A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
These girls are the daughters of grandson Daniel and wife Carly. Top, Elise. Next, Sadie. Bottom, Camille. You can tell they are not used to posing. I thought these photos were too good to let languish on my hard drive.
The Fourth of July is best known and best remembered as a day of parades with horses and bands and colored bunting and flags. Then we remember the barbecues and the picnics and the hot dogs and the hamburgers and the potato salad and the lemonade. The night is brightly and loudly lit with fireworks and explosions. We eat too much, we celebrate, and we all love the 4th of July.
Our task today, however, is to make the 4th of July more meaningful and important in our lives. We take so much for granted in our country, in our lives, that we often pay relatively little attention to our responsibilities in this wonderful democracy in which we live. Here are three ways that we can make a lasting contribution to our country:
Vote. How can we appreciate living in our democracy and then not live up to our responsibility to vote? Yet we are all to quick to complain and remain bitter about what the people who are elected have done and are doing or perhaps not doing. If the flag tells us anything, it tells us that we have responsibilities in our democracy and one of the first and most important responsibilities is to vote. Our chosen candidate may not win, but at least we can feel that we lived up to our basic obligation to vote.
Be informed. Though our responsibility is to vote, we must vote only after we gain enough knowledge and information so that we can vote wisely. We must not cast our vote just because we hate the opposite political party or candidate or because someone on cable news or our uncle told us to vote for this or that person or this or that referendum. A democracy cannot function well in ignorance and with choices made by bias or prejudice.
Participate in our democracy. Volunteer for chores to help with elections, campaigns, fund drives, local government chores, community beautification and cleanup, school functions, charitable drives, soup kitchens, food drives, help in hospitals and nursing homes, or any of countless other possibilities. We were not meant to be passive bystanders in our democracy.
Today we fly the stars and stripes and enjoy our picnics. Monday morning the main traffic artery in the south Salt Lake UT valley visible from my back window will once more be filled with cars at 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. and after with people going to work, making it possible for all of us to have the necessities of life and to enjoy our daily existence. Today, however, a few moments of reflection on the 4th of July reminds us that we all have obligations and responsibilities to contribute to the country we live in. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
The Fourth of July has always and forever been a special day on our annual calendar of days. I remember the 4th when I was young and I was given the task of carrying our precious watermelon out to the car. I stumbled and dropped it and it smashed into a million pieces. I was crestfallen. We never saw a watermelon more than once or twice a year and now it was gone for our 4th of July outing in a time when hard and constant work made any outing a rare and precious event.
Today is a perfect day to express our thanks, either silent or vocal or written, for the democracy we are privileged to live in. Democracy is government of the people. And people can be a contentious lot, unpredictable, some informed and knowledgeable and others uninformed and biased, some competent leaders and others error-prone and stumbling. But our democracy, with all of its flaws and wonders and blessings is our democracy. We are the democracy in all of our differences, all of our disagreements and agreements, all of our rules and laws and regulations, and all of our imperfections and mistakes and successes. We are the democracy. And if we want to improve our democracy, it is up to us to do it.
Today is a good day to put our prejudices and negative feelings aside for a few hours and give thanks to those who make our life in this democracy possible. We thank the service men and women who since the dawn of our country have risked life and limb and lifelong disabilities to protect the country they so bravely protected. We thank the participants in our legislative process at the federal, state, county, and local levels. However much we disagree with what they have done or haven't done, we elected them and it is up to us to make whatever changes we feel need to be made. We thank the police, the firefighters, the emergency medical technicians and ambulance drivers, the hospital workers, the street paving crews, the electrical repairmen after the storms, the park rangers, the air traffic controllers, the janitors who make the world clean and habitable, the taxi drivers. We thank those who teach our children and who keep us learning through college and beyond. We thank those who keep the wheels of federal, local and state government running and who try to fix the potholes in the streets as soon as they can.
