’t like me back. In more recent years, I’ve driven from the suburbs of Detroit to the northern woods of Michigan to a town called Prudenville to see one of my best friends after a fight with my brother, although if my mom is the one pushing my buttons, I drive to Birch Run (about 75 miles north of the Detroit suburbs), stop at Starbucks to use the bathroom and get something to drink, and head back again.

Driving soothes me in a way most other things can’t.

Therefore, it’s hardly surprising that after my brother Michael died, I spent a lot of time on the open road.

Sgt. Michael R. Mandley didn’t die in the war, though it can definitely be said he died because of it. He suffered from PTSD, and in the end, his coping methods got the better of him. He’d always been a sensitive little boy, not to the point where he’d be taunted on the playground or anything, but moreso in a “still waters run deep” sort of way. He wasn’t what you’d call book smart, though once he learned something, it was stuck in his head for life, and in later years, his reading habits trended towards porn and books about the Hells Angels. His sense of direction was laughable, and the fact he served the USMC in logistics was ironic, but as my grandfather once said, “He’s not the smartest guy out there, but there’s just something about him you can’t help but like.”

When Mike returned from his last deployment, that same grandfather bought him a Chevy Silverado. It had a small V-8 engine and a big enough bed to put his Harley into, and that’s all Mike wanted. He decorated it with impossible-to-remove DoD stickers, including tanks and POW/MIA stickers with the requisite USMC sticker, and a few other stickers you’d find on any self-respecting Harley riding, truck driving guy’s vehicle (yes, the silhouette of a naked woman you’re picturing right now would be accurate). He’d drive around town wearing his sleeveless leather vest with the big POW/MIA patch sewn on the back, most of the time wearing a beat to hell straw cowboy hat with an Alabama patch on the front (God knows why) or his red bandana sharing his love of country music with anyone in the vicinity.

He liked it loud.

The truck was way too big for most suburban parking lots, and his bumpers weren’t without a few dents and scratches in them, along with a decent sized dent in a rear panel. But somehow, that damn truck suited him; so much so that he managed to burn a cigarette hole into the drivers seat within a week of owning it.

A year and a half later, Michael died.

That big, white Chevy Silverado was left where he’d parked it in his apartment complex lot after we unloaded all the gifts he and his fiancee’ Mary had received at their shower held the day before he died. We went in and out of it looking for various documents and parts of his Marine Corps uniform (which he was buried in). We found his cowboy hat ( “… that dirty Braves cap sitting on the dash”), a few brown t-shirts the USMC requires underneath its uniforms ( “… and a Go Army shirt folded in the back), and believe it or not, a few “half empty bottle(s) of Gatorade rollin’ in the floorboard.” There was also a book about the Hells Angels and a copy of the book “Secrets of a Gay Marine Porn Star” written by Rich Merritt that someone thought he’d find interesting (given some of Mike’s interests, none of us so much as batted an eye when we dug it out of the passenger side door pocket).

A month later, the apartment complex called. They had rented another apartment in the building and needed us to move the truck. My mom drove me over and taking a deep breath, I hauled myself into the driver’s seat that had last been occupied by Michael. Tears were already building in my eyes, and I planned to get the heartbreaking task completed as soon as possible. It didn’t happen that way. Instead, once I turned over the engine and let it idle for a few minutes, I reached over and turned on the radio. Trace Adkin’s “Arlington” flooded the cab of that truck and I sat there sobbing (“… same ol’ country station where you left it.”). You see, given the fact that Mike was terrified of cremation and both of my parents have already decided on cremation, we weren’t sure where to bury Michael. And then it occurred to me: Michael would have wanted to be buried with his fellow Marines, soldiers, and naval men (or Squids, depending which side of the fence you’re on) and as we’re lucky enough to live less than an hour from Great Lakes National Cemetery, it became Michael’s last resting place.

I don’t get out there as much as I probably should.

