Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Comes But Once A Year. Thank God! - Part 1

Why does the most "wonderful time of the year" make me so incredibly irritable? Seriously, I nearly screamed at a cashier in Michaels yesterday. Granted, I would have been justified, but still. And it's not even Black Friday yet. Although, since retailers have seen fit to move the holiday shopping season, with all it's coupons and discounts and door-buster deals, to the day after Halloween instead of Thanksgiving, all they've really done is given us a running start at being miserable.

Don't get me wrong... I love Christmas! I love the gift shopping, and the decorating, and the baking, and the music, and the gathering of family and friends which always crescendos with laughter, and the quiet moments snuggling in the light of the tree with my daughter and dog, while my husband tends to the roaring fire and we read Christmas stories. I love it all! I even love the craziness... the writing and sending of over a hundred cards, the calendar full of parties and children's concerts and Christmas pageants, the last minute forgotten gift (which, let's be honest, doesn't really happen to someone as list oriented as I, but I suppose it could happen ;-)), and even the traveling back to New Jersey on Christmas day. I LOVE IT ALL!

That's why, I hate (I'm nothing if not black and white about things) the, let's call it "crap", that goes with it. Let's start with the shopping... and remember, I reserve all my patience for my daughter so there is none left for the rest of the world (not even my husband, you hasn't spoken to me in a week without it ending in a fight; sorry babe, it's Christmastime, deal with it).

Why must there be crowds of people everywhere I go? And why is it a requirement that those people not know how to park a car, use a credit card, or talk on their cell phones at the same time as moving up two paces in a line? Why do they consistently store their coupons in the bottom of their bags, bring their sniffly-nosed need-a-nap toddlers with them (I don't blame the kids), or never sense my impending implosion as they "rethink" their purchases at the checkout.

I park at the end of the row so I don't have to search (or get my new car dinged), but sometimes, to get to the end you have to sit behind the person waiting endlessly for someone to back out by the front door. MOVE OVER! I enter a store with a list (either in hand or head), and get in and get out; I've got other things to do today people. PICK UP THE PACE! But my favorite - and my regular readers are familiar with my rant against bad parenting - has got to be the mother on the cellphone making lunch plans laughing with her girlfriend about this amazing dress she bought on sale that she didn't need and how her husband is going to go through the roof when he finds out how much she spent but how she's worth it because she hasn't been to the gym in a week because she's had to deal with her sick kid, who by the way is crying for a nap on the floor in a puddle of his own snot next to her. [Whew! That was a long one.] GO HOME & TAKE CARE OF YOUR KID!

The sales staff is just as bad. How desperate are these managers that in order to be hired as holiday staff, your only requirement is a pulse? - and I'm not even sure that's a requirement. No one knows where anything is but worse is that blank gaze you get when you ask a question that stumps them. "Ahhh, I'm not sure." "Why don't you go ask someone instead of standing here slack jawed, texting your buddy about how your job sucks?" Oh, if only I would actually say it - I might not take as much out on my husband. Then there's the cashier who never looks up to greet you, just puts your breakables, unwrapped, next to each other in the bag while she's talking to the other cashier about how her feet hurt. She mumbles the total, to which you reply that she's forgotten your coupon, she huffs, and calls a manager. The manager is always so clearly frazzled, desperately trying to get his staff to work harder, knowing the whole time it's a losing battle; you have to feel sorry for him. But then you remind yourself that he hired these people in the first place so he deserves none of your pity. PLANT A SMILE ON, DO YOUR JOB, & MOAN ABOUT IT WHEN YOU GET HOME!

Clearly, too many years in retail have left me jaded!

Next post: Coordinating the pageantry of Christmas is like staging a huge glitzy Broadway musical, but harder... because after every minute detail has been tended to, Christmas has to look completely effortless. Will she do it all and still have time to run to her stylist for a cut and color to cover the greys that popped up during her parking lot brawls? Stay tuned...

Oh, and I'll try to get back to that post I promised with that mid-20s photo. Not much to report on the exercise front since I haven't been feeling well - I have another sinus infection and this time it feels like someone punched me square in the nose. I already gave my husband grief about it, but he swears it wasn't him, getting me back in my sleep for yelling at him earlier ;-).

