I’m glad 2011 is gone. The last month was a bitch. I thought it would never end. I felt stifled. I started things and couldn’t finish them. Although, that’s not so unusual for me. It’s one of my distasteful traits and fills me with guilt.

Anyway, it’s a new year, time to throw away last year’s list and make a new one. We try not to notice of the things we promised to accomplish last year; it’s too painful. Besides, we need things for the new list. More things we swear we will do this year knowing we will let them drag by month after month until it’s time to make yet another new list. Last year’s diet didn’t work, but this new one will take off that 10 pounds faster. Didn’t get the photo album finished, but these new pictures will make it a better one. Didn’t get to visit grandma last year, but we’ll spend a few extra days with her this year. Sound familiar?

Making a to-do-list is a good thing if we keep it “before our face” as my wife puts it. We make New Year Resolution Lists with good intentions, and then forget them until another New Year pops up. Few take this yearly tradition seriously. However, I hate making promises and not following through especially when it’s a promise I made to myself.

This year, instead of doing the list thing, I know will fill me with trepidation and I end up disenchanted, and feeling like a looser, I decided to make a list of everything I had accomplished in the past year whether or not I planned or promised them.

Here is my list of accomplishments for 2011 taken from a decade of promises.

1. Cleaning the garage, something I had been promising my wife I was going to do for the past five years. I got it done. It took me a month and a half, but it is all clean and orderly now. Weary and somewhat prideful, I reported to my wife that I had finished the long overdue chore. A smile lit up her face and she gave me a big hug. She danced out to inspect my work and returned 15 seconds later with a long face and tears trickling down her cheeks. I thought she was too overjoyed.

“I still cannot park my car in it,” she sobbed.

“No, you’re mistaken, Sweetie, garages aren’t for cars. They’re for storage and workshops.” I pointed out. Can you believe, she wanted me to get rid of my woodworking equipment that took me a lifetime collecting. So what if I hadn’t used it for a few years (ten to be exact). Maybe I will later. For 15 seconds I felt good about myself, I guess that’s better than nothing.

2. Bush trimming, another dreaded job that went undone for years. It took me two days, and three near heart attacks, but I got it done.

3. I also raked up 142 wheelbarrow loads of leaves and acorns.

4. I cut the grass 37 times.

5. I planted ten fruit trees I am doubtful will bear fruit before I take the eternal dirt map.

6. Exercising: last year I managed to walk, skip and jog over 936 miles, I spent seventy some hours doing yoga stretching. I spent unknown hours meditating, falling asleep and waking up wondering where I was.

7. I spent over 2,880 hours on the computer, and watched TV for over 2,184 hours. I slept for 2190 hours, not counting naps. The remaining 1,435 hours I contribute to trying to remember what I went the kitchen for, so I end up eating too many snacks and watching my neighbor across the street pace up and down his driveway. The poor soul has less to do than I. When I go back to my computer, I remember why I went to the kitchen. I write it down on a post-it note and head back to the kitchen to get a glass of ice water.

8. I completed half a dozen short stories and E-mailed two of them to publishers. That was over six months ago. That’s better than getting a rejection the next day though.

9. I wrote 37 articles and posted them to my blogs and started a dozen or more I haven’t finished.

10. I visited about 3,000,000 websites researching things to write about.

11. Last year I finally built the garden arbor I had been threatening to make for the past four years. My wife attempted to discourage me from doing this task. I believe she had little faith I could do it. Well, I showed her. Now she wants two more. I may find time in the next few years. Keeping her complaining is good. Otherwise we wouldn’t have much to talk about.

So, you see, instead of wasting ten minutes at the beginning of the year making a list of things I know I will never accomplish and feeling guilty about it, I managed to waste several hours compiling a list of things I have accomplished in the past year. I feel much better now. I’m proud of my accomplishments. I think it’s an impressive list wouldn’t you agree? Never mind, don’t answer that.


The wife just about has me convinced I should get rid of my woodworking tools. Maybe I can get another year of complaining out of her before she hires someone to do it


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