And momma asked me this morning
If I’d been by your grave
But that flag and stone ain’t where I feel you anyway

I drive your truck
I roll every window down
And I burn up
Every back road in this town
I find a field, I tear it up
Til all the pain’s a cloud of dust
Yeah, sometimes I drive your truck

I’ve cussed, I’ve prayed, I’ve said goodbye
Shook my fist and asked God why
These days when I’m missing you this much

I drive your truck
I roll every window down
And I burn up
Every back road in this town
I find a field, I tear it up
Til all the pain’s a cloud of dust
Yeah, sometimes, brother sometimes

I drive your truck
I drive your truck
I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind
I drive your truck

Thank you and your song writers for a song so poignant, yet one so unbelievably real and relate-able. I may not have back country roads to burn, nor do I have the guts to tear up a field, but I can assure you, each time I drive that big ol’ truck of my brother’s, I have tears running down my face.

Many thanks,

Monique

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

One of my favorite things about summer is that everyone from Jen Lancaster to Swathmore College publish reading lists. And what’s one of my favorite (sometimes only) pastimes? Reading. So without further ado, here is a list of books I recommend or am planning to read during my summer.

  • “The Last Time I Saw Paris” by Lynn Sheene (recommended). I found this book in the Bargain Books at Barnes & Noble and began reading it in the car after I purchased it (I was waiting for my carry out dinner order). I wasn’t even halfway through Chapter One when it hooked me. The story begins in New York where socialite Claire Harris Stone is confronted with her (somewhat dirty) past in the midst of her control freak of a husband’s party for his steel company. She immediately flees New York and heads to Paris to meet up with her former lover despite whispers of an imminent war spreading through Europe. Sure enough, within a week or so of her arrival, Claire finds herself in the midst of German-occupied Paris working and living in a high end floral shop. Having no skills to speak of aside from her own street smarts and natural elegant taste, Claire emerges from being a self-absorbed socialite into someoJen Lancasterne willing to risk her life to save the ones she loves and cares about. But the question is, is it enough?
  • “The Tao of Martha” by Jen Lancaster (planning). Jen Lancaster, a woman who once convinced a homeless man to take her bag of crack rocks (wasabi peas) in exchange for his believable knock-off purse of some sort, decides to embrace her inner Martha Stewart in an attempt to get her life in order. While I admit, Jen isn’t for everyone, she’s something of a hero to me so this is a must read for me.
  • “Tara Road” by Maeve Binchy (recommended). I enjoy Maeve Binchy books, primarily because by the end of the book, the characters feel like friends (or enemies) of mine. “Tara Road” was no exception. You meet Ria and Marilyn, two women on opposite sides of The Pond, each going through a tragic transitional period in her life, end up switching homes for a summer. The book tells of how each one comes through and overcomes. One thing to keep in mind while reading this book though is that Ireland was not nearly as technologically advanced as the United States during the setting of this book (that part was brought up a lot during our book club discussion).
  • “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho (planning). Everywhere I go, I see this book. It’s not my usual cup of tea, but Jen brings it up a lot, and she lent it to Kristin, who also loved it so I broke down and bought it on my Nook one day when the price was right. Eventually I’ll get around to reading it.

Speaking of Jen and my Nook, which I brought to New York with me…. I think she was a bit dismayed to see my trashy romance novels on there, almost all of which I’m too ashamed to admit to on Goodreads.

  • “All About Lulu” by Jonathan Evison (recommended). If you’re not looking for a happy ending but perhaps looking for a book that will make you feel normal despite your chaotic life or dysfunctional family, this is the book for you. We meet a young William Miller, the vegetarian outcast in a family of body builders, whose life seemingly begins when his father remarries and his stepsister Lulu enters his life following the death of his mother. As the years go on, we realize everything is not as it seems, that the Miller family is shrouded in secrets, and that one day, maybe everything and everyone will be all right.
  • “How To Be A Woman” by Caitlin Moran (currently reading). This book is a laugh-out-loud funny explanation on how everything that makes women women also makes women feminists. While funny, it’s also though provoking and I dare you not to come up with at least one question to ask during your next girls night.
  • “Twenties Girl” by Sophie Kinsella (recommended). I will say, as addicted to retail therapy as I am, I was not a fan of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” (and not only because the calls from bill collectors hits a little close to home for me). But something about the cover and jacket of “Twenties Girl” prompted me to give Kinsella another try and I couldn’t be happier. It was a fun, light hearted read with just enough intrigue to make you want to keep reading instead of putting it down. Perfect for a sunny day at the beach.
  • “Bootstrapper: From Broke to Badass On a Northern Michigan Farm” by Mardi Jo Link (planning). It’s a true story about a divorced woman who, with the help of her three young sons, keeps (and saves from foreclosure) the century-old farmhouse she and her now ex-husband bought and finds herself in the process.