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! Sharing the best of ourselves is what this holiday is all about. Thank you for the privilege of letting me share a bit of myself with all of you.
My Best,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Used To Be's

I know I said I would be writing only one new post a week, but since the other wasn't my usual style, it doesn't count ;-).


I've never liked to think of my "best days being behind me". I've been proud to say that I've lived each phase of my life to it's fullest, enjoying all the highs and lows, taking that proverbial "bite out of life and letting the juices roll down my chin" attitude - well, maybe not the juice part. We all know by now how much I hate a sticky mess.

So with that said, I find myself looking back to the days when my whole life was ahead of me and many paths lay at my feet. Of course, by the same token, back then I felt the anxiety of not having a clear destination, so it's as they say "six of one, half dozen of the other". But if I take a look back to those youthful, me-centered days, I see that spark of "used to be".

Admittedly, most of it is appearance based and extremely shallow, but it's hard not to wax poetic when the days of boys forgetting their own names in your presence, are behind you. (That's not a joke, it happened more than once. Talk about an ego boost.) Now, I'm lucky if most remember my name right after I've said it.

Why am I tormenting myself with images of a bygone era? Because it might just be the best way to keep me on task. As you know, I'm attempting to get back to the body of a person I once was. Not way back then - that would be nearly impossible with 2 decades behind me. No, I'd be happy with splitting the difference; half way between then and now.

Above is a photo of me in the late 80's (check out the "wicked" spiked hair and eyeliner). Truth be told, I thought I was chubby back then - I mean, look at the baby fat on those cheeks ;-). I was a junior or senior in college; somewhere between 20 and 22. This was one of my head-shots as I prepared to take Broadway by storm. I was going to be an actress (you have to say that very deep and dramatically). I never doubted my abilities, being the young egotist that I was. I was ready for the spotlight. Oh, how reality can kick you in the butt.

Within weeks of graduation and moving back to New Jersey, I walked into a casting agency in Manhattan, secured an agent, was sent on a few screen tests, and that was it. The casting agency turned out being one of those scams where they take your money and close up shop... welcome to the Great White Way, Sweetheart! That was all I needed to tell me I wasn't made of the "stuff" to make it in this business. By the end of the summer, I had found a job in advertising that I loved and I never looked back.

What is the point of my story? When you're young you can bounce back easier. If that had happened to me today, I'd probably crawl into a hole with a block of cheese and chocolate cake and not come out except to take my daughter to and from school. But that wouldn't happen to me today because given my current self confidence, I wouldn't have even tried. I talk about the self-involved, the narcissists, the egomaniacs being the root of all evil, but in all honesty, it helps to have a smidgen of that "stuff". It cushions the blow of disappointment to be "full of yourself" once in a while.

A little bit of the girl I once was, the one that thought she was "it"... yeah, I could use some of that right now.


So far, this week has not been difficult enough, which means I haven't pushed myself as far as I should have. I'm going to have to up my game. Big words coming from a person who yesterday ate bread for the first time in a month just because she wanted it. Ugh! I've got nothing but room for improvement ;-).

In keeping with the "shame" posts, my next post with feature a photo from my mid-20's when I was in the best shape of my life and just starting to date my future husband. Since it's been downhill since I met him (physically that is), I wonder if I can blame him for my rotund mid-section ;-).

A Bit of Fiction... Or Is It?

I thought I'd try something different. Hope you like it. The same old sarcastic, ever questioning Bonnie will be back for the next post :-).


"You are a liar. You claim to be someone you're not. And yet, oddly enough, you don't claim to be more than who you are, but less.

"I suppose it's sympathy you're looking for. Perhaps pity. Maybe a friend to hold your hand and tell you everything is going to be alright. Everyone around you is pumping you up, buoying your spirits and still you sit there like a sad puppy dog, beaten down and hungry. You crave attention, Poor Pitiful Pearl. It's all too often the pompous that annoy and irritate me, but today it's the pathetic. And not because you truly are pathetic but because that's the persona you enjoy playing. How pathetic.

"I don't believe for a second that you have lived the downtrodden and sometimes demoralizing life you claim to. Your clarity of thought and educated vernacular as well as your kind heartedness are your "tell". Not to mention that you haven't been keeping track of your facts. You say something one day and then give conflicting information the next.