We are indebted to all those who keep our complex network of transportation facilities running smoothly, those who manage the airports and terminals, those who fly and service the planes, those who pilot the boats and the barges and the tugboats, those who keep the double and triple-trailer semi-trucks moving with cargo needed in our daily lives, those who load and unload, those who run the trains and subways and other commuter facilities, those who repair and fix and inspect to keep us safe, those who pilot the ocean going freighters and tankers, those who pick our strawberries and apples and everything that grows, those who plant and sow and harvest with no guarantee that Mother Nature will protect their crops and their harvests, those who dig our sewer lines and repair our water mains. We thank those who build our houses and tall office buildings and sod our lawns. We appreciate those who spend their nights stocking the shelves of the monster big-box stores, grocery stores, and department stores so that we can walk in each morning and, miracle of miracles, we would never begin to know how much work was needed to have the store look as if somehow everything we can see got where it is automatically.
We thank the doctors who try to help keep us well and the nurses and physicians assistants and lab technicians and the pharmacists who man the pill bottles and dispense our magic cures. We thank the dentists who fix our teeth and repair our crowns when they fall off and perform wondrous root canals. We like the lawyer who does our wills and legal work and the financial adviser who manages our funds since they are both sons of ours. Thanks to the bankers, the tellers, the internet marketers, the myriad of people who man phone banks for a thousand different reasons. And we must acknowledge the fast food emporiums, the auto service people, the dry cleaners, the newspaper and television personnel, and each and every other worker and specialist who plays a role in keeping our complex economy and in our daily lives.
Above all we thank those who raised us and we acknowledge our indebtedness to our families and friends and neighbors. We are grateful for our heritage and for all of the hard work and sacrifice by so many people who contributed to our upbringing and who continue to contribute in so many ways to our daily existence.
So when we see the flag on this Fourth of July, we see along with the beautiful flag the hidden countless people who play a role in our daily lives and we express our thanks to all of them. And finally, we express our gratitude for living in this great and wonderful and complex and some times irritating and confusing country. But nowhere on earth could we have the blessings that we enjoy as citizens in this great land. Happy Fourth of July.
We continue the emphasis on following simple rules to make small changes. Systematically following simple rules that begin with making small changes eventually leads to more important changes as we begin to reap the benefits over time of following even a few simple rules.
Our task today is to begin to follow three simple rules that will help us lose weight by eating less, as follows:
Take smaller portions to begin with. I mentioned earlier the story from the memoirs of Julie Andrews who wrote about her dilemma when someone told her she was getting "broad of beam." The solution? Ms. Andrews was advised to cut her food portions in half. She followed this advice and lost the weight that had plagued her.
Use smaller dishes. If you use a smaller plate, you won't be able to load up your dish with so much food.
Leave some food on your plate or in your bowl. We are not required to eat all of the food placed in front of us. We are aware that we should not waste food and that many people go hungry. Yet eating everything on our plate or on our dish may be counterproductive in helping us lose weight. If we find that we are full before our plate is empty, leave the food. Then, to avoid wasting food, take smaller portions next time and then you won't have to worry about wasting food.
Eating less is a simple rule. We can each think about this simple rule and come up with our own set of guidelines and related simple rules that will help us follow this rule and achieve our desired weight loss results. As we adopt these simple rules, we find that following them becomes easier over time. As the beneficial effects of the simple rules become evident, we become reluctant to break these simple rules and ruin the benefits that we are achieving by eating less.
In keeping with the theme of simplicity in following simple rules, the Curmudgeonly Professor is running out of words today. Having said what needs to be said, we are through discussing today's task. The rest is up to you. Think about the basic simple rule of eating less. Imprint it on your mind, on your daily habits and actions. Then expand the above list and follow your own set of simple rules. You will be amazed at the results. Good luck, and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
One way to start making small changes is to amass reams and volumes of information. When I first encountered my weight problem several decades ago, I accumulated a library of diet and food books. I read bits and pieces at random but never bothered to digest much information. I had too much information and I was overwhelmed with the amount of new material I thought I needed to learn. I don't want to demean the value of information. As we progress in achieving our goals, we can acquire new information piece by piece and absorb it in a way that will be of value to us. At the start, however, we need to take baby steps, keep the training wheels on our bicycle, and follow a few simple rules.