And again, because summer reading lists are the best, here’s a few you may want to look into.

And one more thing… if you have an independent book store or even a Barnes & Noble near you, give them some business. Bookstores are on the endangered species list.

“The glamour of it all! New York! America!”

~ Charlie Chaplin

Tomorrow evening, for the first time in about eight years, I’ll step onto an airplane. I’m a little anxious about this. Not because I have a fear of flying; I don’t. Rather, it’s the destination itself that’s making me anxious. After a few years of tossing the idea around, Jen and I are (finally) going to see our friend Emilie in New York. And not in Albany, Buffalo or Rochester, but New York, New York.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I’m going to NYC to take a bite out of the Big Apple with Emilie and Jen.

(Does anyone know why we call NYC “The Big Apple?”)

This is a city that panders to some of the most beautiful people in the world. Matt Damon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban, Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio…. Leonardo DiCaprio (am I the only one who thinks he’s worth a second mention?). It is the most fashionable city in North America, and the second most fashionable city in the world, according to Global Language Monitor. And when the main character of Jude Deveraux’s “Sweet Liar,” Samantha Elliot, moves to New York City, she muses that the streets of New York is where one finds “the impossible fashions you see in magazines and wonder who wears in real life being worn in real life by impossibly beautiful women.” I’m paraphrasing that by the way, but if I look hard enough at my mom’s house I could probably find a copy of the book somewhere.

And here I am. This short, at-the-larger-end-of-the-plus-size-scale plus-size woman with decent hair and a big mouth with a tendency to laugh in awkward situations.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, being a larger person sometimes makes you invisible. Or the butt of jokes. Or garners a lot of unwanted attention in a circus freak / pitying sort of way. If I wasn’t traveling with Jen, I’d be freaking out about being the person everyone watches while making my way down the aisle while they shift uncomfortably in their seats and pray they’re not the one I’m seated next to. I’m also dreading checking in and being told I need to purchase an additional seat though that’s a worse case scenario, though there is a strong possibility I’ll have to ask for a seatbelt extender.

Taylor Polka DotMy boss and I were discussing my trip on Monday and I asked him to compare NYC to Chicago. He said, “You know, New York is the kind of town you can walk down the street naked and no one is even going to notice.” Later that afternoon, I told Water Buffalo about this and I said, “But you know, if it were me, I’d be walking down one side of the street naked and everyone would be on the other side avoiding me.”

I. Am. BEYOND. terrified.

I am racking my brain trying to figure out my wardrobe. I’ve decided on a black and white palette, with red and pink thrown in but then the other questions remain. Do I wear skirts? Capris? Shorts aren’t an option as I always seem to look like a potato on toothpicks in them. Which is fine in the northern woods of Michigan or at Eastern Market on the weekends, but in New York? No. Is the dress I bought at Macy’s last summer too casual? Too bright? Is this adorable polka dot dress too prone to wrinkling? Am I going to be able to get into it or will I be bloated? But most of all, I’m worried that I’m going to look like I’m trying too hard.

Furthermore, I’m concerned I won’t be able to keep up with Emilie and Jen. I’m chugging water like it’s going out of style so as not to be dehydrated. I’m filing and scrubbing my feet to get them soft and pliable, prepping them for walking the streets of New York. I’m carefully trying to choose footwear that will be both comfortable and stylish and really, the best I can come up with at the moment is Keds. If you have any suggestions for comfy shoes, please, by all means….