"But I know what you're ultimate goal is. You need an escape. A fantasy world to live in from time to time. Your own life is boring so you've created a diversion in which to play. But instead of keeping the imaginary world to your daydreams, you let it out for everyone to see it. Now what do you do. You have to be two people - the real and the fake. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive. No truer words have been spoken.

"How dare you pretend to be something you are not to play with the emotions of others.

"Do you feel a twinge of panic for having been found out? Will you continue to believe that your real identity remains hidden? Will you come to your senses and admit it was a work of fiction? I don't want to be the one to shine the light of truth on you... I want you to do it. I want you to look in the mirror, tell yourself reality may not be perfect but it's better than fabricating a plot line so twisted and flawed. Say it was all make-believe and you can live happily ever after.

"But maybe, oh just maybe, you're playing us. This was part of it all along. You've fallen down hard, and then you'll raise yourself out of the ashes. Hollywood loves a comeback kid. Oh, you are clever, aren't you.

"Wow! I concede. You've played the game well, but I still think you're nothing more than a character in your own novel. I won't play into the compassionate bystander role any longer. But I will pay for my ticket and watch the show. It's an Oscar worthy performance."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

I've Made Some Changes

Good Morning All,
The sun is finally shining after a week of clouds and rain and chilly weather that had me pulling out the winter coats and gloves.

Over night, I've had a transformation and I think I may finally have my head on straight. We are the creators of our own destiny and as such, we are the only ones who can truly light a fire under our own asses and DO SOMETHING!

So here it is, I've tweaked my blog. I added things and prettied it up to make it more interesting. Why? Well, because I've decided to only use it once a week and I want to leave you all with something pleasant to look at in between my ranting and complaining ;-).

You see, when I started this blog, I was looking for a creative outlet to express myself, but what I ultimate did (and I'm sure was my subconscious goal all along) was find a way to avoid working out. I really need to work out. The holidays are coming and with it time with my family and lots and lots of photos.

I haven't mentioned my family yet because, well, unlike with friends who don't all know each other, it would be hard to talk about family without making it too easy to determine who each one is. Not very "you know that person who..." - a very grey statement. No, they'd know right away. That is, if they even read me! But I will tell you this, these photo holidays kill me. I'm the oldest of 5 girls, I'm short, I'm fat, and they are not. They're young, and tall, and thin, and beautiful. I look ridiculous in photos next to them. Kinda like - "Who's that old lady in the picture with you guys? Is that your aunt?" It's Humiliating!

So, in an attempt to look less bad by Christmas, I've got to do something about my appearance. I know, I know... little too little, little too late, but I've got to start sometime. And that sometime is now.

Please know that I will be pining for the chance to sit down at my Mac and type away for hours. For now, I'll be replacing that sitting with sit-ups and using my fingers to hold weights instead of hitting keys. But I will be back, once a week, to purge my mind of all it's pent up frustrations and questions for the blogosphere. If only losing fat and calories were so easy ;-).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Competing Personalities - The Yin & Yang Of Me

In the spirit of the oncoming list season - shopping lists, gift lists, Christmas card lists - I thought I might write my first list post. One that shows the ongoing battle that is my brain...

  • I love to watch Food Network and read recipes, but I don't like to cook.
  • I love clean, modern lines, but my style is comfy, traditional.
  • I'm preppy pink and green to the core, but I wear black 99% of the time.
  • I love fashion, but hate to dress up.
  • I love books, but don't make reading a priority.
  • I love TV, but rarely watch.
  • I imagine myself thin while I eat cheese and cookies.
  • I'm a morning person who needs "5 more minutes".
  • I like to watch tennis, but I don't play.
  • I wish I could do a cartwheel, but I don't want to try.
  • I love the theatre, but I hate drama.
  • I love abstract art, but I rarely "get" it.
  • I love the beach, but I dislike the feeling of sand.
  • I love coastal living, but don't swim, sail, surf, or sunbathe.
  • I love a rainy day as long as I don't have to go outside.
  • I abhor rudeness, but am oft times judgmental - which is rude.
  • I love the idea of traveling, but I'm a homebody.
  • I'm outgoing, but I'm anti-social.
  • I'm short, but I've been told my personality makes me seem taller.
  • I love long hair, but I wear mine short.
  • I come from a big family, but have only one child.
  • I willingly moved out of New Jersey, but wear my Jersey girl status as a badge of honor.
  • I hate dog hair, but have a huge dog that sheds like mad.
  • I haven't had a cigarette in decades, but miss it all the time.
  • I love to learn, but hate to study.
  • I love that NYC is gritty, but hate that it's dirty.
  • I hate politics but I support many causes.
  • I secretly love Hummers, but think people who own them are asses.
  • I love a silent house, but I turn up the radio in the car.
  • I talk to acquaintances daily, but my best friends rarely.
  • I like to keep in touch, but I hate the phone.
  • I love to give surprises, but I hate to get them.
  • I hate dust, but hate to dust.
  • I love places and events that draw crowds, but I hate crowds.
  • I need to do a lot of things I don't want to, and I do a lot of things I don't need to.
Well, that seems like enough for now. I'm sure as the day progresses, I'll discover more.
Please feel free to post some of your own in the comments section. I look forward to learning I'm not the only victim of a dueling match within ;-).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I'd Like Some Consideration With A Side Of Civility Please"