You can come up with a few simple rules for whatever change you want to make. I'll start here with a few simple rules for weight loss, some of which we have already covered in our first 181 tasks:
Drink more water.
Eat less sugar.
Reduce sodium intake.
Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Skip fast food.
Think twice, or maybe three times, before you eat or drink something you know will defeat your weight-loss goal.
Learn to prepare and cook healthier meals at home.
Eat what you want to eat, just eat very little of it.
You can add to this list. You can write your own simple rules for whatever you want to accomplish.
Basically, we all know what we are supposed to do to control our weight and eat a healthier diet. For some reason, as I know all too well from my personal experience, we just haven't done what we know we should do. By imprinting a few simple rules on our brain, we can repeat them often enough so they will nag the daylights out of us if we even remotely think we are going to drink another can of soda, take a second or third helping, or eat something with a frightening load of deep fried fat larded onto the surface. If you think your mother nagged you to clean up your disgustingly messy room, you haven't seen nagging yet. Once you get started with a few simple rules, these rules will absolutely shout at you and tell you to mind your p's and q's. I looked up p's and q's the other day on Google to see what they mean. You can look them up also if you really want to know.
I know that simple and easy rules work, especially at the beginning. As we progress, we need to learn more about the different foods, fats, proteins, and carbohydrates that make up a healthy diet. We need to make sure we are balancing our diet with the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and nutrients that comprise a healthy diet. As we begin to lose weight, we become more curious about learning about food and eating. Even if you consider yourself to be at a normal weight, you can undoubtedly gain from learning more information about food, cooking, eating, and the effects of what we feed ourselves on our general health and well being.
My personal story about weight loss began with accumulating a library of information that overwhelmed me. I joined Weight Watchers for several years. I love Weight Watchers and, from what I have been able to learn, Weight Watchers rates consistently among the best weight-loss groups. What I gave up on was counting points and calories. I didn't want to make the effort to do a lot of complicated bookkeeping and number tabulating. Eventually, no matter which method of weight loss we adopt, we need to be aware of our daily caloric intake one way or another. If you don't want to keep track of your calories, your scales will keep track for you. If you are gaining pounds, or if you are not losing weight, you are eating too much. Period. The scales do not lie. Do not argue with them. Just cut back on the amount you eat.
What has worked well for me in dropping from 315 pounds to 265 pounds on the morning scales was following my simple rules. Once I adopted the "eat less" motto, eating less became almost automatic over time. Once I stopped drinking soda, once I paid more attention to sodium and sugar content of foods and drinks, once I used my head rather than following the seductive temptations of snacks, crackers, cookies, goodies, second helpings, fast foods, candy and a few other items largely eliminated from our pantry and kitchen cupboards, weight loss became continuous and automatic.
The big red Coca Cola semi-trucks go rolling down the street a short distance from where I live. The Fourth of July weekend will be a monster weekend for soda, chips, dips, sodium, sugar, fat, and all of the other wonderfully tasty treats that have kept us fat for thirty years. The grocery stores have loaded long aisles with chips, drinks, cookies, candy, and everything else that tempts us. But do you know what? After losing 50 pounds my temptation level has withered away and almost croaked. At long last I can order the next lower sized pants and belt. I am not as tired, have less fatigue, and I am more able to do the household chores I need to do. I wouldn't trade any of these benefits for indulging in everything I shouldn't eat. My main task will be to maintain my weight once I finish losing another 40 to 50 pounds.
For now, Task number 182 is to follow a few simple and well chosen rules. These few simple rules then become a mantra so that, when repeated continually, become so firmly imprinted on our brain that we automatically follow the admonitions of these simple rules. And then we have turned the corner and our lives will take a turn for the better. Keep trying, adopt a few simple rules, and good luck. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
Today is July 1 2015. Exactly one half of the year 2015 has vanished into history. We now have six months left to see how much we can accomplish before the end of the year. We may think that 180 tasks which have been listed so far in our 2015 Do List are far too many tasks to consider. We may also think that another 185 tasks to finish out the year are multiplying an already impossible list. Well, the Curmudgeonly Professor will let you in on a little secret: There is really only one task and that one task encompasses all other tasks. The one single task of greatest importance is this one: Make smart choices.