And pictures… I desperately want to take them. I desperately want to be in them. I desperately don’t want to look at them because I know I’m going to be disappointed in how I look.

On the other hand, I’m thrilled to be going. I’m going to New York! Shopping capital of the country (though honestly, I don’t think I’m going to be doing much shopping). We’re going to see Cyndi Lauper’s “Kinky Boots” which just won 6 Tony Awards. We have a fabulous room at the Hilton in Midtown. We get to meet Michael, the man who chose to run beside our friend Emilie rather than try and tame her. Emilie and I get to do round two of Emmo’s Surveys!

And yet…

Mo’ Musings

Hello friends, and a good Wednesday morning to you. Welcome to “Mo’ Musings.” These are just little thoughts that randomly enter my head, guide you to what I want to share, and more. Hope you enjoy!

  • My "Aztec" earrings

    My “Aztec” earrings

    I went out with some girlfriends Saturday night. At some point, I mentioned to my friend Amanda that I still hold firm to the “no guys with hair longer than mine” rule. Wouldn’t you know it? Some guy comes over to our table with hair longer than mine and makes a comment on my “fabulous Aztec earrings” and then offers to be my sacrifice. “I would totally let you cut off my head so you could be queen” were his exact words. Still don’t know how to respond to that one.

  • Driving to work the other day and not one but two cars were parked on the road, flashers on, trunks open and both drivers out of their vehicles rifling through their trunks. So why did a woman pull up behind the two cars and begin honking her horn at them? Who gives out drivers licenses these days?
  • Avocados are on sale this week 10 for $10 at Krogers. You should use them to make Mozzarella, Tomato and Avocado Salad by ValSoCal. It’s delicious. Just one note: if you don’t eat it all in one sitting, be sure to place plastic wrap directly ON the salad to try and keep the avocados as green as possible.
  • I am also a big fan of this Avocado Feta Salad by Diethood’s Katerina. I’ve made this salad exactly as it states in the recipe, and I’ve also added ingredients and left some out; case in point, I sometimes substitute cucumbers for avocados. It’s a very adaptable salad.

    Perhaps "Breakfast At Tiffany's" while in New York?

    Perhaps “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” while in New York?

  • Gossip Girl, followed immediately by Castle, used to dominate my Monday nights. I even had my mom watching it for awhile (she does a GREAT Chuck Bass imitation by the way). But somewhere in the midst of Season 3, they lost me. I even own a few seasons on DVD but yeah, I don’t turn to them as much as I’ve turned to Sex and the City, Charmed or NCIS. So imagine my surprise when I read on Glamour’s 2nd Annual Obsessed TV Awards that Dan Humphries was actually Gossip Girl. Mind. Blown.
  • While we’re talking about teen television that I watch, I may as well admit that I love Vampire Diaries and Hart of Dixie as well, even though I haven’t watched any of this season’s shows because I don’t have cable and my CW reception is wonky at best. Other shows I watch are Elementary and Once Upon A Time. Speaking of which, Once fans… they are launching a Once Upon A Time in Wonderland version next fall. See the preview here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQr2BGyhHBQ
  • I’m going to New York next month with my friend Jen (you remember Jen, don’t you? If not, visit her guest blog here). We’re visiting our childhood friend Emilie. I bought a new camera for the occasion. Consider yourselves warned. Oh, and brace yourselves.
  • What I’m reading: “In Zanesville” by Jo Ann Beard, Lauren Willig’s “Seduction of the Crimson Rose” and “WordPress for Dummies.”
  • What I’m listening to: Melody Gardot’s “The Absence” and Gin Wigmore’s “Holy Smoke.”
  • What I’m obsessing over: the Pearl Ring from Tiffany & Co.’s Jazz Age-inspired Ziegfeld Collection. I’m considering purchasing it while in New York.

“If it’s the Psychic Network, Why Do They Need A Phone Number?”