On a daily basis, multiple times during the course of a day, people piss me off... oops, excuse me, irritate me.

Friends, casual acquaintances, total strangers - from the lady at the grocery store, who after being rung up says "oh wait, I have coupons" and then proceeds to clean out her purse, knowing full well there is a line of people behind her, to the friend that doesn't bother to call when she's running late and wonders why you're upset when she finally shows up an hour later.

What do these two examples have in common, you may ask? Self-absorption. That's right folks. I'm here to speak for all the people left in your wake of self involved narcissism... Get Over Yourselves! (Deep breath out.)

How many times a day do you have to put your own impatience, frustrations, and attitude in check because someone else put themselves ahead of you? The guy that cuts you off and then slows down. The mother at school who can't stop bragging about her kids long enough to see how socially awkward they really are while she suggests ways to improve on your child's upbringing. Or the family member who lovingly offers you help until you actually ask for it and then it's not convenient. Stop! Just Stop!

Is it so much to ask that we as people consider someone other than ourselves? Have we placed ourselves so high on a pedestal that we can't even see that our fellow man deserves some attention? Some consideration? And God help me for suggesting that either of those be done with a modicum of civility.

Today I was nearly struck dumb by a stranger's courtesy. It was not much more than a held door while I struggled to right my inverted umbrella in the rain and wind, but still I was amazed. Most people don't bother to hold the door as they walk through when they know you're directly behind them, much less hold the door for you when you're 10 paces back fighting with rain gear. I got my umbrella closed, threw it directly in the trash can by the door, walked in, and thanked him profusely. He just smiled and said "of course" and went on his way.

Well, there's no "of course" about it. There should be, but there's not. This random act of kindness, seemingly small and of no consequence to him, has thrown a big ol' spotlight on the fact that most interactions with the public at large are inconsiderate, impolite, and sometimes, just plain nasty. What has happened to just being nice?

Motherhood has taught me many things, not the least of which is that modeling good behavior is the best way to have well behaved children. I've gotten in the habit of saying lots of "please" and "thank you" and "have a nice day" just because I know my daughter is listening and learning. It's a fairly easy habit to get into and practice makes perfect.

The idea of being your child's own best role model is what keeps me from pulling up alongside someone who has cut me off in traffic and flipping them off. "Of course", I still have some work ahead of me... just this week, I got to the checkout lane and forgot I had coupons ;-).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Facebook - Friend Finder or "Full of Yourself" Forum

It's been just a little over a year since I was coerced into joining Facebook.

A few friends had suggested that it was "totally me" but it wasn't until my sister's wedding last October, when my cousin said, "Why don't you join FB; I can see your page now, all decorated and up-to-date. You should try it." that I finally asked, "Isn't FB for teens?"

"No it's really more for people our age looking to reconnect with old friends." she said.

"But I already talk to everyone I want to. What would be the point?" I replied.

"It's fun. Just give it a try."

I finally figured that enough people had thought this was something I'd be interested in doing to at least check it out. So I did. Yikes! I had no real idea what I was in for...

For anyone not familiar with the process, when you open a Facebook account it immediately populates your possible friend list with everyone in your email address book who currently has a FB account. I was blown away... I had no idea so many people used FB. And for what, I was about to find out. But first I had to decide how "I" would be using it.

