Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Editing the World

What are we saying? With the accelerated pace and endless flow of communication, we're bound to make lots of spelling and grammar errors. (You may find some right here!) But, based on much of what I'm reading, I'm afraid we're just getting too lazy to use our language correctly. After all, it has never been easier to access dictionaries and style manuals. So...when in doubt, look it up!

Here are just a few of the strange and interesting things I have read lately:

"...a little bit taken back." Well, no. The phrase is "taken aback."

"...as best as I can." (This was used twice in the same paragraph.) Sorry, the correct phrase is "as best I can."

"I ultimately realized that I had to being to live to have such a family." Huh? Did you mean, "begin to live"? Okay, this was clearly a typo, and since "being" is in fact a word, spell-checker wouldn't catch it. (Actually, spell-checker didn't like "wouldn't" so much...or "didn't" either!)

"Now, imagine this problem exasperated by greater lengths of time and larger amounts of capital added to the equation." I think he meant "exacerbated," and I'm not sure I should trust his investment advice.

"Thanks for the clear and aerodide view of so many vital and manual jobs." Let's see...aerodide? The prefix "aero" means "air." So far, so good. Now for the "dide" part. Well, the Urban Dictionary gives one definition as, "When you are dyslexic and cannot type the word Died correctly." So, does "aerodide" mean "dead air"? Oh, wait. Did you mean "erudite"?

I'm beginning to think everyone has read Anguish Languish...and thinks it's a thesaurus! "Yore tucking lichen end-bustle!"

Friday, May 2, 2008

Miracles of the Move

  1. That we were able to make all the pieces fit on the "map."
  2. That the boxes that we had fit perfectly into the bookcases and armoir.... That we had boxes.
  3. That the wardrobe fit into the container. (Thank you, Micah and John.)
  4. That we were able to slide the mattress into the tightest space ever without it bunching up or dragging on the plywood floor.
  5. That everything actually fit in - even the things that weren't accounted for on the map.
  6. That the truck didn't come to get the container until the end of the designated pick-up time window.
  7. That the forklift didn't tip over. ("Did you know that there was a weight limit on these containers?" "Yes, but we didn't know how to gauge how much weight we were loading in it." "Well, the weight limit is 2,000 lbs. This container weighs 2,800 lbs." "Oh, no - what should we do?" "Well, since the bottom didn't blow out when I picked it up, it will probably be okay....")
  8. That, when we were without any place to go with the boxes of stuff Chelsea needed access to while she was homeless, the phone number for Public Storage was on the side of one of those boxes.
  9. That the girl from Public Storage called and told us we could come right then to do the paperwork if we wanted to. It was the end of her workday, and we had been told by the call-center girl that the office was already closed (a little time zone mix-up) -- so we felt that they really went the extra mile for us.
  10. That a storage unit the size we needed was available not ten steps from the elevator door. That the girl at Public Storage took enough interest to show that one to us when the call-center girl had already booked us into another unit and we would never have known the difference. (And if 10 aren't enough to convince you, they continued two months later...)
  11. That we were able, in one day, to 1) find, purchase, and have delivered and installed a like-new refrigerator, 2) get the cable/internet installed (on the third modem try, but still - success). (btw - you HAVE TO return that modem!), 3) report a clogged drain - and have a plumber come to unclog it.
  12. That the guy who came to pick up the container and was skillful and nice enough to safely lift and place on a flat-bed truck without mishap an extremely overweight plywood box full to the max was the same guy who delivered it to Chelsea's new address. What are the chances?
  13. That only two things fell out when we opened the door: 1) a small box containing a metal bookend, a funny tall skinny metal chair (IKEA), a baseball (?), and a heavy glass vase (unbroken in the fall - should this be listed as a seperate miracle?); and 2) a pillow sham...?!
  14. That - other than those two things - nothing had moved. At all. (Chelsea says that this is not a miracle - things were packed so tight that nothing could have moved.)
  15. That we were able to get the boxes out of the bookcases and armoir. (They fit in so perfectly that they didn't want to come out again. I'm sure we had unseen help from the back side pushing them out, just as we had help from the back side pulling the mattress in.)
  16. That the wardrobe came out of the container. (Thank you, Micah and Brian). That Micah came to move the wardrobe again.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Beautiful America

We sang "America the Beautiful" for the music period in Relief Society on Sunday. That seemed a bit unusual, because the lesson was on Elder Oaks' "Good, Better, Best" talk, and at first blush it doesn't seem like that hymn matches the subject all that well. The music director indicated that she had chosen it because Elder Oaks referred to it in his talk: "We should, as we sing in a great hymn, 'crown [our] good with brotherhood,' showing love and concern for all whom our lives affect."