~ Robin Williams

As many of you noticed, I took a rather long… siesta from blogging, and as I mentioned in last week’s post, I had some personal issues I’m dealing/struggling with. And we all have these issues, I know. Where you feel as if life is passing you by, or you’re going through the motions but not really living. Or, and this is my personal downfall, you feel as if your life is out of control.

Which always seems to be a Catch-22. It’s your life, and yet, you feel it’s out of your control. And if there’s one thing you should perhaps be able to control it’s your own life, right? We’re so very, very wrong. aren’t we?

A few weeks ago, I started dreaming about Hitler. I was helping Hitler pick out a new wardrobe, and I had to make sure he had dinner. It was very off-putting, dreaming about one of the most nefarious men in history, let me tell you. So is it any surprise that I Googled “Hitler dreams meaning” when I awoke.

 Adolf Hitler
To see Hitler in your dream symbolizes oppression, fear, manipulation of power, and absolute control. The dream could be brought about by a situation where you are feeling helpless or by someone who is overly controlling or is making you feel less than human.

Talk about feeling like your life is spiraling out of control, right? But there was hope out there.

A few days later, Sassy Booties and I went to a psychic fair.

Please, lower your eyebrows.

And maybe close your mouth.

Yes, you read that right. Mo went to a psychic fair.

And found out most of what I knew about myself was true, and Abbeygale Quinn is no charlatan as everything she shared with me was true. I gave her no information about myself except my name and my question so either a) she is extremely good at reading people across the table or b) she has a true gift. Of course, it can also be a wonderful combination of the two.

I’m digressing again, aren’t I?

Anyhoo….

Abbeygale told me I am a fiery ball of red and orange energy, or aura if you will, but that I’m on the fence. Apparently, my energy is so fiery I can stop a room just by walking into it if I wanted. Which she pointed out had happened. “Everyone here who is a reader stopped and looked up when you came into the room, your energy is that intense.” She then asked if I was a fire sign, to which I said no, I’m an air. “Do you happen to know your moon sign? Because I’m picking up a lot of Aries signals from you.” I shook my head again and Abbeygale suggested I Google my moon sign after our reading. Progressing with the reading, Abbeygale explained because I have been feeling lost and out of control lately, I’m in danger of letting my energy overflow into a fiery inferno, a wildfire, and hurting everyone around me whereas my natural tendency is to  be like the sun and nurture and shower love upon everyone and thing in my path. She also mentioned I had a very angry childhood (I did) and that while  I’m beginning to let go of my anger, I still sometimes feel as if people are repeatedly stabbing me in the chest if they’re criticizing me (I do).

And then Abbeygale looked at me and said, “I wish you could see just how far ahead of the curve you really are.”

She explained I have all the tools I need to succeed, but that I just need to use them. I’m in the right profession, but that my own fear of taking a leap is holding me back from success. Once I take the leap, the world will pretty much be  my oyster (my words, not hers). And she gave me a few places to start.

I did of course ask about love. First she asked me if I was upset about not being in a relationship, if it bothered me. I confirmed that it does, but only in the sense that I’m afraid I will never experience love again. With a faint smile and a nod, Abbeygale said, “Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that you’re not destined to walk the rest of your path alone; which by the way, I really dislike telling people. The bad news is that it’s not going to happen immediately. But when it happens, it’s going to be very passionate. And… stable. That’s going to be new for you, isn’t it?” I nodded with a gigantic smile on my face.

“Do you know what your problem is, what’s holding you back from a relationship?” Abbeygale asked.

“I can guess,” I said with a smile.

“You’re too smart….”

“… for my own good?”

“I’ve never told anyone that before but it sounds like this doesn’t come as any news flash to you,” Abbeygale smiled.

“Not really,” I shrugged. “My mom tells me that all the time.”

“Well, it’s true,” Abbeygale said. “Which is why it’s still going to take some time. You’ve got some things to work on before it happens.”