Every day we make numerous and continuous choices. We may not even be aware of many of the choices that we make because we have chosen to live today largely as we have lived every other day. In this case, the choices we make are automatic. We are simply choosing to make no changes in what we are doing. Instead, we are choosing, by habit or otherwise, to continue in the same mold that has guided our previous days and our previous choices.
Yet, if we are serious about making changes, about being somewhere different on January 1 2016, on fixing and improving some aspects of our lives, then it is time to start thinking seriously about making smart choices instead of repeating yesterday's choices that may not have gotten us anywhere. So now it is time to concentrate on making smart choices. In fact, we can adopt the motto "Make Smart Choices" as our motto and our guide to evaluating what we do and the effects of the choices that we make.
Let's say we start out the day with the idea that we want to make smart choices today. Some actions and activities require little thought because we are creatures of habit. Yet, we might pause for a moment for many other choices that we make throughout the day and ask ourselves the following questions:
Will this choice bring the result that I want to attain?
Will this choice keep me from achieving my goal?
If this choice takes me away from what I want to accomplish, how long will it take me to correct my mistake?
What is keeping me from making the choice with the most favorable probable results?
Why am I thinking about deviating from making a smart choice?
How will I feel if I make a really dumb choice?
What do I want to write in my journal at the end of the day about today's accomplishments and today's mistakes?
What are the pluses and minuses, the costs and the benefits, of making this choice?
What am I giving up if I make this choice?
Which choice will make me feel best afterward, making the smart choice or giving in to the dumb choice?
You can practice your choices by either asking yourself these questions or compiling a similar list of questions for yourself. The key is to take a few moments to consider the consequences of a choice, even a simple and basic choice. As you think about these consequences, you become more likely to strengthen your resolve to continue along the correct path, to make the smart choice. In retrospect, when we make smart choices, we don't kick ourselves afterward, we don't weep and wail and whine about our regrets for being so blind at the moment that we blundered into another bad choice.
At the end of the day, we can be proud of ourselves if we made the smart choices. We are more likely to have lost another pound of weight if we chose the right foods and drinks. We will feel healthier and have more energy if we moved around as much as possible instead of choosing to be a couch potato and sit like a prisoner at our desk or in our cubicle during the mandatory daily incarceration on our jobs. We will feel more challenged and inspired to do a better job if we made choices that allowed us to learn more, to gain more skills, and to look for new and challenging horizons. We can feel uplifted if we chose to help others, to show kindness to those with whom we worked or met, and shared our own resources with others who may need some help.
And so it goes: We have one task. That task is to make smart choices. Paste that motto in a dozen different places. Recite that motto to yourself frequently throughout the day until it becomes a part of your routine just like brushing your teeth or going to work. Once you have made the motto of making smart choices a part of your daily life, we can then start elaborating on how we can make the most basic and the most helpful and long-lasting beneficial smart choices. So go to work. Make the best of the second half of this year. Look forward to having a list of proud accomplishments to write about at the end of the year. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
It is one thing to be filled with enthusiasm over one or more tasks that you plan to accomplish during the next six months, but it is entirely something different to actually begin (I read somewhere today that it's o.k. to split an occasional infinitive, so don't email me about my bad grammar) the task or tasks you have identified and then continue to make progress in achieving your goals. The gap between knowing we need or want to do something and actually doing what we thought we were going to do is the gap of doom. The gap of doom is where good intentions die and go permanently to rest.
The gap of doom reminds me of the treacherous road on the south Hana highway on the island of Maui where our bus driver stopped for a minute after rattling our insides into total mush on the roughest road we had ever traveled on and then pointed out a vehicle that had met its doom on the narrow and dangerous road and rested permanently at the bottom of the ravine.
