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.
Imagine that, today is February 28! The Curmudgeonly Professor has successfully written tasks for the first two months of the year without giving up and quitting. Not so say that I haven't thought seriously about quitting, maybe once a day, and a couple of times during my insomniac night. My sister Ann claims that writing these daily posts is good therapy for me, and maybe she is right. I know that since I have started writing daily tasks that I have thought a lot more about things I need to do, and I have concentrated more on some of the things I have written about than I have for a long time. So maybe Ann is right, although I would never admit it to her since she tattled a lot on me to Mother when she was little and I used to tease her. I know Ann doesn't have time to read this so I am free to write whatever I want to about her and she will never know the difference. But I have to stay on her good side because she makes monthly Costco runs for me when we are in Salt Lake.
To get down to business, your task for today is Task Number 59 and Task Number 59 means that for one day, at least, do not cuss, criticize, complain, bellyache, or whine. Think you can do it? I'm not sure I can do it, so I've posted it late in the day so I can cut short the time I have to stay restrained and behave myself today. But then again, maybe I need to start over again in the morning since tomorrow is March 1 and March 1 ushers in a brand spanking new month, free of any encumbrances and blessedly containing a clean and clear slate that we can write whatever we decide we want to write on it.
I don't know much about behavioral science since I was trained as an economist, but I do know quite a bit about the reasons why I behave the way I do and I know even more about the things I do that I need to change. Presumably, at 82 years old, it's not too late to shape up and follow the first 59 tasks I have posted this year. What I have learned as I have gone through life and as I have tried to come up with a constructive task each day of this year 2015 is that the way we feel about ourselves and the way we feel about others heavily influences our willingness and motivation for making the changes that I am writing about. And if we can quit whining, bellyaching, complaining, cussing (heaven forbid!), and criticizing, we may clear the fog from our brains and feel like we are ready to tackle the world. After all, we have to decide what to do, moment by moment, no matter how we may feel about the things we are unhappy about, and the more we can shift negative influences from our minds, the happier we will be, and the more likely we will be to make the changes that lead to a better future.
So welcome to a bright and happy March 1 tomorrow. I hope you think it is worth following my task list just to see how soon I run out of ideas for things to write about or so that you can cheer for me on the day when I give up because you obviously will be sick and tired of trying to become perfect by following all of the multitude of tasks I am writing about. At least for one day, and then the next day may become easier, I will repeat: Don't complain, criticize, cuss, whine, or bellyache. If your spouse and others in your household suspect you have fallen ill, you can tell them that it is all the Curmudgeonly Professor's fault. Good luck, keep going, stop complaining. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
I can't even imagine wanting to sort 1000 pieces of a puzzle and then proceed, piece by piece, to put it together. But isn't there a life lesson learned here, also? We make changes, little by little, a small change here, another foregone habit there, and the first thing we know we have a better life and another completed jigsaw puzzle.
All of the buds on our lily plant are now in bloom and some of the petals are starting to fall. But we have enjoyed our Valentine's day lily plant while it lasted, and now we have these photos to remember it by.
This little single snapdragon blossom is all that is left of what used to be a large snapdragon "bush" of sorts, which died in the cold winter last year. So I'll nurture this little tiny one, and I hope it will grow.
The tiny daffodil shown in these photos is actually only a small fraction of the size of the flower in the picture. This little midget is the last of several midget clumps of daffodils that have bloomed faithfully every year for many years. Goes to show you that you don't have to be big and important to be worth noting and having your picture taken and sent all over the world.
This morning I began sorting the pile of newspapers, magazines, unsolved crossword puzzles, solved crossword puzzles, yellow notepad scraps, and other odds and ends that has resided on the floor between our two recliner chairs. My wife, Velna, is ordinarily patient with me when I let something go that I should have taken care of long ago. After I had cleaned up the assortment of valued relics between our chairs, my wife said, "It's amazing how much you can accomplish in a few minutes if you put your mind to it." Quote and unquote. It took me approximately 3 minutes to do something that had been nagging at me for weeks and weeks. I hated to part company with this pile of stuff since the appearance of messy piles of newspapers and magazines is somewhat of an inspiration to me.
The most typical excuse people give when you ask them why they don't do something is, you guessed it, "I just don't have time." Translated, this phrase means, I don't want to take the time, which is a substitute for saying, "I just don't want to do that. Not now, not five minutes from now, not ever, preferably." Thus, I will opt out with the weak phrase "I just don't have time."
My life is ruled by a succession of little rules and maxims. One of my little rules is the "Two Minute Rule." The Two Minute Rule says that when you are perplexed, tired, lazy, discouraged, grouchy, and when you have postponed doing some obvious little chore you should have done ages ago if you had an ounce of consideration or a somewhat moderate level of intelligence, just spend two minutes and dive into whatever your little chore is and take care of it. If you can't do it in two minutes, spend three or four minutes since, once you get started and your guilty conscience is beginning to clear like the fog lifting in a swamp, you will feel so inspired and uplifted that you will want to finish the chore just to prove that you are fully capable of doing a complex job.
Then, once you get the hang of the Two Minute Rule, you can apply it whenever the spirit moves you, like several times a day. Then, at the end of a day that you didn't have time to do anything, meaning you didn't want to take time to do anything, you can brag about your accomplishments and expect a gold star from your shocked household companions. Tomorrow, you will find it easier to say, "I can take two minutes and move that broken down piece of junk that has blocked the garage door for months to the trash. It should take me 30 seconds, flat, and then I will feel that I have accomplished something important today." You get the picture.
Task Number 58, therefore, is to see how much you can do in two minutes. Surprise yourself. Shock your spouse. Then, continue to apply the Two Minute Rule several times a day. Who knows, you may find that you actually have a half hour to do something you had made excuses for not doing for, say, six months or two years. Good luck, keep going, and watch your second hand until your Two Minutes are up. Thank you for your efforts. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
Every where you go in St. George these past few days, you see flowering trees with both pink and white blossoms. These blossoms never last very long so I must try and get as many photos of them as I can, which I do each year. If you are still cold and snowy, look forward to your own springtime.
Those familiar with LDS temples will note, if they did not already know, that the St. George LDS temple, one of the oldest ones in existence, has a weather vane at the top of its spire and not an image of the Angel Moroni.