Abbeygale suggested I get started on grounding myself. She laughed and said, “I’d recommend meditation, but that would drive you nuts, wouldn’t it?” Seeing my nod of confirmation, Abbeygale suggested I try something martial arts related such as Tai Chi as it would keep me both occupied and teach me to quiet my mind so I can balance myself out. I also need to stop saying “I can’t” so much and begin saying “I can” lest I become a self-fulling prophecy.

Hmmmm.

And just to drive the point home, before Abbeygale moved on to her next client she said, “I wish you understood just how much you have to work with. So many people come to see me who are so messed up with no hope of ever getting to where you are right now. You have all the tools you need to become a success.”

Speaking of success, I Googled a free astrological chart while I was waiting for Sassy Booties to finish her session. And guess what? Abbeygale was right. My moon sign is Aries.

Mo Livin’ Large: Reboot

Hi there. Remember me? I’m Mo, and I write a blog called Mo Livin’ Large. I haven’t written a single. solitary. post. since November. And I’ve missed it. But there were a few things going on in my life and a lot of things going on in my head, and the combination of it all was driving me mad. So I stopped writing to fight off some inner demons, help my family with a few things, help some friends with other things, and take some time to just figure out what I want.

I’m still working on that last part, but in the meantime I’ll start writing again.

While rebooting my blog on WordPress, it seems only fitting I should tell you a bit (more) about myself. So I looked to the web and the very wide world of blogging for some “About Me” questions and found a style I liked on the site Blogger’s Wardrobe. (Though I may have added a few of my own as well). So without further adieu….

HOW DID YOU START BLOGGING?

Throughout my life, starting in high school actually, I’ve had people tell me I should write. Keeping that in mind, I went to Central Michigan University to pursue a degree in journalism and quickly discovered while I loved writing, I was really more of a human interest person rather than a news hound. I also knew it would take years for me to ever get the human interest stories and I more or less gave up on the journalism aspect of the degree and went down the marketing, advertising and public relations road instead. In the meantime, I was accumulating a variety of “truth is stranger than fiction” stories that have become my life (or that of family and friends) and one day, after my mom told me for the umpteenth time that I needed to start writing these stories down, I decided she was right and thus, Mo Livin’ Large was born.

WHAT’S YOUR GOAL WITH YOUR BLOG AND BLOGGING?

At first, I had intended Mo Livin’ Large to be about my life as a plus size woman, but then I realized how narrow the scope was for me. And my readers seem to like my stories about dating or my tales of a working girl, so Mo Livin’ Large has become more of a catchall blog about my life and how I’m getting through it, or at least trying to get through it.

WHAT OTHER BLOGS DO YOU READ?

I read a lot of cooking blogs including Visions of Sugar Plum, How Sweet It Is, and Skinny Taste. I especially love Jessica’s Tuesday Things where she writes quick blurbs about what’s going through her head and shares things she finds online on How Sweet It Is. I also enjoy CeCe’s blog, The Big Girl Blog, where she writes about being a PSP (Plus-Sized Princess). Truthfully, there are so many wonderful blogs out there that I can’t keep track of them all, but I do intend to start an ongoing Blog Roll of all my favorites soon.

YOUR BLOG – IS IT BUSINESS OR PURE FUN?

It’s pure fun for the moment. If I can be discovered like Jen Lancaster’s Jennsylvania it’d be a dream come true.

WHAT DO YOU WRITE ABOUT THE MOST AND WHY?

I think the two things I write about most are dating and self image. The two go mostly hand in hand when you think about it. And I recently made the not so startling discovery that my self image takes a nasty hit each and every time I decide to start dating (or trying to) again. So you can see certain trends in my blogging habits when you look closely enough. As for the why…. I cannot (cannot, not will not) specifically say why I write what I do except that every post is something I either want to share or get off my chest, or it’s something I think readers will find funny or relate-able. And so far, this non-scientific/mathematical format seems to be working for me.

WHAT DO YOU READ ASIDE FROM BLOGS?

