Thursday, April 7, 2011

Something Else First

    I think that many of us have heard the expression, "Whatever I want to accomplish I have to do something else first".   This applies to every activity we participate in.  To go skiing I have to put on the appropriate gear,  travel a short distance and be sure I have my pass ready.   Playing tennis today required dressing for the weather and being sure we had some tennis balls.   And on it goes.
    Perhaps the reason I am so alert to the need to do something else first is the preparation I am going through to make a presentation to the Cornell Professors Emeritus on the Rau model plow collection and the evolution of the design of the plow.   April 21, 2011 I will be facing an audience of my peers.   These peers are distinguished academics so it is somewhat intimidating.    To make this presentation interesting and clear I have been learning Power Point - "a something else first".
    I have been working on the Rau model plow collection since 2009.   This historic collection was produced in Germany in the 1860's and purchased by the first president of Cornell University Andrew D. White at the behest of founder Ezra Cornell.   Thus the something else first has been cataloging and rehabilitating the collection as well as developing the documentation describing these unique plow models.   The most cogent documentation is in German.  This has driven me into struggling with refreshing my German reading skills.   Over 45 years ago I passed a German reading skills test for my Ph.D.    Since I have not practiced those skills very much in the intervening years I am really rusty.   Within a few days I expect to receive a book from Barnes and Noble that I will use to refresh my German reading ability.     Another something else first.
    I guess the message for all of us is that we always need to plan ahead for the things we want to do since we always have to do something in advance of what we want accomplish.
German Country Plow Model

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