I sent friend requests to anyone who was family - figuring it was an easy way to distribute photos. And I sent friend requests to friends I was already on a somewhat regular contact schedule with - figuring it would make catch-up easier. I did not "friend" anyone who was merely an acquaintance - mommies at school, PTA members, the owner of my favorite beach boutique (man, it seemed everyone was on FB but me). If I had ever written an email to anyone regarding whatever, and they had a FB account, here they were, popping up to be my "friend".

My plan was in place and still holds today... if you are not someone I would like to speak with on a regular basis, then I'm not interested in talking to you here. Sadly, with that mindset I wasn't going to win any popularity contests. As I watched the number of people on my friends' FB pages increase, I was determined to keep mine to a manageable amount and not wear my total number of friends like a badge of honor. My number may be small, but I keep in contact with each and every one of them.

Those first few weeks, people were coming out of the woodwork from as far back as Kindergarten to the aforementioned boutique owner. I did a great amount of "ignoring" - which for those few people not on FB, essentially means, "I don't want to be your friend". It didn't bother me any, some of these people had no right to ask for my friendship in the first place... like the mean girl from elementary school who picked on me mercilessly - are you kidding me? Happily I was able to reconnect with many old friends that through time and distance I had lost touch with, and it's been my greatest joy in this process to find them again.

With the base for my friend list in place, I began to add photos and play the games, post updates to my page on a somewhat daily basis, and post comments to my friends' post often... I was up and running. That's when I first noticed the patterns and habits of my fellow FBers.

Facebook has become, I'm unhappy to admit, a bit of an obsession with me. Just as I check my email throughout the day, so too do I check in on FB.

Each morning, I post something - my feelings on my day to come, a quote or question of the day, a piece from the news that strikes me in some way - but I try to throw things out into the FB world that will be provocative either from the point of shared experience ("I hate grocery shopping too") or the questions that plague me that I hope to gain some insight ("What can I do about mean girls in my daughter's life?").

Ultimately, my goal to make a connection, begin a discussion, talk with those people I have "friended". That's why it frustrates me to no end when I see many fellow FBers just talking about themselves with no attempt to open a dialogue. There they are, standing center stage, spotlight on them, talking... not discussing, not responding, not being a friend.

The "home" page on FB is where you will find listed all the daily musings of your friends. This is what I check throughout the day so that I can reply to friends in a meaningful way... the way I would like a conversation to go. Is it any wonder why I find it so irritating to see that someone I know, posted something out there at the same time I did without commenting on what I said but here I am replying to them? Is that selfish of me to expect to have some kind of back and forth with the people who are supposed to be my "friends"? Are we all just standing on that stage talking over each other or was the point of this connection on FB suppose to be about, oh, I don't know, connecting?

What gets me even more is that in most cases, these people don't even bother to reply to the comments posted beneath their own "status update". Are you kidding me? You threw something out into to space and someone bothered to throw it back and you're not even going to thank them for giving you back the ball. Are you so self absorbed? It's like you're just waiting for the reviews to come in on your performance which would be all well and good if you were in fact, performing for the crowd instead of talking with your "friends".

I have to get up the nerve to start blocking people I now regret having "friended".

Equally as annoying are those people who never write anything. You see them on your daily home page, accumulating friends but they never post on their page, they never reply to yours or anyone else's, but you know they are there, reading, lurking, sitting in the audience just watching the show. "Hello! I'm talking to you! Is anyone home?" Facebook makes it easy these days, you don't even have to post a comment. You can just hit "like". It's a little button that says "yes, I acknowledge you and give validity to what you are saying". All that and you don't have to come up with a witty retort. And yet, for some, it's still too much work.

My problem is not with Facebook. It gives us all the means to make those connections with people we may not get a chance to speak with face to face as often as we'd like. Through distance and circumstances we don't have those relationships with our friends that we once had. This is the ideal forum for "keeping in touch".

No, my problem is with those who abuse the privilege of friendship. It's a two way street not a stage. Don't "friend" me to add to your audience, be my friend. Which means at the very least, checking in from time to time.

