Friday, February 26, 2010


Mercifully Short
I have always liked February because it is mercifully short. January, on the other hand, is the most odious month because it seems interminably long. It seems to me that of all the seasons, Winter should have the shortest months, and Spring and Autumn should have the longest months! Actually, May and October should be the longest of all the months—about 45 days each would be just about right! Of course, the other alternative is to move to San Diego and have Perpetual May. In the event that you ever get tired of Perpetual May, you can always drive up to Big Bear.

Yelling and Screaming, Screaming and Yelling
In one of Maurice Sendak’s books [Really Rosie or The Sign on Rosie’s Door], “Yelling and screaming, screaming and yelling” recurs. (Dara can probably fill you in on the details.) A lot of “yelling and screaming, screaming and yelling” goes on these days on most game shows and at sporting events. TV studio audiences are told to do so. If they aren’t “enthusiastic” enough they are admonished during the commercial break. This mindless and nerve-wracking noise is disturbing to my soul and demeaning to those who do it. To me, “yelling and screaming, screaming and yelling” is something that is appropriate only when the house is on fire (or some other life-or-death event is occurring). Otherwise, it is a sound suitable mainly to the asylum or to nightmares.

Time Management
I have been a student of Time Management techniques since the early 1980s. Thirty years have passed, and I am still struggling (and failing) to organize my time so as to get more done. (Read that as “get EVERYTHING done”!) I am a master at producing forms of all kinds—To Do Lists, Check Lists, etc.—in dozens of formats. And without my lists, I get “lost” in the resulting chaos. To make bad matters worse, I have less energy now, and time is “speeding up.” (Signs of old age.) But, I can’t NOT keep trying to master Time Management.



... just a few thoughts at the end of February, 2010.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Critical Mess ... er ... Mass

This is a picture of Al Gore in his home office. (WHOA! WHAT A MESS!)

And, YES: My “office” is in a similar condition. I make stacks of stuff I am currently working on. Or that I intend to work on but not today. I am able to make stacks 100 times faster than I can eliminate stacks. With so many stacks, I periodically have to go through the stacks to remind myself what’s in them. Nothing much happens with a stack or the number of stacks until one or the other reaches “critical mass.”

At “critical mass,” I explode.

WARNING! WARNING! “Critical mass” is imminent! 
("critical mass" definition: 1. the minimum amount of fissile material that can sustain a nuclear chain reaction under a given set of conditions 2. the minimum amount or number required for something to happen, begin, etc.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Uncommon Man

It’s been five years ago this month that Hugh Nibley died at age 94.

“Who is he?” you say. “And why should I care?”

I am sad if you really said that.

Hugh Nibley was *only* an intellectual genius!!

One afternoon back in 1967, I was on BYU campus with The Knight. He took me upstairs in the Joseph Smith Memorial building to look at the office door that had the name of Hugh Nibley on it. We gazed at the name and the door with tremendous awe. (In today’s vernacular: WHOA!!!!!) Even back then, Hugh Nibley was practically a household word among Latter-day Saints because of his scholarly articles published in Church Magazines.

And then, as we stood there regarding the door with awe-struck reverence, suddenly an elf-like man with a twinkle in his eyes and a knowing smile on his face emerged. He greeted us in a friendly fashion and went on his way. (WHOA!!!!!!! AGAIN.) I think we were still breathless for a full five minutes after he vanished. There was no pretension whatsoever in the man.

Hugh Nibley was also a man of faith and uncommon obedience.

Don Norton (who taught one of the seminars I took while I was doing Degrees by Independent Studies) talked in class about his friend Hugh Nibley. Don wrote the Foreword to Nibley’s Approaching Zion (Volume 9 of the Collected Works). If I recall correctly, it was Don Norton who told us that Hugh Nibley refused to accept any money from the sale of his books and instead gave the money away (to charitable causes). Nibley chose to live the law of consecration in his life.

And for that, Hugh Nibley is my hero.

If anything, I stand more in awe of him today than I did in 1967.

Which of his books have you read?

I plan on reading Eloquent Witness (vol. 17) soon.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cat Makes Monkey Of Mom

Yesterday afternoon at 3 p.m. when the front door was open long enough for Miss Kitty to make her escape, I was not overly concerned. I knew she'd not like it out there in the cold for very long. So, an hour later, when I looked out the front door and then the back door and called to her and jingled her ball, and she didn't come, I was just a little surprised. I repeated my invitation for her to come back in several times. No response. Finally, just before 6 p.m., I decided to see if she had somehow gotten over the 7-foot-tall back wall into the escape-proof backyard of our neighbor.

She had done that before. In the summer of 2008. That time, it had been a Sunday morning and I had had to drive around to that neighbor's front door, ring the doorbell, and ask a surprised older woman in hair curlers permission to fetch my cat from her backyard.

This time, no one was home and the gate was locked. As I tromped across the snow to the gate and back, I thought about the foot prints I was leaving in the snow: The "evidence" of a potential intruder!!

And I wondered what the people in the neighboring houses thought I might be doing. And if they might phone the police about my suspicious behavior.

Back at home, I enlisted the aid of The Knight to fetch some ladders so that I could climb over the wall and rescue Miss Kitty. The Knight was grumpy about it as he shook the leaves off the ladders lying against the house, and propped one ladder against the fence and tipped the other one over the top of the wall into the neighbor's yard.

Now, I am sure you are wondering why The Knight didn't do the chivalrous thing and climb over the fence himself instead of letting me do it. I did momentarily think about asking him to do it. But I rejected the idea immediately. Miss Kitty might run away from him. She might even run away from me. But, I knew I had a better chance of getting her than he did. So up the ladder I went to the top of the wall.

Did I mention that I am afraid of heights?
Did I mention that my right ankle has a severe case of painful tendonitis?

I got onto the top of the wall itself, then shakily maneuvered over to the other ladder and climbed down, trespassing into the yard. Miss Kitty was sitting daintily in a snowless spot next to the house. She waited patiently as I crunched across the snow and picked her up. (*I knew you'd come!* she said.) She meekly allowed me to tote her back to the wall and hand her up to The Knight who was on the ladder on the other side. She did not struggle at all.

Cat rescue complete!!
Nevertheless, I still had to climb up the ladder, mount the top of the wall again, transfer to the other ladder and climb back down. During all this, I was wondering how many neighbors were observing my acrobatics show. It had to have looked pretty funny: a chubby old grandma climbing over a wall....

Fortunately no one phoned the police.

At Church an hour later, another neighbor whose yard borders ours seemed to look at me with immense pity and with a rather smirky smile. She probably took a video of the whole thing and put it on You Tube.

The escape artist:

Miss Kitty.