• Last modified 1013 days ago (Sept. 8, 2021)


Another Day in the Country

Make another list

© Another Day in the Country

In the olden days, I used to make “to-do” lists — things I wanted to accomplish in a day, or a week. Maybe some of them even stretched to a month or a year. On rare occasions, they may have included a five-year list. Those were extremely popular somewhere in the ’90s. It was as if you were lazy, unorganized, slackening in your life’s goals if you didn’t have a list.

I’ve been known to make daily lists, even with some things already accomplished, just so I could check them off or cross them out.

Crossing things off the list always felt so empowering.

“Slash — that’s done!” A triumphant squaring of the shoulders, and on to the next task.

Slashing was much better, more satisfying, than just making a neat little check mark after the task.

Through the years, I must confess, for me, lists have faded from popularity — especially the last couple of years — since COVID, since the pandemic, since quarantining became the only solution to stopping the spread of sickness.

The lists we made during COVID, at least at the beginning, were things that we thought we might need: Toilet paper, spaghetti, dry cereal — preferably with sugar added.

My lists, although mostly mental, became lists of what to bring along if I stepped out the door: mask, sanitizer, water, cell phone, billfold.

“Did you forget the list of groceries?” my sister would ask.

She meant the paper kind, the kind you can check off, draw a line through, when that’s done.

Too often, I left it on the counter.

My daughter called yesterday. She probably checked it off of her “to-do” list: “Call Mom.”

She had a list of questions to ask me about plants. She’s had “redo the yard” on her list. She is making it more drought-friendly, which is a nice way of saying that lawns are a thing of the past.

She’s keeping one 4-by-10-foot patch in the middle of a flower patch. Ivy used to be a solution around the deck, but it is no longer happy since we trimmed back the trees to give more sunlight to the solar panels. 

“What kinds of plants will do best with very little water?” she wanted to know. “We’re putting down rock where the lawn used to be. How big of rock do you think? Can you ask your friend Jim where best to get it?”

The questions just kept coming. Some I knew the answer for; some I could research for her. Let me put that on my list.

I used to make lists at New Years. They weren’t so much “to-do” lists as wish lists.

The lists would usually get lost in a month’s worth of paperwork, but eventually I’d find them. It was interesting to see how some of those things I wished for at the beginning of the year actually happened in the natural flow of life.

We did eventually get a sidewalk put all around the house; we had to budget for it. We planted eight hydrangea bushes on the north side of the house; we saved money for that expenditure, too. Only two of those bushes now remain.

“Dagfinnr and I talked about taking out those hydrangea bushes,” Jana said on her phone call. “They are such water hogs! But we got sentimental. They’ve been here such a long time. I just trimmed them back.”

Needless to say, if you have a prayer list, “rain for California” should be on it. Also, “strength for the firefighters.” The West Coast is suffering from drought, fires, Kansas temperatures, and smoke inhalation. Ramona looks pretty tranquil by comparison.

I’ve been semi-retired ever since we came back to Kansas, but I’m still adjusting. Being retired with lots of energy, like when you are younger, is one thing, but being retired with less energy or less money, is another issue to be solved. 

“You should be accomplishing more in a day,” I hear this little voice in my head.

And I must admit that accomplishing things, lots of things, always has been something I enjoy — immensely.

However, when one is closed up in a house because of quarantine or health issues or even the weather, what does one do to feel productive, alive, accomplishing vital things? You make a list!

Today, I finally resorted to making a list headed, “What did I do today?”

  1. Got dressed.
  2. Watered the flowers.
  3. Fed the chickens.
  4. Did the laundry.
  5. Trimmed the hollyhocks and planted their seed everywhere.
  6. Mowed. (I love mowing.)
  7. Tried making Bierock.
  8. Cleaned up kitchen mess.
  9. Folded laundry.
  10. Paid bills.
  11. Gave thanks that my leg is healing.
  12. Made majedra (a lentils- and-rice dish) for supper.
  13. Wrote my column for this week.

There’s more. It ended up being a pretty long list, actually, and I was surprised that I’d gotten so much done, on just another day in the country.

and clarifications

Wrong caption

A caption for a different photo was used with an article about Hillsboro Industries in last week’s paper. Pictured was welder Russ Cain. The Record apologizes for the error.

Last modified Sept. 8, 2021