Getting things done

Muscovite, or common mica

Muscovite, or common mica

No, I’m not talking about famous business gurus and their trademarked charts for increasing executive or corporate productivity. I’m talking about finally getting around to crossing things off the list–things you’ve always intended to do, but have never managed to make time for. I got one done recently, and here it is:

“…not as much as I am in the metamorphic or sedimentary rock categories. I mean, I can take your igneous rocks or leave ’em. I relate primarily to micas, quartz, feldspar. You can keep your pyroxenes, magnetites, and coarse-grained plutonics as far as I’m concerned….”

There! I’ve had the bit about “micas, quartz, feldspar” memorized for ages. But Judy’s talking so fast by the time she gets to magnetites that I’ve never been able to keep up. At long last, I hunted down the full quote and made it mine. If you want to hear just how fast is fast, here’s a clip, with bonus subtitles in what Google Translate assures me is Romanian.


In the age of internet searching and YouTube clips about anything you can imagine, finally tracking down the dialogue was laughably easy. Though I’ve been watching What’s Up Doc for decades, working on memorizing a bit of dialog had its challenges back in the day. Once upon a time, there weren’t even VCRs. After they lumbered onto the scene, you did your best to rewind the VHS tape just enough but not too much.* At our house, What’s Up Doc was a family movie, as in always-watched-with-the-, so there were limits. Interruptions tended to get shouted down.

Lots of smart people have put their minds to why it’s hard to get stuff done, and we’re not going to go into much of it just now. I will say that things languish on my list when there’s a mismatch between when I think about them and when I can do something about them, and there may well be a relationship between how big that disconnect is and how long they stay on the list.

If you only remember that you’re out of soap in the shower when you’re ready to lather up, wet and buck naked, you’ve got a challenge.† Once you’re toweling off, you’re probably already thinking about the next thing, and not about restocking.


About the time we open the Himnos during church on Sunday I’m reminded that each week I think it would be useful to look at the Spanish hymns ahead of time, to help Ninja be familiar with the vocabulary, and to help prepare us all for the kludgy way that the Spanish translation is squeezed or stretched to fit the melodies of the English hymns.

I actually got far enough on the project to ask the woman who leads the music for the list of hymns we’d be singing for February, which she duly sent. The image of it sits on el Guapo’s phone, but we haven’t managed to work on the hymns. And look, it’s March–we’ll need a new list.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that things on the list are a challenge to get done–that’s why they’re on the list. Stuff that is easy to do doesn’t even go on the list; it just gets done. Perhaps I need to back up to get a wider view of this problem: maybe I need to set aside some time to think more deeply about the items in this category of most intractable things.

I could put that project on my list. Oh, wait.

Here's a twist--I could fail to get things done in French.

Here’s a twist–I could fail to get things done in French.

*That is, once the VCR had been invented. The movie came out in 1972; I don’t think a VCR made it to our house much before 1980, but I could be wrong. Dad, what’s your guess?

†Also, if you’re a character in Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez, you’re going to let that lack of soap be the impetus for a marital dispute lasting many months. My advice: don’t be that character.

[images:, youtube, pixabay, momaleblog]



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