I leave you with this example: I have a friend who's birthday was yesterday. She and I share a set of mutual friends on FB. As the day went on, I saw most of the regular users of FB add comments to her page with birthday wishes. One "friend" did not, but he did post 4 times to his own page suggesting he was using FB throughout the day and had ample availability to drop her a note. FB sends you a notice that a friend's birthday is coming up in the days to come. You can't miss it, it's on your home page... you know the one where other people besides yourself talk and you have to read about someone other than yourself.

Maybe he did in fact miss it. He was probably preoccupied with adding more audience members, oops, I mean "friends" to his list.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Friendship & Shoes - The Best Ones Are Comfy & Great For Any Occasion

Just the other day, my husband and I somehow got on the subject of friendship... how it's hard to make new friends as adults, how it's hard to keep old friendships with distance and family obligations and work commitments getting in the way, or how friendship is more than sharing commonality when you're a grown-up - unlike children who are best friends with the kid who happens to be next to them. In the same week as our discussion, I received a chain email from my sister-in-law.

It was entitled "Women In My Circle" and it was about finding the best in each friend instead of looking for everything in one... "the friend you go to when you have problems with your man vs. the friend you go to when you have problems with your mom". That sort of thing and it got me thinking that there is some validity to this.

When it comes to the perfect friend, the answer is to stop looking for just one and start looking for one for every need and activity - like shoes. You wouldn't wear pumps to the gym any more than you'd wear sneakers to a formal event. In the same vein, you probably wouldn't call that friend who doesn't have kids to ask any parenting advice or ask the friend who hates to shop to go with you to the mall. And if we follow this line of thought we have to assume that we too are a friend for one reason or another. I know I get calls on organizing (a by-product of OCD) and decorating (a hobby of mine) and party planning (a little bit of both), but I never gets calls on how best to lose weight or exercise. Go figure ;-)? So there you have it; I too fit the mold.

This post has me thinking about shoes and how people are like them.
[Indulge me for a moment, this may be a stretch of the imagination.]

You know those killer shoes you have that you wear on special occasions. They cost a fortune, they look amazing, and you feel great wearing them... at first, because by the end of the evening, you're cursing the day you laid eyes on them and they are causing you so much pain that you're wishing that the heel would fall off in a vane attempt to "serve them right". Now imagine that whole description (run-on sentence that it is) as a person. You know that high maintenance friend who's gorgeous and just being in her company makes you feel like one of the chosen people but after a few times you see that her beauty masks her character flaws and you just want to get out of the relationship before you start wishing something bad would happen to her to "put her in her place". Not a bad comparison if I do say so myself.

Likewise, that pair of comfy, well-worn loafers or flats or whatever it may be for you that you throw on to run out and get the mail or walk the dog, that can be dressed up or dressed down because they go with everything... the ones that cost good money, but you found them on sale, and since you wear them all the time they don't owe you a dime... the ones that are timeless and never go out of style... the ones that put a spring in your step because they mean so much to you for being your go-to shoes... now that's a true friend indeed. A friend for every situation - the good, the bad, the boring... a friend you never have to put on airs for because you are so comfortable in their company... a friendship you value for it's everlasting character which grows deeper with each shared experience... and a friend who just makes you happy to have them in your life.

There is a reason I don't like or have friendships that tend to be more work than not. It's the same reason I have so many pairs of good, comfy shoes. Real and worn is always better than fake and flashy.

Now I know, in writing this I have just dispelled my point about a friend for each reason by saying some are perfect for everything so let's see if I can't make some sense out of all this with another shoe analogy... You need the strappy stilettos. Even the best looking driving mocs aren't going to cut it for every event. And in friendship, as in shoes, different friends meet different needs; the best are worth getting to worn-in, go-to condition.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Can't Get My Act Together

Try as I might, I can't get my act together.

First it was being sick that got me off track, then it was lack of time because of too many plans and commitments, now, it's just because I've lost my focus.

It's this same foggy thought pattern that has put a halt to my blog. I just can't seem to get my head on straight.

To do lists get made, but nothing gets done. Piles are created, but only seem to grow. Hours pass so fast, I never know where the time went or what I was doing during it.

This would all make sense if I drank.

OK. I am committed to accomplishing at least 3 more things before my daughter's school day is over. What will they be? The list is endless at this point so I have my pick. I'm just hoping to check something, anything, off.

It unfortunately doesn't look like it's going to be my little blog. You need a working brain for that and apparently, I've lost mine in one of these damn piles.