Tuesday, May 27, 2008

We love our Complexity!

I've been a little bit obsessed (mentally at least) with fighting complexity lately. I just look around everywhere I go - home, church, work . . . etc. - and I see things that people have done, however well-meaning, that have created huge complexity. Seems we're all kinda slaves to the complexities we've added to our lives. Again, it's not that we have some sort of sinister motives, we usually are just trying to do more good things: more meetings about helping people, more programs we can implement that'll be even bigger & better than the last ones, more projects that'll improve our homes, more activities for the kids, more products and services to sell, more visits to people, more trips, more complicated investments, more messages (e-mails, texts, IMs, calls) to friends, more great TV shows, more news to pay attention to, more hours worked so we can get more money . . . etc. You get my point.

Everything I mentioned there is a wonderful thing, usually, but I'm more and more convinced that many of us are becoming so successful at complicating our lives that we'll never do anything well and we become like the Thoreau quote - "living lives of quiet desperation." I'm as guilty as everyone else in this area. And I guess "guilty" is part of the thing here. When were don't do something that seems (in isolation) like a good thing to do, we end up with that happy guilt feeling. I'm reminded of the talk in the Fall '07 General Conference by Elder Oaks. We need to somehow prioritize and DESELECT. That guilt thing keeps us from feeling right about doing that. And it's too bad. In the end we are successfully scatterbrained doing a lot of great things not very well.
We'll never get to it all . . . never. I remember folks I met in Venezuela that lived in little huts with dirt floors and where 7 people slept, ate, and did everything else in one little, stuffy, room. Some of these folks were significantly happier than many people I know. So how is that possible?! I think simplicity had something to do with that. They had the people in their lives and not a lot else. I'm certainly not advocating austerity or anything, not at all. Still I think there's something to be learned there. So - for those of you still reading along, let me ask you - does any of this make any sense, sound familiar, sound crazy? What suggestions do you have? Leave a comment.
As for me, I'll try hard to keep things just a little more simple - wish me luck!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Proverbial Wisdom . . . sorta

I saw this on The Amish Robot and I know that that my kiddos are usually good for a few funny quotes. These are proverbs that I had Ethan and Braeden finish by saying the first thing that came to their minds after I game them the first half of each phrase:

Better to be safe than . . . watching TV
Strike while the . . . others play
It's always darkest before . . . night
Never underestimate the power of . . . God or The Force
You can lead a horse to water but . . . you can't lead a horse to Canada
Don't bite the hand that . . . belongs to a lion
No news is . . . pretty boring
A miss is as good as a . . . strike
You can't teach an old dog new . . . tricks
If you lie down with dogs you'll . . . get fleas
Love all, trust . . . your parents
The pen is mightier than the . . . pencil
An idle mind is . . . sleeping
Where there's smoke there's . . . a car
Happy is the bride who . . . is married
A penny saved is . . . one cent
Two's company, three's . . . a family
Don't put off 'til tomorrow what . . . is special
Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and . . . scream
None are so blind as . . . mice
Children should be seen and not . . . punished
If at first you don't succeed . . . go plant a seed
You get out of something what you . . . like
When the blind leadeth the blind . . . they won't know where they're going
Better late than . . . dying

So if you ever can't remember how the proverb goes, just give us a call and you'll get some fine elementary school wisdom!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Reptile that Almost Ate Me

So on Tuesday I flew down on the big D. I knew I was in Texas when the first thing I saw getting off the plane was a guy getting his cowboy boots professionally polished. I'm not dissin' the guy, it just looked funny. (you can tell what a cowboy I am) Our Sales Communication team was having a multi-day meeting at a ranch that was like an hour and half outside the city. Texas is different than other places. I'm not going to make any jokes about it, because I'm told everyone there has guns or at least their mothers do. The time at the ranch was great and we had fun. I left just after lunch on Wednesday and saw this in the middle of the gravel road just outside the parking lot:

For those of you who aren't zoologists, that is a 30-foot long, man and/or woman-eating, fangorious (a word I just made up), hyper-venomous, viper-snake, native to Indonesia, Madagascar, and apparently a corporate retreat in Texas. (Actually it's probably a 4-foot bull snake that's about as dangerous as a gummy worm.) But something you should know about me, and I mean this in all seriousness - I would rather be locked in a room with an ax-murderer who hated bald guys than I would be within a hundred feet of a live snake of any kind. My phobia is as extreme as you can imagine. My hand was actually shaking as I took this photo - FROM INSIDE MY CAR! Make your little jokes, I know it's totally unreasonable. But Indiana Jones has done ok for himself in spite of his snake issues.
As I inched the car closer to get a better shot (and to crank up my own anxiety level) my new fork-tounged friend slithered off the road. Here is my photo of him off in the grass (sorry about the resolution):So our family is supposed to do a camping vacation by a lake in northern Texas in a couple weeks. You can guess how my snake run-in has me feeling about that. If Traci falls asleep while I'm driving, we may accidentally end up in Minnesota.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My 3-Week Vacation

Well my little blog hiatus is coming up on 3 weeks in a couple days. No real reason for the absence, just found other things to do. And for the first time in a really long time I'm sitting here with no idea at all about what to blog about. So here are just a few quick hits from stuff that's happened since I last blogged:

- We had our 10th Wedding Anniversary - This is an impressive feat of endurance on Traci's part. I'm awfully glad she's hung in there. I'm like her eternal service project. Someday she'll get me just the way she wants. This event also helped make it clear to me that I'm getting older way faster than I'd like. 10 years ago doesn't even seem like that long ago. But it was pre-kids, so that makes it feel like it was in the 1800s.
- As a way to celebrate the aforementioned anniversary we seriously splurged and bought 6th row tickets to Wicked on eBay. It was better than I'd even imagined. Go see it if you haven't already, and invite me to go with you. I promise not to sing along too much.
- Braeden has started baseball games. This provides hours of non-baseball-related entertainment as we watch little boys pretend they know what they're doing, or even care that much. They're far more interested in doing creative things with, well, dirt. More to come on this topic . . .
- I'm playing the piano in primary. Need I really say more. (snicker, snicker)
- Work is really busy. With the recent layoffs my job effectively doubled in scope a few weeks ago. Ah, the joys of working at a struggling company. For now I'm calling it an opportunity.
- Lost (the TV show) just had the first hour of its 3 hour season finale. I LOVE the show, so don't get me wrong. But do we really need a 3 hour finale spread out over 3 weeks?! Why don't we call it a 16-hour finale and have it start in January and wrap up in May?! Sheesh.

I could go on, but if I do it might be 3 more weeks until I blog. To the few of you who have urged me on to get writing again, thanks, . . . I think. Traci just kinda ridiculed me into it. (she does that to get me to do other things too).

Life is grand.
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