Very early on, my family instilled within me a deep love of books. I have my original copy of “Anne of Green Gables” inscribed for me by my grandmother as well as my copy of “Little Women” that came from my aunt. I’ve read and forgotten more books than the average person reads in a lifetime, and when I loan out books, I hope they provide many many people the adventures or laughs or thoughts they’ve provided me with. That being said, my favorite authors include Pat Conroy, James Patterson, Meg Cabot and Jen Lancaster. I’m also a fan of the “Pink Carnation” series as well as “The Outlander” series.

And I have subscriptions to about six different magazines right now, too.

DO YOU READ TRADITIONAL BOOKS OR ARE YOU AN E-READER?

Both. I love my Nook, but sometimes the books can be a bit expensive. I’m also a Barnes & Noble member, so I get a discount and coupons there. And I’ve recently discovered http://www.thriftbooks.com so I buy a lot from there, too. But my biggest regret about the Nook is that I can’t give my dad or friends without an e-reader or tablet a book I’d think they’d enjoy.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BOOKS YOU’VE READ THAT YOU’D RECOMMEND?

I enjoy James Patterson’s “Women’s Murder Club” series immensely so I recommend it a lot. Jen Lancaster is a favorite of mine, but she’s not for everyone. That being said, if you’re going to try her on for size, start with “Bitter Is the New Black.” Gillian Flynn’s “Gone Girl” is one of those I recommend to everyone (and even got it as a Christmas present for my grandfather, though he didn’t have a chance to read it before he died). “Lords of Discipline” by Pat Conroy was assigned in my high school novel class, and I’ve been hooked ever since. As far as light and fluffy go, I recommend anything by Meg Cabot, specifically her “Boy Meets Girl” series or her Heather Wells series, and a friend recently introduced me to a rather lighthearted historical mystery series by Lauren Willig called “The Secret of the Pink Carnation.”

WHAT ELSE DO YOU RECOMMEND?

As far as things to try or places to go or any of that that I haven’t mentioned here or in my past posts? Keep reading my blog to find out. I’ve come across some great shopping sites, CDs, recipes, and so much more the past few months it’s crazy. And I plan to share it all.😉

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR DREAM COME TRUE?

To win the lotto, buy a huge condo in Chicago, a lakefront property in Northern Michigan, meet Prince Charming, have great sex, be a successful writer and live happily ever after.

“Have no fear of perfection — you’ll never reach it.”

~ Salvador Dali

A few months ago, I swiped my friend Kristyn’s Facebook post from her KP Designs page: “PERFECTION IS BORING: True or False?” And ladies, y’all have some great opinions on this.

My friend Ann whom if I remember this correctly is married to a Chef (at the very least, she brags constantly about his cooking), thinks that perfection can only be found in food.

Perceived perfection is boring and bullshit. Unless, of course, you are talking about food. As for people….perfection and beauty is not found in an Instagram, a vial of Botox, or endless hours at the gym. Boring! In fact, perfection may not exist…..again, unless you are talking about food! ~ Ann

Dorothy posted that “perfection is oh so annoying and oh so unattainable. So yes, a bit boring.” I can’t help but think of Melville’s Moby Dick in this case. Captain Ahab chasing after Moby Dick to exact revenge for not only destroying Ahab’s previous boat, but causing him to lose his leg as well. To kill the whale would indeed be perfection according to Captain Ahab, who would “strike the sun if it insulted me.” And yet, in his pursuit to exact the perfect revenge, Captain Ahab… well, my dad, one of the world’s few Melville fans I’m sure, sums it up perfectly: Everyone dies but Ish and the Fish.

Kanye West’s mother also died in her pursuit of perfection. If you don’t remember the 2010 story, Donda West died of complications following cosmetic surgery. She had first been refused by a doctor because he recognized Ms. West as having a heart condition that would put her at risk of a heart attack if she underwent the tummy tuck and breast reduction surgery she wanted. He instead referred her to a cardiac surgeon, but Ms. West instead went to another plastic surgeon who performed the surgeries she wanted and the unfortunate cost of perfection for Donda West was her life. According to Wikipedia: “The final coroner’s report January 10, 2008 concluded that Donda West died of ‘coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty.'”

