tbcass: I like everything about Lightroom except the cataloging feature. I like to organize my photos by year and month. The necessity of having to import photos into the catalog is a royal pain in the A!!! I don't like it and wish I could turn off the cataloging feature and use it as a plain browser/editor..
tbcass, I also use year-month folders to organize my pictures. You can do it yourself and tell Lightroom to only add them to the catalog and leave the files in their original location during import. However, I prefer to use Lightroom to do the folder organization automatically for me. Check out the "Destination" section in the import screen: specify how files are organized ("by date") and what the folder structure should look like.