Making a list and marking it off

To-Do Lists
Not really my to-do list.

A little gratitude goes a long way, especially when there is much for which to be grateful.

Today, I am grateful for the peace of mind that can come with a completed to-do list.

To-do lists remind me of Joe Starita during his days as city editor of the newspaper in Lincoln, Neb. As the end of every shift neared, we’d run through the list of local stories for the next day’s newspaper and mark off those that had been edited and moved to on the copy desk. Joe, who was wound a little tight, called it a peace-of-mind update.

As one of Joe’s assistants back then, if he didn’t have peace of mind, no one else felt much peace either. One of the worst work-related butt chewings I ever received came courtesy of Joe. I would have run through a wall for him.

Friday, as the end of the week neared, I felt some of Joe’s peace of mind. When the month commenced, I listed 10 projects — seven of which had to be finished in February. And I had to at least start working on the others. I won’t bore you with the details —  other than to say these were significant projects and eight of them had a pretty big monetary value for the nonprofit organization where I work.

So it was a huge relief Friday — the last work day of February — to see marks running through those seven projects on my list. In fact, it made me rethink Friday’s post here about the top five places I’ve always wanted to visit.

It was a list that didn’t express enough gratitude.

While it’s true there are many places I have never visited. It’s also true that I’ve traveled more in the past 12 months than perhaps ever before. The glass that is my life is far from half empty.

DisneyIn addition to spending the week last year that I spend every summer on RAGBRAI, I also:

  • Made a trip with my girlfriend and her children to her hometown in Illinois
  • Traveled with them to Tennessee for Janet’s grandmother’s 90th birthday.
  • Spent one pretty nice weekend in Omaha.
  • Attended the 30th reunion of the high school Class of 1984 in my hometown.
  • Made my virgin trip to Disney World.

That’s a pretty good list. And it does’t even include the trip we’re making in May to San Diego.

Life is good.


Let’s nerd out a bit to end things today.

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy.

I’ve never been a huge Star Trek fan. And Nimoy’s singing exploits were always an easy target. But as I said Friday on Facebook, at least he had the good fortune to time his death so that it didn’t compete with Thursday’s llama and the white-gold-black-blue dress memes

As a college friend, who has always been a better writer than I am, said on Facebook: “The timing was only logical.”


If you have 20 minutes this weekend, listen to this Planet Money podcast on spreadsheets. For some reason, I just found it really interesting.

After you’re done with that, maybe you’ll want to cruise on through the weekend with a little Brad Paisley and some good words by which to live.

You look around here and you see all these people

You think there lives are perfect.

Hardly …

You take it all

with a grain of salt

and realize sometimes it ain’t your fault …

When life gives you limes

You make Margaritas.

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