How do we reach a point where the best case scenario outcome of a voluntary cosmetic surgery, the achievement of perfection, outweighs the very real consequence of death? Whose vision of perfection are we trying to fulfill? Our own or someone else’s?

I think perfection is in the eye of the beholder! And it is more about perspective. I feel my life is perfect…..for me. An outsider would surely think not!! And I do NOT believe my life is boring in the least
bit – if it was it wouldn’t be perfect!!!!
~ Becky

Becky’s response got three thumbs up. It’s a very simplistic answer to the question, and yet it really only begins to scratch the surface of a possible answer. For Kim, pondering the question led to more
questions and less answers.

Interesting thought to ponder Mo… Is perfection even definable in reality? Since no one is perfect, is it possible to honestly answer the question of whether or not it is boring? I am in awe of the concept of perfection…since it’s something you can consistently strive for, but never attain. I couldn’t label an ideal that continuously encourages you to strive to be better tomorrow than you are today as boring. ~ Kim

But what makes us better tomorrow than we were today? Does the answer lie in Wendy’s response?

I don’t think perfection would be boring. That is if everyone was perfect. I think it would be cool to always know the right things to say, never hurt anyone or get hurt, always make the right decisions, never fail and never be disappointed, ripped off, beat up or scared. You’d be free to just have fun and not worry about anything because nothing would ever go wrong. There’d be no stress. ~ Wendy

Wendy’s answer immediately reminded me of the movie Pleasantville. Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are the present day children of single mom Jane Kaczmarek; Maguire is the quiet bookish sort who longs for the way of life presented on his favorite “Nick At Night” television show Pleasantville while Witherspoon is the rebellious natured wild child. “Divine” intervention leads both Maguire and Witherspoon to land right smack dab in the middle of Pleasantville. As the movie’s tagline says, “Nothing is as simple as black and white.”

My answer is very much in line with my cousin Kristyn’s (and by the way, Kristyn and I are cousins by choice, not blood thank you very much, so don’t blame genetics for our similiar thinking).

I guess the definition of perfection is definitely the question. However, I find myself appreciating life’s little imperfections. I like a plan B, something unscripted. SO WHAT if my plan didn’t go EXACTLY as it was on my list, was the end result successful! Am I happy? Did I make someone else happy? Those things should define perfection… Yes, perfection is defined by perspective so all levels of perfection are different. I am referring to those who strive to be “perfect” the perfect mom, the perfect dad, the perfect friend, the perfect artist, the perfect baker, the perfect human being. I believe in our quest for being perfect we may miss out on certain things that really should be appreciated. There is nothing wrong with a hair out of place once in a while. Our kids should get dirty, explore and enjoy life. Our decorations do not have to be symmetrical or be matchy-matchy – we can throw in a splash of color to add interest, and YES putting some kind of quirky piece is ok, put it off center to add an element of surprize. I find walking into a room that is “perfectly” clean, organized, designed symmetrically, monochromatically – and I think, although it’s nice, it’s boring (TO ME). Where’s the life? I’m all for being the best YOU you can be, but there is no perfect or even right way to do things all the time. I just cannot relate to those who strive for perfection in all
aspects of their life. I think they will be sadly disappointed, forever and miss out on so much
. ~ Kristyn

The answers to this question vary just as much as the individual women do. Knowing my readers the way I’d like to think I do, this post will follow you much of the day as you ponder what exactly perfection may be and whether or not it’s boring. And as you think about perfection and what may or may not be perfect to you, think of your own reaction to it. Whereas Kristyn and I both think that an “overly designed” house is completely boring, what would your reaction be to it? What would your reaction be if you ran into Beyonce’, who was voted People‘s Magazine 2012 World’s Most Beautiful Woman?

And here’s where Megan’s answer comes in handy and give us something not only to chuckle over, but to ponder.

I like to think that perfection is boring, and to quote BNL ‘Anyone perfect must be lying.’ Isn’t it true that when we find someone to be so called perfect we will do anything and everything to find their one fault…I know I am not the only one. ~ Megan