If we have identified some things we want to accomplish during the next six months, we do not want to make the mistake of running off the road and over the edge and then plunge into the depths below as one doomed driver did on the Hana road. If you are like I am, we have made the mistake of letting good intentions wither away and vanish far too many times. Now our task is to navigate from our resolutions and planned tasks into the process of actually doing the work and taking the steps to complete what we start to do.
One way to make sure we not only get a start on fulfilling our good intentions but also that we stay in gear and don't fizzle out a few days or weeks down the road is to set an agenda. One of the inescapable and, for me at least, time-wasting chores of spending decades in academia was attendance at what was gloriously named "The Faculty Meeting." Faculty meetings gave those loquacious and verbally eloquent faculty members opportunities to opine and pontificate their advanced intellectual conclusions and recommendations. Most of the rest of us just yawned and hoped that the Dean or department head had duly noted our faithful attendance. Meanwhile, the hydraulic hand raisers, as I called them, meaning the faculty members who could always be counted on to raise their hands and share their wisdom, kept the meeting going until the end.
I almost forgot where I was going with the previous story. My readers must realize that after teaching for 45 years I learned every side road I could go down to fill out the lecture and class period and I fear that propensity is sidetracking me here. Where I was going with the story of the faculty meeting was to point out the importance of having an agenda. An agenda is a plan for what we are going to do. A written agenda then becomes a written contract, in effect, to ensure that we will actually do what we said or thought we were going to do.
If you are a foot dragging and stubborn convert to making small changes, write out a list of at least one thing you are going to do today that will contribute to the fulfillment of your goal or goals. Not only think about what you are going to do, but make a note or two about how, just exactly, and without quibbling, you are actually going to do it. Then write an agenda for the week to follow. Identify one or two tasks each day that will get you where you want to go. Keep this agenda in your shirt pocket or purse and refer to it throughout the day in case you have a short memory span and would rather think about something more fun and entertaining than tackling a long-delayed goal.
Tomorrow is the first of July. Tomorrow is the first day of the last six months of the year 2015. July 1 is the day that we have yet to write about in our journal. What will we write about on the evening of July 1? Will we be able to say that we saw the light, lit a fire under our stubborn selves, and achieved something that could be the beginning of a landmark week or month, or will we waste another evening doing nothing worthwhile? At least until football season starts. Then watching football is definitely important and worthwhile. Tomorrow we go to work, so get serious.
Task number 180: Set Your Agenda. And then stick to it. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
One more day and the first six months of the year 2015 is history. Whatever we did accomplish, whatever we didn't get around to doing, whatever we procrastinated doing, all of those tasks and chores have vanished into the calendar pages we turned over or tore off and then forgot about. Now, however, we have a new lease on life. We have a brand-new period of time handed to us on a silver platter. We have the gift of all of the days in the six months to follow that are just like unopened Christmas presents tied with bright ribbons and colorful wrappings. As we open these packages, one for each day of the next six months, what will we find? More important, how will we use the miraculous gift of another 26 weeks, more or less, as we finish out the year 2015?
If you are like me, you likely had many good intentions on January 1 2015. After another Christmas and another New Year's celebration, we were all ready to conquer the world. We were going to lose weight, to correct our faults, if any, tackle chores and tasks long ignored, and live happily through the entire new year. So then, where did the first six months of the year go? And how much did we accomplish?
The most constructive way to view today, tomorrow, and the remainder of the year, not to mention the days and years to follow, is to put the past behind us. We can continue to make progress on whatever changes we started, whatever projects we initiated. And we can correct any errors we might have made along the way and fix any mistakes that need fixed before we move on. Otherwise, our focus must be on the future, beginning July 1 and on each and every day thereafter.
Yesterday's post emphasized the importance of making lists of tasks we need or want to do and then assigning some probability that we would actually accomplish any of them. I disposed of a number of personal tasks that, no matter how much they might need to be done, had little possibility of being considered in the remainder of the year. Now I will stick my neck out and list some chores and tasks that I actually, really, truly, intend to tackle and at least make substantive progress on during the months to come. If anyone is still following me in January, I will give you my report card. Meanwhile, you will get a periodic update. As you read my list, make out your own list of chores and tasks that you will promise to think about each and every day until you make some progress toward completing them.