I'm not sure if it was because of the atypical use of the hymn, or because I had been so touched by the closing hymn in Sacrament Meeting that I was particularly attentive to the words. And for the past few days several of the phrases have continued to play in my mind:

America! America! God mend thine ev'ry flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control, Thy liberty in law.

May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, And ev'ry gain divine.

America! God shed his grace on thee...

The words of another of my favorites come to mind:

I love my land, America, with blue skies big and wide;
I love my land, America, with seas on either side.
The prairie corn grows tall and green, the wheat is amber gold;
The rivers run from mountain peaks
where the "Stars and Stripes" unfold.
I love my land, America, and as long as we are good,
The Lord will bless America in love and brotherhood.

So, how is America doing? Is the soul of our nation being confirmed in self-control? Is our liberty being confirmed in law? Have we ceased to be good? (Remember the wonderful quote that everybody and his brother have attributed to Tocqueville that apparently wasn't written by him: "If America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.")

And how am I doing? Am I being good? Or better? Or better yet, am I weeding out "excessive and ineffective busyness" and asking myself, what is the best use of my time right now? How can I best show love and concern for all whom my life affects?

I'm pledging my allegiance: On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God, and beautiful America.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Playing Possum

The banging and crashing coming from the garage last night sounded unusual for Ag. Howling is typically her noise of choice. So I called to Don to see if he was out there. When he responded from his office, I decided I'd better check it out. At first all seemed fine and Ag came nonchalantly strolling in from the patio. But a little shuffle and a naked tail poking out from under the tool box revealed the culprit. Now...to get it out...?

By now, Don had come to help. Hmmm. Something long and skinny to push it out with? A broom handle - great idea. Have you ever tried to push a possum-playing-possum with a broom handle? It's not exactly like swishing a tennis ball out from under something (which is, I think, the last thing I can remember using a broom handle for). This was not a small fellow, and he did not particularly like being swished. And moving toward the laughing "attackers" apparently didn't suit him either. He decided to try going up the wall behind the tool box. Lots of frantic scratching and thumping...too slippery and narrow. We repositioned ourselves and had another try with the broom handle, and out he came, heading for (or rather, being herded to - mmm, can you herd one animal?) the patio door.

Unfortunately, Ag was still standing there watching the show. When Mr. Possum came face-to-face with her, she started hissing (now she decides to defend her territory!), and he took a quick detour behind the door. After a little more re-positioning, blocking other exit routes, and broom swishing - not to mention kindly suggesting that he ought to leave - we had him headed off into the night, with Ag arrogantly hissing at his back (take that!).

Hindsight suggests that I might have used more caution. With the door wide open to the world, anything - or anyone - could have come in. But, silly me, I thought we had a watch-cat on duty. I'm reminded of one of my favorite parables, which has nothing to do with possums, but something to do with unguarded doors:

"Once there was an army. It was strong, handsome, and fairly well trained. The soldiers knew their duty. They were assigned to be watchmen on the towers. They were to sound the alarm to warn the people when the enemy approached. In times of relative peace, however, it isn't always easy to remain alert in such an assignment. To help spend the time, the soldiers often invented games to amuse themselves; some of these games required great skill. One game was particularly engrossing, and many soldiers became quite proficient at it. Someone suggested that they start a tournament to determine who in all of the army was the best player. The tournament became the talk of the whole village and even beyond. In fact, game players from all over the land actually began to join the army simply so they could compete in the tournament. Each year great honors were given to the champions, parades were held in tribute to their achievements, and children dreamed of the day when they, too, could join the army to participate in the tournament. Of course the enemy was not disappointed by the tournament's acquired popularity; it was one of the enemy, in fact, who proposed the competition in the first place" (A. LeGrand Richards, BYU devotional address, 14 January 1997