Here is the Curmudgeonly Professor's Do List for the period July 1-December 31 2015:
Write another 185 do list tasks. I don't know where I will get another 185 tasks from. I don't know how far I can stretch my imagination. But I am committed to do it even if I have to recite scripture for part of the list, analyze my faults and imperfections, which could take a month or more, and write assignments in economic analysis. One way or another, we will get it done.
Become a better photographer. I need to master the technical details of my wonderful Canon 7D camera and quit taking the easy way out on automatic settings. I might actually read the camera manual.
Continue posting about 10 photos every day on my blog, which amounts to nearly 4,000 new photos posted for the year.
Clean up and sort out my thousands of photographs, deleting countless duplicates and saving only the best.
Print new large photo prints to hang on our walls. We are tired of the photos we have been looking at now for several years. Since I have a few thousand to choose from, we might as well look at some new pictures.
Read more books. I was always a reader. However, in recent years, between getting dinged with a health issue or two and spending so much time on my blog and photographs, my reading has fallen off. I need to get back with a reading program. I have over 1,000 books on my iPad for starters.
Become a better cook. I have had to take over most of the cooking the last several years and I really work at learning to cook a variety of new things but once in awhile I bomb and then my wife graciously tells me even then how good dinner is. Bless her. Pinterest is a big help, and I rely on websites like Mel's Kitchen Cafe and a half dozen others for new ideas and recipes I actually might be able to make. Until the past three years, my cooking consisted of opening cans of pork and beans and Campbell's soup during college while all the rich kids were eating sumptuous fare at the college cafeteria. Who knew there was so much to learn.
Lose another 25 pounds. After failing for years to lose weight, I am finally on the right track and have lost nearly 50 pounds. Losing a total of 75 pounds won't quite get me where I want to go, but think of the benefits: less hypertension and heart failure risk, greater mobility, fewer medications, possibly, less diabetes risk, and on and on. Which goes to show you that losing weight isn't just reducing pounds; rather, losing weight links us to a whole bushel of benefits.
Write more. Unfortunately, I haven't followed through on my writing. I wrote three volumes of personal history that got me up to age 20. Now I need to do something about the last 63 years.
Keep journals: daily photo journal, and food and eating journal.
Actually, truly, finally, become a better housekeeper and chore doer. Somewhere along the line I didn't learn how to fix anything, I never read instruction manuals, and I postponed every chore I could possibly postpone. If only I had taken home economics instead of vocational agriculture in high school.
Well, maybe I can accomplish three or four of these tasks. Or maybe I can whittle away a little bit on a half dozen or more of them. But I have every intention of doing the very best I can do to get as much accomplished as I can possibly get done by January 1 2016. Then I won't have anything to do in the year 2016 and I will just watch Netflix old movies, read emails, and go to Costco once in awhile for another rotisserie chicken.
Good luck with your own To Do List for the remainder of the year 2015. If you take the assignment seriously, if I take my own assignment seriously, perhaps together we can make the next six months a landmark period in our lives that we will look back on with a smile and wonder how we achieved as much as we did. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
As we get ready to begin the second half of the journey through the year 2015, we now turn to the task of identifying the tasks on our own personal do lists. After we have identified the tasks we need and want to do during the second half of 2015, we then need to classify these tasks in terms of how important they are, how likely we are to finish them, and how likely we are to continue ignoring them. For whatever value my own classification system might be in writing your own task list, here is how I rate my tasks:
Category 1: The probability that I will do these tasks in the next six months, however much they need to be done, is infinitesimal, i.e., nada:
Clean out the garage. I haven't cleaned it out for several years, why does anyone think I would actually clean it out in the next six months? Besides I might need some of this junk some day.
Destroy my hard drives and take three old computers, two scanners, and three large format extinct printers to their final resting place. I've thought about this task a lot. In fact, every time I look in my office I think "I'm going to do this some day. But why rush it?"
Start thinning down my library of books I am lovingly attached to but am unlikely to read during the remainder of my mortal existence. I already thinned my books down once and the mere thought of thinning them down again causes great pain, anxiety, internal stress, external stress, sadness, and fatigue. Why would I want to throw out the first text I used in my first class in introductory agricultural economics at Colorado A & M in 1954 just after I reached my 22nd birthday? Seriously. Some one else can do it after I go to the great economics classroom in the sky.
Sort out my five or six dozen polo shirts. Since I retired and no longer have to wear the mandatory uniform of white shirt, blue polyester pants, Hush Puppies, and power tie to dazzle my bored students about the wonders and thrills of economics, polo shirts have been my uniform of choice. My wife wants me to throw a bunch of them out. But I have a fond attachment for each and every one of them. I remember exactly when I got the grease spots on this nice purple shirt. I remember when I bought my souvenir University of Wyoming shirt twelve years ago. Why would I want to throw it out? Etc.
Donate my circular power saw to a worthy cause. My wife bought it for me as a present maybe 20 years ago or more during my brief period (a couple of weeks) when I aspired to be a home handyman. My wife has wanted me to get rid of it, but who knows what stuff I will want to saw up any day now? Besides, I have a sentimental attachment to my wife's gifts.
Category: A stronger possibility exists that I might actually do one or more of the following tasks, or at least piddle around a bit with one or more tasks and see if I can stand the thought of actually doing any of them:
Sort out the files in my office. Some of them are 100 years old or older. Some of them are permeated with bad memories such as when some members of the Wyoming legislature thought ill of me when I changed my political party registration when I was director of the Wyoming Legislative Council. Why do I want to read this stuff again? After all, I was only 26 years old, and what did I know then? About anything? Or, for that matter, what do I know now?
Throw away a bag and a box of extinct electronic wires, cords, plug ins, cables, doodads, and other paraphernalia that have remained in my museum of electronic history.
Take a careful look at the kitchen appliances I have relegated to the downstairs storeroom after each expired after a brief and often unsuccessful life on the kitchen counter. For example, the Ronco set-it-and-forget it rotisserie. It made a nice rotisserie chicken. Delicious. But it took two hours to clean the thing up. Then I quickly learned I could buy a nice fat delicious rotisserie chicken at Costco for 5 bucks. A no brainer. Off to the extinct kitchen appliance museum. Then the juicer. Worked fine with carrot and red pepper juice to cure bad pains in my elbow but then who wants to have a pile of vegetable and fruit pulp stinking up the place? I can see the juicer now, sitting in its lonely and abandoned place on the storeroom shelf. Then my brief flirtation with the pressure cooker. My wife argued successfully that a pressure cooker is unnecessary since we don't have anything else to do all day anyway so it doesn't really matter if we can cook something in 20 minutes, does it, really? Apparently it doesn't matter. Take it downstairs. I have recently added a bread machine which my wife actually likes since I can make a nice fresh tasty loaf of bread in all of about 5 minutes of hard labor and then the machine bangs and beats the heck out of the dough for four hours and presto! A loaf of beautiful bread! Slathered with honey butter! A keeper. But then I bought a panini press over my wife's strenuous objections to smoosh sandwiches together with nice little marks on them. I kind of like it but my wife hasn't caught the panini press fever yet. She would just as soon make her grilled cheese in the frying pan.
I have used up my allotment of space for today's task of classifying our tasks so we will be ready to take off like Flash Gordon in the second half of 2015 and accomplish impossible deeds and slay all the dragons that have impeded our progress to date. Check in tomorrow and we will illuminate the tasks that actually, hopefully, possibly, and probably have a fairly strong chance of being pursued successfully during the next six months. Meanwhile I suggest you go to work on your own list and that you classify your list carefully in terms of how much chance you actually think each task has of being accomplished after languishing lo these many days, months, or years. Good luck, Get Going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.